I am posting this letter in the hopes that you will read it in its entirety before casting your vote for City Council Ward 3. I have spent many years being an advocate for those of us who live in this ward. I have had a long connection to Newport. I have always had family here. As a child, my parents brought me here to spend time with my grandfather and my aunt and cousins. “Papou” owned and operated the Star Lunch on Broadway. My father was pastor of St. Spyridon’s Church after his first retirement until his death in 2003. As an adult, as soon as I was able, I bought my first home in Newport. In 1995 when I retired from teaching, I was able to move here full time and that year won a seat on the City Council.
Why did I run for public office? I ran and have continued to run because I believe that if we want to live in a community, our desire is to live in a good place where our quality of life brings us enjoyment. My grandfather taught me that when we die, all we leave is our name. I have strived to be the best that I can be. My father taught me that if we commit to something, we stay with it. I decided to stay with it---and truly have taken the words “public servant” to mean just that ----serve the public, serve my constituents. I have fought to preserve the Newport that we love.
So, how have I, Kate Leonard, followed through on serving the public? First and foremost, I decided that I should be available to those who call me---and I have done so 24/7, answering phone calls, texts, and emails. I decided that bringing people together really is what makes a community work. To that effort, I have reached out to my constituents to make Newport a better place to live.
It has worked well for achieving many goals. I personally worked to raise funds to restore the Gazebo and to create the Harborwalk at King Park for public access. I worked with the Prince Foundation that donated the funds to buy and protect the open land on Spouting Rock Drive from more development. I worked with the Aquidneck Land Trust to preserve our parks and open spaces and with the City Council so that the parks would be protected permanently.
And what other goals do I hope to continue working on and achieve because I love this city?
1. ALLEVIATE TRAFFIC: I encouraged the Foundation for Newport to create the plan to alleviate traffic. This plan, the only one ever endorsed by the city, would have created a trolley system to make our lives better. Tourist vehicles would not be inundating our neighborhoods. Many fought this plan and it was never implemented. Now, we have re-opened the plan and this Council is working with you citizens on traffic management that is SO greatly needed.
2. IMPROVE EDUCATION: I spent 12 years volunteering at RHS to fund and create the Horticulture Mentoring Program with my best friend Dodo Hamilton to help students learn while getting paid all Summer. For 25 years, as a former teacher and department head in CT schools, I have reached out over and over to demonstrate that education and vocational skills are key to a student’s success in life. Newport needs to improve its educational infrastructure working cooperatively with other towns or building a new RHS and, Pell School should be expanded.
3. CONTINUE TO PROTECT NEIGHBORHOODS TO MAKE NEWPORT A MORE LIVABLE COMMUNITY: I sponsored the Deputy Zoning Officer Program to deal with party houses, noise and nuisance.Enforcement should be continued. Should problems arise in your neighborhood I will always be available to help.
4 CONTINUE NETWORKING WITH FOUNDATIONS AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO OBTAIN FUNDING FOR PROJECTS THAT SAVE THE TAXPAYERS MONEY: Newport has received $Millions in grants to improve parks, recreation, repair sea walls, provide more money for our schools, improve our water and sewer infrastructure. I have been an important part of that to save taxpayers money, while improving our quality of life.
5. PROTECTING THE CHARACTER OF NEIGHBORHOODS: I voted for the moratorium to more carefully evaluate the out of scale development that was proposed for the old Jai Lai land. Although we need more jobs and housing for our residents, we must not lessen our quality of life in pursuit of these goals.
6. PROTECT OUR BUSINESSES AND JOBS: During this Covid Pandemic I have worked to support businesses. I sponsored a resolution to get RI to help businesses with SBA loans to survive and get insurers to cover policies that had coverage for loss of use. I personally buy local, live local, work local and feel it is my obligation to contribute to where I live.
My track record speaks for itself. You know my history. Since first elected to the city council in 1995, I have always worked hard for the third ward and all the people of Newport. I work with my constituents and, with their input, we achieve our common vision and goals together.
I ask you to continue working with me and I ask for your vote as the third ward representative on the Newport City Council on November 3rd, election day.
KEEPS TAXES AFFORDABLE
Working for Newport Families
Votes consistently to protect the wallets of Newport residents and businesses/fights to keep property taxes reasonable
Always questions expenditures in City Budget
Advocates to keep Newport families here by working to keep Newport affordable
Constantly assessing Fiscal Impact and balance for accountability and job productivity in city departments
Voted for RI penny-per-pound money to protect Newport watershed
Lobbied and voted to create the Deputy Zoning Officer Program to promote peace, control party houses and control over-crowding and AIRBNB violations
Worked with Mrs. Dorrance Hamilton to conserve the land at old Edgehill site on Harrison Avenue resulting in the creation of SVF Foundation that has since received several national awards for historic preservation and provides jobs for local residents
Works with neighbors’ concerns to protect R-10 residential areas from guest houses
Volunteer Organizer,Fundraiser,Mentor for 12 years as Rogers High School Horticulture Summer Mentoring Program that gave students summer jobs
Go to Alliance for Livable Newport for response on bond issue
Advocated for Pell Expansion
Advocates for more vocational/mentoring programs
Sponsored resolution to request meetings with Middletown and
Portsmouth School Committees
Concluded that Bond for a new HS building may not be affordable taxpayers and that island cooperation offers more opportunities for students to learn and secure their futures
KEEPS BALANCE BETWEEN NEIGHBORHOODS AND BUSINESSES
Advocated for “green space” and land conservation: worked with prior Council and Aquidneck Land Trust to protect City parks from future development, worked with Prince Foundation to purchase development rights of Spouting Rock land and to provide open space around Almy Pond
Concerned about the impact of pollution on our environment by investigating pollution at King Park Beach (CSO problems, install sewer line for King Park toilets that were emptying into the harbor)
Lobbied with Friends of the Waterfront for years to protect public access—designated rights of way to the water in Newport
Sponsored resolution to institute “conservation overly districts” to protect Newport from housing density
Voiced concerns about building new hotels in downtown area
and the effects on our infrastructure
Works with State and Federal government officials to address
Works consistently to protect small businesses that employ local
Voted to disallow new free liquor licenses in order to protect businesses that have paid for these valuable businesses
Supported the creation of Innovate Newport at the Sheffield School to encourage a more diversified economy in Newport and help establish new small businesses
Open communication with all business owners’ concerns
Helping businesses re-open during Covid Pandemic
KEEPS COMMUNICATION OPEN LISTENING TO DIVERSE OPINIONS
Available 24/7 to answer texts, emails, and phone calls from
Acts promptly to mediate constituent concerns with City
Manager and his department heads, especially Public Works,
Zoning, and Police
KEEPS DEVELOPMENT IN ACCORDANCE TO CITY COMPREHENSIVE LAND USE PLAN AND ZONING ORDINANCES
KEEP EDUCATION STUDENT CENTERED
KEEPS BUSINESSES ROBUST
KEEPS NEIGHBORHOODS SAFE AND FAMILY-FRIENDLY
Raises funds to beautify King Park, restore the gazebo, and raise funds for the NIMFEST Summer Concert Series
As a Trustee for the Hamilton Improvement Fund, the King Park Harbor Walk was created working with Friends of the Waterfront and historic fencing was installed at Aquidneck Park for the safety of children
Fought the keep diesel Duck boats out of King Park, Newport Harbor, and city streets
Spent 20 years working with neighborhood groups such as The Point Association, Hill Association, and Bellevue Ochre Point
Association, when active
Works with the Point Association to protect Storer Park, Battery
Park, and be and advocate for residents
Works with Friends of King Park to provide plantings in the park
Advocates for locals to use dinghy dock at King Park Pier for family recreation
Advocated with Councilor Napolitano and attended Legislative Hearings to stop RIPTA bus announcements from disturbing residents on The Point
During gas power outage worked with National Grid Supervisors to get power to those in need for medical reasons and for families with small children; personally sent trucks to CT to purchase electric heaters when National Grid ran out and donated to families in need
Voted to expand funding for the improvement and road and sidewalk repairs
Consistently pushing City Manager to address speeding on city on city streets, especially Harrison and Ruggles Avenues and to address loud motorcycle noise from illegal pipes
Negotiated the city lease of $1 a year with old Fleet Bank Boston
to gain the site for Thames Street Police Sub-Station
Sponsored resolution to extend King Senior Center Lease