Incumbents Rule Election Night

by | Nov 8, 2022

Above: Top vote getters for Town Council, Mark Schwager, and School Committee, Nicole Bucka, at the EG Democratic headquarters Tuesday evening.

Democrats returned to Town Council, School Committee, General Assembly

With nearly all votes counted, despite facing some vigorous GOP opposition, Democrats retained their complete monopoly on East Greenwich elected offices Tuesday. All five incumbent Democratic Town Council members – Mark Schwager, Mike Donegan, Michael Zarrella, Renu Englehart and Caryn Corenthal (in order of votes) – won reelection. The three School Committee members running for reelection won – Nicole Bucka, Alyson Powell, and Gene Quinn – as well as newcomer Clare Cecil-Karb. All are Democrats.

Rounding out the Town Council race were GOP candidates Brian Turner, Brandon Salomon, and Peter Rodgers. Peter Carney, Justin Cahir and Theresa Daly were the GOP candidates for School Committee. Find all the vote totals HERE.

In the General Assembly races, Democrat Justine Caldwell beat Republican Amanda Blau by nearly 9 points (54.4 percent to 45.5 percent), retaining the House Dist. 30 seat for her third term with her widest margin of victory to date. Democratic incumbent Evan Shanley beat Independent Jonathan Martin 64.3 percent to 35 percent in the House Dist. 24 race. District 30 encompasses most of East Greenwich and a small portion of West Greenwich; District 24 encompasses a wide section of Warwick along with the area of East Greenwich from Cedar Avenue near Cole, south. In the Senate Dist. 35 race, Democratic incumbent Bridget Valverde beat Republican Doreen Costa by 13 points (56.8 percent to 43.1 percent).

Town voters also defeated a ballot referendum asking if they supported retail cannabis in East Greenwich, 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent.

Mark Schwager, elected to his seventh term on the Town Council (in 2006, 2008, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, and now 2022), including the last two serving as Council president, expressed enthusiasm about the next term.

“This is fantastic. To have the continuity – two years really goes very, very fast – to have the continuity, the same people, the same administration, that’s rare. It really is an opportunity of a lifetime to have that continuity and everybody pulling together. It’s remarkable,” he said Tuesday evening at the Varnum Armory, Election Day headquarters for the East Greenwich Democrats.

He ticked off the various issues facing the town, including development pressures, waterfront and downtown parking studies, and school building master plan. “It’s an exciting time to be in government and great to be in a functional environment where we’ve got good staff, good department heads and a council that’s really established a working dynamic,” he said.

Nicole Bucka was the top vote getter among School Committee candidates. She just went through an election last fall to fill a vacated seat on the committee. Now she has a full four-year term.

“I just feel like a year was definitely not long enough to accomplish what I was hoping to accomplish so I appreciate the opportunity to get a full term,” she said. “I think I accomplished a lot in a year but to think what I could do in four, it’s a lot more substantive.” Bucka added, “I’m looking forward to this. I’m really happy the incumbents are remaining because I have started to form those relationships with them. I feel like I’ll be able to take things to fruition more.”

She admitted she was a bit surprised. “This election was about, I’m going to just try to be transparently and objectively about what I really believe in,” said Bucka. “This speaks to what I experienced when I walk door-to-door in East Greenwich – that what you see on social media is not reality. The people in East Greenwich are informed. They’re educated. They care. And, when you are transparent and objective, if they agree with you, then they’re going to support you.”

East Greenwich News stopped by The Patio, where Republican candidates were gathered; they declined to comment.

While most of the ballots were counted Tuesday evening, there are some mail ballots dropped off today that have yet to be counted. Those votes should be added to the totals sometime Wednesday. Find local and state election returns HERE

Father and son EGHS poll workers Doug Alexander and Emmett Bassen-Alexander, who is 17. “It’s been an experience,” said Emmett. “More fun than I expected.”

The poll at Hanaford Elementary.

Longtime poll worker Wayne Lindo at Cole Middle School Tuesday.

Mark Schwager and Mike Donegan after vote tallies confirmed their return to seats on the Town Council Tuesday.

 

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. RAYMOND RICCIO

    “East Greenwich News stopped by The Patio, where Republican candidates were gathered; they declined to comment.”

    Congratulations should go first to the incumbents. Second a Thank You to the Republican Candidates that chose not to comment.

    “As we must account for every idle word so must we account for every idle silence. Benjamin Franklin

    Choose wisely.

    Reply
    • bob

      RR, you are so impressed with yourself! Maybe you should take your own advice.

      Reply
  2. CR

    Can someone please explain why the school committee is not a separate vote from other East Greenwich issues? Why are people who have zero investment (ie, no children) in any of the schools, allowed to vote for who is on a school committee?

    My neighbor, an 80+ year old man, mentioned that he was getting ready to vote for school committee and he’s never had children attend school here, and has no grandchildren and/or relatives that have children who attend school in East Greenwich.

    I find it incredibly disappointing that the same people have been elected with no new voices and again, I wonder if this goes back to the votes being generated by people who have no investment in the schools here in East Greenwich.

    Is this something in the future that can be more streamlined and tailored toward active parents?

    Reply
    • Joe G

      Because that would only make sense if only those with children in the schools paid taxes towards the schools. At 80, if he’s lived here a while, he’s likely paid 10s of thousands in taxes directly into our schools. Of course he gets a say.
      Do you want to only tax those with children for the schools?

      Reply
    • CM

      As long as they pay taxes in EG, and live in EG, and, as such, have a vested interest in the performance of EG schools, they are invested in the school committee.

      Reply
    • Jed

      CR – there simply isn’t enough time or space to explain why that is something that cannot, and should not, happen, for philosophical (never mind logistical) reasons. Let’s just sum it up by saying that segregating voting in that manner would undermine the very foundation of a democratic republic.

      Reply
    • JS

      Do you honestly believe that people who don’t have children in the school system “have zero investment in the schools?” I mean, really? Do you not understand the relationship between a strong school system and property values?

      Reply
      • Bob

        Maybe should should ask the constituents of Sarah’s Trace after reading the articles on EG News!

        Reply
    • DD

      That 80 year old man lives in this town and pays taxes. It is his right to vote for whomever he wants. Your duty was to engage that person and talk to him about issues you see in town. We no longer have a small or caring town with attitudes like this.

      Reply
    • Heather Tibbitts

      Many of us who no longer (or don’t yet) have kids in the k-12 system still have a vested interest in the local schools. Some of us may not be as active as we were (although many still are). In the town we owned our first house, I actively campaigned for the building of a high school, even though we thought we might never be able to have kids of our own. So to say that I should not have then, or should not have now (because our kids are now in college), an input into the composition of the school committee is rather concerning to me.

      Reply
  3. CR

    JS – you’re right, I just don’t get it. I don’t understand. I’m not very smart. I just happened to move to East Greenwich with my children because I wanted to pay the highest taxes in the state. Again, because I’m not very smart. So thank you for pointing that out, I really appreciate it!

    To answer your obviously rude and aggressive questions – I think the people who live here who don’t have children in the school system obviously want the schools to be important to improve the value of their homes, but you cannot convince me that they care enough to attend/listen to school board meetings or get to know any of the candidates.

    Case in point, my neighbor who had no idea.

    DD – it’s absolutely not my job to “engage and educate” my neighbor on the town issues. How can I be impartial? Do I tell him that I think anyone who sat on the school board and voted to mask our children should never EVER have any decision moving forward about my child’s well-being?

    It is everyone’s job in the community to educate themselves – there are plenty of meetings, forums, zoom calls, newsletters, platforms, etc. to be able to hear what is going on. And because someone chooses not do to these things, they are exempt from the responsibility? No.

    Reply
    • DL

      CR – so now your 80 year old neighbor “had no idea” because he didn’t attend school committee meetings? How many of the people in this town attended them (and not just the meetings around masking)? Civil engagement at that level, whether it’s a Town Council or School Committee meeting, is generally low…from what you’re inferring, we should simply require civic engagement in order to cast a vote.

      Reply
    • CS

      CR, so if I don’t have children in the system, can I avoid paying taxes that are earmarked for schools? If I don’t drive a car, should I avoid paying taxes that fund road improvements? If I don’t use the public parks, should I not pay taxes that go to improving them? if I am not a senior citizen, can I avoid paying taxes that fund programs for them? The argument is a dead end. No one wants to pay taxes, but we do for the betterment of all.

      It’s seems apparent you are upset that your choice for school committee candidates did not win a seat at the table. Perhaps you put your kids in private school or move out of EG to a community that fits your ideals better. Or better yet, run yourself!

      Reply

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