Q&A: How will your mayoral options extinguish Johnston’s burning questions?

Six questions for three candidates


The race to become Johnston’s next mayor is nearly over.

Three candidates for the office will be on town ballots: Joseph M. Polisena Jr., a Democrat, will face Independent candidates Karen E. Cappelli Chadwick and Brenda Lynn Leone.

The Johnston Sun Rise reached out to the three candidates vying for your vote. We presented six burning questions, each tailored to tackle topics of concern specific to the town.

All three candidates responded to the questionnaire. They were also given an opportunity to re-introduce themselves to voters.

Polisena, Town Council Vice President and son of current Mayor Joseph M. Polisena, an attorney, has vacated his town council seat to run for mayor. His father is leaving office after 16 years and four terms of office. Mayor Polisena implemented mayoral term limits in town, and now he’ll leave office after reaching the term cap.

Polisena Jr. worked in Gov. Dan McKee’s office, but says he left to focus on his run for mayor and his private law practice. He announced his candidacy in early May.

“When it seems like everyone else is focused on the latest headline that has no impact on you, your family, or your finances, I want you all to know that I’ll remain focused on issues like how you can keep more of your hard earned money, how to improve your quality of life, and how to make sure your hard work and success is rewarded, not penalized,” Polisena told the crowd gathered at his candidacy announcement event. “And that’s what this campaign comes down to. Staying focused on the fundamentals: stable taxes through economic development; continued investment in public education; supporting our police and fire for strong public safety; and high quality public works services of trash pickup, snow plowing and road repairs.”

Chadwick, a former business owner, local musician and political newcomer, entered the race, launching her “first foray into public office.”

“Johnston has seen extraordinary changes in the course of my lifetime and I believe there is significant opportunity in front of us to help shape the future of the town,” Chadwick wrote. “I have many ideas and look forward to sharing them with you during the course of my campaign, but at the core this campaign is a call for transparency. Public service is an honor and a privilege. I believe the residents are the backbone and foundation of this community. I want to hear your concerns, questions and comments. What is your vision for the town? How do we find a common ground where residential areas remain residential while businesses can grow and prosper? How do we make our shared goals a reality?”

Leone unsuccessfully ran for office against current Mayor Polisena in a previous election. The local real estate broker is hoping to give voters an option free of political party affiliation.

“I am a lifelong resident of the town of Johnston and I want to be your next Mayor,” Leone said. “I have been a small business owner and a Real Estate Broker for over 30 years and i have always been active in town politics and a concerned taxpayer. The Johnston that I remember when growing up was one where town government and elected officials went out of their way to help its citizens. If elected i will bring us back to those days. My office will be accessible to all citizens. Town employees will treat all who visit us with the utmost respect. I will surround myself with the best and most qualified people and they will work for you, the taxpayer. My promise to you is that I will work every day to make the town of Johnston a better place to live and raise a family.”

We reached out to all of Johnston’s candidates, for town and state office, about two weeks ago.

“For years the Johnston Sun Rise has sought to provide voters information on the candidates, where they stand on issues and what they aim to accomplish if elected,” we wrote to the candidates. “Traditionally, this information has been presented in a pre-election issue the Thursday before the Tuesday election.”

This year, however, we did what we could to accelerate publication.

“With as much of 30 percent of those casting ballots voting early two years ago, we are looking to give local candidates an equal opportunity to present their platforms earlier,” we told candidates.

In past editions, we published candidate profiles submitted by residents running in both state and local races. Now it’s time to hear where they stand on the town’s most important issues.

The deadline for submissions was Friday, October 21. Many local candidates took us up on the offer to share their perspectives. Some didn’t.

The Rhode Island General Election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Click on the candidates name below for the answers to the Johnston Sun Rise candidate questionairres.

Karen E. Cappelli Chadwick

Brenda Lynn Leone

Joseph M. Polisena Jr.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here