To the Editor:

It is a time-honored adage in the fire service that firefighters are resistant to two things: change and the way things are. Watching change creep into an institution is a tough pill to swallow. This holds as true for our City as it does for the fire service. The values and ideals we hold to be true are by-and-large influenced by what we know, rather than what we hope them to be.

As most have seen, however, we no longer fight fires using a bucket brigade. The fire service has embraced change to transform into a technically-proficient, data-driven, all-hazards profession. We respond to nearly every emergency imaginable within the City, by both land and sea. If you take a walk down any major street in the City, you will see food trucks and people dining on the sidewalk. Changes that were highly contested only a few years ago have helped businesses, even through a global pandemic. As firefighters, we have a unique opportunity to see growth within the City. On the whole, we’ve seen changes that are helping to grow our “City by the Sea” into a diverse, year-round destination for businesses and visitors alike.

One time-honored tradition that has not changed is the voice of the local fire union. We support candidates that reflect our values. There’s a fine line candidates walk between “rocking the boat” and being a change agent. One of those change agents is Kevin Michaud. Kevin is a public safety veteran who knows all too well the resistance to change, but knows better the positive effects that come with change. Kevin’s values of promoting year-round business growth, engaging in North End projects, and making Newport more affordable for the middle class are reflected in the hard work that public safety workers are known for. His work ethic will undoubtedly translate well into his new role as a City Councilman.

On behalf of our labor union, we encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote this year. We are proud to endorse Kevin Michaud for Newport City Council. Kevin reflects the change that we know will help our great City continue to grow and prosper.

Nicholas Parker, Vice President
Newport Firefighters Union, Local 1080