Many of you know I ran a write-in campaign for the First Ward position in 2014 when it was clear that our Councilor supported the expansion of casino gambling. Many of you encouraged me then, and have continued to encourage me. I want to share with you now the follow up I sent to those whom I knew had supported me, which includes the flyer I handed out on election day.
I have to say it was inspiring to see so many people I’d never met before, responding to what I consider a message of faith in Newport’s economic resilience, born of our city’s uniqueness on so many fronts and augmented with the talent and creativity and persistence of our citizens. To my surprise, I enjoyed campaigning as a candidate, and many of you have sent encouraging messages saying you hope I’ll do a serious run in 2016. I’m touched, and honored by your faith.
However, the motive for the write-in campaign was never to secure a slot on the City Council for myself. Rather, what I had hoped for was to galvanize a group of our neighbors, who are already opposed to casino expansion, and add to the development of the concept of the Innovation Hub. The reality is we anticipate another fight over casino expansion to come down the pike one day sooner or later. I want to see Newport’s economy developed along lines which, frankly, show that the town and its leaders have some self-respect.
I’m including with this email the statement I drafted on the Monday before the election. Written in haste but reflecting thoughts that have been years in formation, it reflects what I see as Newport’s unique strengths and global appeal, and potential for economic sub-engines.
For those of you who like numbers, the certified results show that I got a total of 153 votes. I consider that not bad given that the final decision to run was made on Monday morning, the first email notice – only partly on message – was sent out just after noon, and my statement was sent out around 8 p.m. I campaigned all day at St. John’s, where I got 113 votes, but I also got 40 votes from the Pell School polling station. Here is the tally:
Camacho Taylor Total votes %
Pell School 1092 40 1132 96.5/3.5
St. John’s 189 113 302 62.5/37.5
TOTAL 1281 153 1434 89.5/10.5
ELECTION DAY FLYER
MY GOAL – TO OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE INCUMBENT:
I hope with this write-in candidacy to send a message to our Council Member that he does not govern with a mandate from his constituents. I believe that a choice of candidates is essential to present opposing views in the marketplace of ideas.
THE CHOICE – I WILL OPPOSE THE EXPANSION OF NEWPORT GRAND:
I differ from the incumbent in my approach to Newport’s long-term economic sustainability.
Newport has tremendous strengths, developed during its 375-year history. I believe the future economic growth of Newport lies in building on these strengths, rather than in the expansion of gambling as proposed by Newport Grand in Question 1. I am a supporter of the Innovation Hub, and will vote to approve Question 4 to fund improvements at the College of Engineering at URI, and to approve Question 5 to fund preservation grants, as well as arts and culture. To me, this is the way forward.
The issues facing the City are huge, and I fear we are at a critical decision determining the future of Newport. With the expansion of Newport Grand we diminish our options by linking our hopes for economic development to a dying industry.
We have an opportunity to create an Innovation Hub in the public lands of the “highway to nowhere” – this will create a sustainable plan for the coming decades and increase our options for economic expansion and our viability in the economies of the future.
Newport strengths which can be leveraged in an Innovation Hub:
- the brain trust which comprises the Naval War College;
- the world-class expertise and technological strengths in the yachting industry which brings clients from around the country and the globe (think Newport Shipyard, and International Yacht Restoration School, as two examples);
- the truly unique assets of our preserved historic homes, from Colonials to Victorians and Gilded-Age mansions – which provide a basis for both the tourist industry and those craftsmen and artists who restore and maintain the properties;
- the long-standing, iconic music festivals which take place here annually – the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals – and the Newport Film Festival;
- and in addition, Newport is at the cutting edge of the preservation of genetic biodiversity with the Swiss Valley Foundation, and is home to many world-class restaurants – in other words, we’re a real locus of the slow-food movement and farm-to-table culinary offerings.
Finally, there is the question of listening to constituents as the Councilor makes decisions in the best future interests of our city. Our constituents in the First Ward represent an impressive array of skills, talent and experience, and deserve to be heard. My profession is hearing my clients’ stories and finding the best solutions for them, consistent with what is possible in the legal system. I believe I have a multitude of skills to bring to my service as a Council Member, and would like the opportunity to be your representative.