EDITORIAL

Making a difference on the local level

Posted

None of the state’s five general offices will be on the ballot in November, but Rhode Islanders will still have a number of important local races to watch.

In Warwick, Mayor Joseph Solomon will seek a second full term in office after succeeding Scott Avedisian in 2018. Cranston, meanwhile, appears set to play host to perhaps the two highest-profile contests in the Ocean State. The first, the race to succeed Mayor Allan Fung, seems increasingly likely to produce primary contests on both the Republican and Democratic sides. Then there is the potential face-off between House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung for the District 15 seat in the House of Representatives – one the speaker only narrowly held against Steven Frias in 2016 and 2018.

Outside those races, however, will be a number of down-ballot contests and issues of more hyper-local focus – campaigns for General Assembly, city and town council and school committee, along with ballot questions seeking bonding authority or calling for local charter changes.

We’ll be there in the months ahead, of course, to chronicle these contests and questions. Local election coverage is a vital aspect of our mandate and mission, and we are dedicated to providing voters with a full picture of the candidates and issues before they head to the polls.

We write, however, to reiterate how important it is for citizens to become involved in the local political process. That can come in many ways, from becoming a candidate for local office to writing a letter to the editor.

The deadline to file candidacy forms remains months away, and much remains fluid. But we expect that in the coming weeks, as the calendar turns to March and springtime approaches, the local political scene will begin buzzing with even more activity.

Robust civic involvement is vital to the health of our cities and towns. Too often, seats go uncontested, meetings go essentially unattended and valuable voices are left out of the process.

If you’ve thought about becoming a candidate, we encourage you to do so. If you’re looking for other ways to become involved, we encourage you to seek those avenues out.

We know how many factors and responsibilities compete for people’s time and attention these days. But with much at stake – and with the ability of dedicated people to make a real difference – we hope that participation on the local level becomes a leading storyline in the months to come.

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