My name is Chris Semonelli and I am seeking re-election to the Middletown Town Council. I am one of the endorsed Democrats and have served two terms over the past four year, including a term as Council President. In addition to serving on the Council, I am a member of our Middletown Economic Development Advisory Committee and the Beach Committee. It is both and honor and privilege to serve the residents of the Middletown.
Over the last four years, I have worked very hard and am very proud of the accomplishments we have achieved. I believe that today Middletown is definitely better off than it was two years ago.
During my four years on the council, I have been diligent to keep our budget increases to a minimal level. No one wants an increase, though there were contracts which we needed to honor. As a member of the Council, we have made difficult budget decisions with a positive impact both in the short term and long term. We have faced very difficult budgets head-on and negotiated contracts with our police, fire and town unions which we feel are right for our dedicated town employees and residents. It was a very difficult situation, with many angry emails and phone calls from employees. In the end, I feel that we came into an agreement that was just for all parties involved. Some of the savings this Council realized were substantial and actually applied to this year’s budget, on the order of $225,000.
On a personnel level I have tried to work with my fellow Councilors treating them with respect and listening attentively to their views to better understand their positions before I made a decision. I continue to do my homework on all issues involved and visited locations and interviewed people involved with the issues before I made a decision.
I have worked very hard with a very talented group, the Newport Mentor/Co-Op Group on many issues to help our high school students. I have paid, really you have paid, as I used my Town Councilor compensation, for buses for students from our area high school for tours of the Naval War College, the Bristol boat yard and recently a career day at TF Green Airport.
I continue to work to investigate the pros and cons of regionalization of our high schools. We did have a council committee to address this issue, and I also attended monthly meetings with another committee to address this issue, with representatives from across Newport County. Unfortunately, we could not get all parties to the table though I feel we made great headway and want to continue these discussions. Should you grant me the privilege and honor of serving you for another two years, I promise to pursue the expected increased efficiencies and effectiveness that should result.
But most importantly, I will continue to strive to respect the position of Town Councilor and that of the other Councilors, working hard to make these positions something that many more people in our great town would like to seek, rather than avoid like the plague, because of a lack of civility displayed among members.
I promise I will always do what I feel is in the best interest of our 17000 citizens, stick to my principles, and not be swayed by a select special interest group. I believe my record on the Town Council continues to show this resolve and I will continue to do so moving forward,
I respectively ask for your consideration and vote on November 6th.