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Representative Samuel A. Azzinaro, District 37, Incumbent
State Representative, District 37
Chairman, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee
Member, House Committee on Rules
Member, House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare
Member, House Committee on Special Legislation
Samuel A. Azzinaro has served the residents of District 37 since first being elected in 2008.
Representative Azzinaro sponsored the following legislation:
To require motor vehicle dealers to disclose in writing that a vehicle being sold has a spare tire and/or jack
To allow children with disabilities who are enrolled in post-secondary or transitional education programs administered by local educational agencies to continue in the program until the end of the school year even if the student reaches the age of 21 during the school year
To establish the Dorian J Murray Foundation license plate
To exempt social security income from taxation
To decrease automobile taxes
To provide free college tuition for eligible students
To increase the minimum wage to $10.50 in January 2019
To provide free bus rides for low income riders who are elderly or disabled
Representative Azzinaro was instrumental in creating the new CCRI Job Skills Training Center in downtown Westerly, which is training individuals in high skilled manufacturing jobs. He previously served for 12 years on the Westerly Town Council, with four years as President. He received the Navigation award from the RI Farm Bureau.
In 2019 Representative Azzinaro received the Veterans of Foreign Wars Legislative award in recognition of his tireless advocacy for Veterans issues at the State House. He was recognized at the Westerly Armory for his invaluable service to community, state and nation. Representative Azzinaro was honored to join 50 WWII and Korean War Veterans for the 15th RI Honor Flight to Washington, D. C. Azzinaro, a veteran of the National Guard (four years) and Army Reserves (four years), has always fought to ensure that our veterans have the support and services they need after returning home from defending our freedom. In 2017 Chairman Azzinaro sponsored legislation that designates October 23rd as a day to commemorate the nine RI Marines killed in the 1983 terrorist attack in Beirut, Lebanon. He also sponsored a bill that creates a 13-member special legislative commission to study veteran and military spouse education and employment opportunities. Chairman Azzinaro continued to fight for active military duty, veterans and their families during the 2018 legislative session. He sponsored a bill that would make it easier for military service members and their spouses to obtain business licenses and certifications. He also sponsored legislation that would waive application and transcript fees for veterans when enrolling in Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities. With regard to RI state income taxes, Chairman Azzinaro also sponsored legislation to provide for exclusion of the first $25,000 of military retirement income paid by the state or federal government to anyone 60 or older.
Representative Azzinaro was born in1943. He is a retired textile supervisor, business owner and carpenter. He resides in Westerly with his wife, Carol. They have five children, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Representative Brian Patrick Kennedy, District 38, Incumbent
In these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to have steady, experienced leadership at the State House. Brian Patrick Kennedy is a Westerly resident who has been honored to serve the people in the 38th District for 32 years in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. He is Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, the Dean of the House and the past Chairman of the House Committee on Corporations. Brian is a member of the House Rules Committee, the House Committee on Oversight and the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
Brian is the owner of Kennedy Realty & Appraisal in Ashaway. He was educated in the Chariho Regional School district and received a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA and a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major from Providence College. Brian is an active member of many state and local community organizations including the RI Academic Decathlon and the Cox Charitable Foundation.
Brian has been a champion in the phase-out of the motor vehicle excise tax which has helped save Westerly residents over $1.8 million in local property taxes thus far. In addition, Brian sponsored legislation that was enacted into law that allowed Westerly to increase the property tax exemptions for veterans and widows of veterans, while increasing the holdings of the Westerly Public Library.
Brian is the sponsor of numerous consumer protection laws including consumer privacy of personal information, tighter regulation of credit reporting agencies and placing consumer protections on non-regulated power suppliers to protect RI residents who choose an alternative electricity supplier. He authored the law that mandates that gift cards and gift certificates cannot have an expiration date in RI and also prevents businesses from charging monthly fees to deplete the value of the gift card.
Brian sponsored the law to allow telemedicine in the State to provide RI citizens with greater access to healthcare providers, which has been utilized during the Covid-19 pandemic. Brian also authored the Pharmacy Freedom of Choice law that allows you to choose who you want to fill your prescriptions. During his time of service, he has authored numerous insurance laws that benefit our military, homeowners and the business community, including providing consumers with plain and simple disclosure of homeowner insurance deductibles for storm-related damage. Brian also worked to pass legislation for oversight of the COPAR quarry in Bradford and is a strong advocate for the people in his legislative district. Real Action, Real Results and Always Fighting on YOUR Behalf.
Chris Duhamel, Town Council, Incumbent
Chris Duhamel is a vice president of DiPrete Engineering and has been a professional engineer and land surveyor for 40 years. He and his wife, Aggie, of 38 years have four children and seven grandchildren. Chris attends St. Pius X Church and is an adjunct professor at URI. He is a past member of the Westerly Planning Board for 13 years and currently volunteers as a member of the State of RI Professional Engineering Board of Registration. Also, he is a former volunteer for Westerly Pee Wee Football and Westerly National Little League, serving as President.
Chris has served on the Town Council for 16 years. Due to his expertise as an environmental engineer, he served on the building committees which constructed Westerly Middle School and renovated Westerly High School. In addition, he chaired the building committee for the Westerly Department of Public Works highway garage, salt sheds and recycling area. He was a support for Stand Up for Animals in construction of the new Westerly Animal Shelter. After the devastating 2010 flood and Super Storm Sandy, he served on subcommittees to rebuild both the Westerly Town Beach pavilion and Westerly’s North End. He helped secure funding for purchase of the Bradford preserve open space. Chris served on the public works committee which provided for repair of the water department infrastructure with the construction of the 1 MG Winnapaug Water Tank, a 500 mgd Bradford public well, a 20 inch water main from White Rock wells, and the MIOX water purification system. During the recession, he worked to prioritize road and utility infrastructure improvements without increasing taxes.
Chris believes that Westerly is an incredible place to live and raise a family. He recognizes that the spirit of volunteerism in our community is unique. Chris knows it is important to protect our town and school children and support our future generations by providing responsible government.
Suzanne Giorno, Town Council, Incumbent
Suzanne K. Giorno, a Westerly resident for over 16 years, earned a Juris Doctorate Degree from Western New England School of Law and a Bachelor of Science from The State University of New York College at Brockport. Giorno, a former college instructor, focused on teaching law and public administration, worked for the New York State Assembly, where she helped to write Megan's Law, toured State institutions for budget review and advocated for district constituents. She also performed a clerkship for the Orleans County Court, the State Supreme Court and Family Court in New York.
She has an extensive background in the financial field, obtained series 7 and 66 certifications and experience in compliance, audit and regulations. Giorno has worked for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch, and The Washington Trust Company.
Giorno is currently the Vice President for the Westerly Town Council, Chair for the Town's Appointments Committee, where she interviews and appoints members to serve on Town Boards and Committees such as Planning Board, Zoning Board, Finance Board, Economic Development Committee, and Recreation Board. She is a Board of Trustees Member for Westerly Library and Wilcox Park, serving as Liaison for the Town Council. She is the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce Liaison and an active member of the One Fund Committee. Giorno was Co-Chair for the Town of Westerly 350th Bell Ringing Ceremony and Member of the 350th Anniversary Committee. She was awarded the Southeastern Connecticut 40 Under 40 award for community service excellence and business success. Most recently, she received the Community Service Award from WBLQ for volunteer efforts and dedication to community. Suzanne volunteered time teaching underprivileged parents resume and cover letter writing, interview skills and techniques. Generational growth is a big focus for Giorno, and she continually encourages others to help our community blossom. As President for the Stonington Lighthouse BNI, she helped business owners and professionals succeed, empowering them to help others.
Currently, Suzanne owns and operates Giorno Investigation Agency, a private investigation company licensed and bonded in RI. She focuses on fraud, infidelity, and missing persons investigations. Giorno volunteers time finding missing children from Westerly and the surrounding areas.
She and her husband, Tony, have two wonderful children, Tony and Mariana. She has coached local children’s soccer, basketball, baseball and softball teams, also devoted much time teaching toddler-focused classes for Westerly Recreation and volunteered for Fun in the Sun at Westerly Town Beach.
Brian McCuin, Town Council, Incumbent
Brian McCuin was born into a working class family in Brockton, MA. When his father obtained employment at Electric Boat, and his mother as a school secretary, his parents and siblings relocated, first to Bradford and then at the age of five, to Ashaway, where he lived until he married his wife of 45 years, the former Kathie Terranova.
Living in Westerly since then, Brian and Kathie raised one son, Michael, who was schooled in the Westerly system until he went to college. He now lives in Weston, MA with his wife, Nicole Stevens and their 5 year old twins, Everly Harper McCuin and Keegan Michael McCuin.
As a business major in college, Brian learned the basics of running a business. As co-owner of his own construction company since 1985 he has had dealt with all the ups and downs and financial challenges created in the ever changing economic environment.
Always attentive to the bottom line, Brian knows the value of a dollar and believes in fiscal responsibility. Past budgetary decisions made while serving on the Town Council were greatly influenced by his credence in spending the town’s money as carefully and responsibly as he would his own.
That being said, he knows a community needs the best schools and teachers it can possibly afford. His own son is a testament of how great Westerly schools can be. Along with that, he is a supporter of the Westerly Arts and believes in civic duties and commitment to services. Brian has served as a Cub Scouts den leader; a member of The Westerly Lions Club; past Board Member of the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce; The Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association; Athena Award Committee; Past President and member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and both the Rhode Island and the National Builders Associations. As well as serving on the Westerly Town Council he has also served on the Citizens Advisory Committee for Revaluation; the Westerly Town Zoning Board; the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee and a member on the Westerly Police Building Committee. He is also a recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellow Award for exemplary work in the community.
Brian’s history shows he has the necessary experiences and dedication to move projects to fruition and would like to serve again as Town Councilor.
Diane Chiaradio Bowdy, School Committee, Incumbent
Diane Chiaradio Bowdy is a lifelong resident of Westerly and hold a Master's Degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has two children, a son and a daughter, who both graduated from Westerly High School. For over 25 years, Diane has been very active in serving our community's youth athletic programs as a member of Westerly National Little League, Westerly Pee Wee Football, and Westerly Youth Basketball League. She has been employed at Electric Boat in Groton for 20 years, currently as a Specialist Program Representative. Prior to EB, Diane spent 14 years in various positions at the former Analysis & Technology, Inc. in North Stonington, CT.
The combination of Diane's education, career experience and dedication to the development of our youth has ensured a positive contribution to the Westerly School Committee over the past 8 years. During this time, she served as the Chairperson of the School Committee for 3.5 years, and continues to serve as the Chairperson of the Health and Wellness Subcommittee of the School Committee. This subcommittee addresses, in general, student physical, emotional and mental health issues and makes recommendations to the School Committee and Administration on ways to ensure student success.
Diane's most pressing objective is improvement of Westerly Public Schools facilities. This will encompass buildings, grounds and fields, and will require strategic investment of operating, capital and bond funds. In order to ensure success we have to bring together not only the Town Council and School Committee, but also all other community stakeholders with one objective—providing facilities that will foster student achievement for years to come while also being responsible custodians of our community’s budgetary resources.
Diane has served the community well and supported all stakeholders of Westerly Public Schools. She looks forward to working with her teammates in continuing to serve our district and our community.
Michael Ober, School Committee Candidate
Michael Ober lives on Sherwood Drive in Westerly with his wife, Tammy, and his two sons, Zachary and Nathaniel. Michael has worked for the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services for the last 30 years. He currently serves as a representative to the Department of Social Services Statewide Reopening Workgroup. Michael earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration in 2012. He was a member of the Westerly School Committee from 1998-2004 and served as Chairman of the Capital Overview Committee from 1999-2004. During Michael’s tenure on the School Committee a new Superintendent was hired, the position of Technology Director was created to improve technological platforms and applications and academic performance improved across the board. Westerly High School was renovated to a campus setting with expansion to Babcock Hall, and the Westerly Middle School was constructed. As Chair of the Capital Overview Committee, Michael worked diligently to focus on infrastructure maintenance. Michael was a volunteer for Westerly Youth Soccer. He has served as a member of the Westerly Public Schools Policy Subcommittee and as Vice Chair of The Town of Westerly’s Board of Finance. Michael is currently Vice Chair of the Westerly Municipal Land Trust and is experienced in natural resource management. He has a comprehensive understanding of Westerly Public Schools and budgeting processes. Michael’s recent experience in creating reopening policy documents for public organizations will also prove a valuable resource for the Westerly School Committee.
Rob Cillino, School Committee Candidate
Rob Cillino is pleased to announce his candidacy for The Westerly School Committee. A life-long resident of Westerly, he is the son of Barbara (Carlesi) Cillno and the late Romeo (Junie) Cillino. Rob attended Westerly Public Schools and graduated from Westerly High School. He went on to obtain a BA from the University of Rhode Island, an MS in Elementary Education from the University of New Haven, and a 6th Year in Administration from Sacred Heart University.
Rob is well-versed in curriculum, understanding data, teaching and learning, and union issues. He began his teaching career in the Waterford Public School System in Waterford, CT where he still works today. He worked as a classroom teacher for thirteen years before moving to his current position as an Instructional Specialist in mathematics which he has held for the past six years. He has worked at both the elementary and the middle school level. This past year, his middle school was recognized by the Connecticut State Department of Education for the excellence growth demonstrated in mathematics. This involved a visit from the state talent office and Rob was invited to present on his school’s math program at the CSDE Performance Matters Workshop. In his tenure in Waterford, he has been very active in leadership roles including: writing curriculum, mentoring new teachers, training student teachers, being a member of the district’s data analysis team, a member of the district’s professional development team, and has been on various hiring teams. He also serves as the Teaching Assistant Principal for his building. Rob has also served as a union steward for several years and has twice served on the negotiations team for his union.
Rob lives in Westerly with his wife Kerri (Felicelli), and children Rocco (URI freshman), Nina (WHS junior), and Sofia (WMS 8th grade). He served as a volunteer firefighter in the Westerly Fire Department for 16 years and is a member of the Mount Carmel Feast Committee and the Calabrese Club. He looks forward to using his knowledge to help the Westerly School System continue to move forward in order to provide the best education possible for the children of Westerly.
Giuseppe Gencarelli, School Committee Candidate
Giuseppe Gencarelli is a lifelong Westerly resident and graduate of Westerly High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of RI, a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of New Haven, and a 6th year degree in administration from Sacred Heart University. Giuseppe is married to Paula Gencarelli and has two children, Joseph and Julia, who both attend Westerly High School.
Giuseppe has been in education for a total of 21 years. He started his career as a classroom teacher in Waterford, CT; after 11 years he became principal at Hope Valley Elementary School in the Chariho Regional School District and has held that position for the past 10 years. During his tenure in Waterford and Chariho, Giuseppe grew as a teacher and school leader, and with his recent administration experience, he is fully prepared and ready to assume the responsibilities of becoming a Westerly School Committee member. As a life-long educator, Giuseppe will bring a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience to the Westerly School Committee. He will advocate for high quality education with a focus on delivering expert instruction. He understands the complexities and nuances that teachers face, especially in today’s world, and he will always make decisions with the students’ best interest in mind.
Giuseppe’s four-part educational vision is:
To inspire and motivate teachers, students, families, and community members to maximize their full potential as educators, scholars, parents, and be valuable members of our society.
To provide a safe, orderly, and secure learning environment while keeping our children’s social-emotional health a top priority.
To develop positive global citizens.
To be a supportive member of the Westerly School Committee who will help make decisions that will benefit ALL students.