Lombardi unopposed; one race for council

Lombardi unopposed; one race for council

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Mayor Charles Lombardi’s run as mayor will roll on unimpeded, as the incumbent mayor first elected in a special vote back in 2007 faces no opposition in this year’s elections.

Lombardi, 73, said again that he expects this to be his last four-year term as mayor, and that he has unfinished business to complete.

“To know that all elected or any aspiring individuals that would like to become mayor do not want to question or debate our accomplishments for the betterment of North Providence is refreshing and rewarding, and will allow us to continue to conduct business,” he said, adding that it’s a signal that he and other leaders are doing the right thing.

Frankly, said Lombardi, there are no negatives for an opponent to run on. Would they not like the lack of a tax increase? The A1 bond rating? The fact that a town that was once one step above junk bond status now has $13 million in the bank? The town is in a financially solid position, with two new elementary schools, a safety complex at no cost to local taxpayers, and a town park that’s among the best in the state.

“I could go on and on,” he said.

On whether he might end up deciding to seek another term after this next one, Lombardi said he’s not sure. He said leaders need to realize when it’s time to leave, and he’s assured his family that when the job is affecting his health, that’s when he’ll leave.

“I love what I do. I’m having the time of my life,” he said. “It’s working. The business sense that we’ve brought to the town is working.”

One of three council seats up for election this year has a challenger with Steven Loporchio pulling papers last week to run against District 1 Councilor Manny Giusti, a 16-year incumbent, in a Democratic primary on Sept. 8.

Giusti said this week that anyone is welcome to run for office. This year’s campaign season will be an interesting one, he said, with little to no ability to walk door-to-door to meet residents or hold fundraisers.

Loporchio, 63, told The Breeze he’s lived in and loved the town for many years and wants to help keep it “rolling forward.” Recently retired from Navigant Credit Union, he said he now has some time to give back to the community his children went to school in.

Though he said he doesn’t have political experience, he remembers as a youth how it made him feel to be part of student government and work with others to bring about positive change.

Loporchio said veterans and senior citizens are going through a tough time these days, and he would like to see what the town can do proactively to help them a little more. Also a priority, he said, is to give young people who are growing up at a tough time more opportunities, including more extracurricular activities.

Giusti, 77, said that “some great things have happened” over his 16 years in office. It was tough at the beginning, he said, but “look at what we’ve accomplished,” with stabilization of finances, two new schools, and business growth, among other successes.

He said town officials have “more great stuff” planned over the coming years, including construction of a new animal shelter and further upgrades at Camp Meehan/Notte Park, all while watching taxes along the way. Hopefully, he said, the moves they make will lead to “life being just a little bit better for the people of North Providence.”

“I enjoy when I see good things happening,” he said.

Two other council seats up for contests this year, the District 2 seat held by Kenneth Amoriggi and the District 3 seat held by Steven DiLorenzo, will see no challengers.

North Providence has staggered four-year terms, meaning only one councilor from each district runs every two years. There is no at-large race this year.

The same format holds true for School Committee.

Catarina DaSilva, who ran and lost to Charles Pollock for a District 2 School Committee seat two years ago, will this time challenge fellow Democrat Roderick DaSilva. District 3’s Steven Andreozzi and District 1’s Gina Picard are running unopposed.

After pulling declaration papers last week, all candidates must collect 50 signatures by July 10 to qualify for the ballot, and a judge has ruled that the effort can be done electronically.

All candidates for local office in North Providence are running as Democrats. The town’s main two House of Representatives members, Arthur Corvese and William O’Brien, will also run unopposed as Democrats.

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, whose District 4 covers parts of North Providence and Providence, faces a challenge from progressive Democrat Leonardo Cioe Jr., and Sen. Frank Ciccone, also a Democrat, is running unopposed in District 7.

Some incumbents representing smaller portions of North Providence also have opponents, including Republican Thomas Paolino being challenged by Democrat John Barr in District 17 and Democrat Stephen Archambault seeing three people filed paperwork to try to unseat him. In District 15, which covers Pawtucket and the eastern edge of North Providence, Pawtucket’s Herbert Weiss, Meghan Kallman, and Robert Morris Jr. will seek to replace the retiring Sen. Donna Nesselbush, all running as Democrats in the primary, and independent Sean Brown will be waiting for the winner in the general election on Nov. 3.