Opinion: The Importance of Local Government

by | Oct 25, 2022

By Mark Schwager

I have lived in East Greenwich for over 28 years with my wife, Dr. Patricia Flanagan. We have valued and enjoyed the many wonderful qualities that make East Greenwich an exceptional place to live, work, and raise a family.

At 16 square miles our town is small but we are centrally located in the state and enjoy a waterfront, a historic downtown, and a Main Street business district. We have commercial development along R.I. State Routes 1 and  2, and a rural “West of Route 2” area with winding, canopied country roads lined by stone walls.  Our town consistently rates at the top of the rankings for public education and municipal services and our residents are very engaged in community organizations. Since moving to East Greenwich, I’ve appreciated the sense of place that the town offers and have worked to make a difference in my community. 

I’ve combined my love for East Greenwich with a  commitment to public service. I have previously served on the Planning Board, Municipal Land Trust, and as a member of the Board of Fire Commissioners. I am now in my 6th term as a Town Councilor, the last two terms as president of the Council. I have seen up close how important local government is to the quality of life of our residents. Although national and statewide politics attract the lion’s share of the public’s attention, local politics often have more impact on citizens’ day to day life. Municipal government will touch the roads you drive on, the schools your children attend, the police and fire personnel who are the first responders in an emergency (or pandemic), the value of your property, your parks and ballfields … the look and feel of your community. My responsibility on the Town Council is to keep local government accessible and efficient and to preserve, enhance and promote our town’s unique assets and character. When this is done well, our community will continue to innovate, grow and thrive – and people, families and businesses will want to be here in East Greenwich. I am dedicated to our community and hope to continue to serve on the Town Council on your behalf to keep East Greenwich one of the best places to live in Rhode Island.

Mark Schwager is running for reelection to the Town Council.

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October 26, 2022 5:12 am

Hi Mark,
Thank you for your service. Are you able to provide an update on the proposed demolition and plans with regard to Frenchtown Elementary? Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Chris Lamendola
Chris Lamendola
October 26, 2022 8:27 am

When my wife and I realized how bad the Covid pandemic was, we put our pride in our pocket and said to ourselves, no matter how we feel about our community and town politicians and how they screwed us and sacrificed our homes during the construction of Cole Middle School, we need to do the right thing and help. Through our family business we modified production and we donated thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer when none could be found, at a cost of thousands of dollars, and at no cost to the town under the guidance of Bob Houghtaling (if you don’t believe me, you must be living under a rock, just ask him) It came out of our own pocket, without hesitation and cost. We did it with no strings attached, both of us grew up in town with many Fire, Police and town employees who were our friends and neighbors. It went to all EG town agencies, Town Hall, School Dept, DPW, Shoreside Apts, ect., we made sure it went everywhere in town especially those in need. We DID IT because we knew it was right thing to do…. Not because of money! Now I find out that our politicians could care and don’t even know…not even a Thank you from you Town Councilor Schwager or any of your cohorts on the Town Council or even the East Greenwich School Committee.

You and the rest of the Council couldn’t even bring yourselves to a simple Thank You!

You speak of ‘Your” statement of “Strong Sense of Community” and need for local government rings hollow…… and you want town resident’s votes?

BTW, we don’t want a thank you from any of you, it wouldn’t mean anything anyway!

October 26, 2022 10:20 pm

Interesting the old Dr continues to tote his time as a former fire commissioner and he approved a labor agreement as a member of the town council that led to a very difficult time in Town.


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