During any election cycle, it is common practice for candidates to make promises to their prospective constituents.
The two newest members of the Cranston City Council – Ward 1’s Lammis Vargas and Ward 3’s John Donegan, both Democrats – followed through on a common pledge Jan. 26 by hosting events aimed at fostering community engagement.
Vargas held a community breakfast at the Edgewood Yacht Club, while Donegan hosted a “Pizza & Politics” event at Basil’s Pizza at Cranston Street.
Vargas said she was encouraged with the turnout for the breakfast, which drew more than 50 people. As part of the event, Cranston Police Capt. Vincent McAteer III provided a presentation and fielded questions from community members.
“It was great to see residents from all sections of Ward 1. It was important for me to not only have myself speak about the concerns or ideas I’m hearing throughout the city, but to also have the presence of the Cranston Police Department to provide our neighbors with ongoing programs, crime stats and how we can assist the police,” she said.
Other officials in attendance for the breakfast included Republican Citywide Councilman Ken Hopkins, Democratic Citywide Councilman Steve Stycos, Republican Ward 4 Councilman Edward Brady, Donegan, state Sen. Joshua Miller and state Reps. Joe McNamara and Arthur Handy.
McAteer discussed the department’s substation at Hall Manor, outlined the Cranston Accident Reduction Enforcement, or CARE, program, and reminded those in attendance that police provide “vacation watch” patrols for residents who are planning an extended trip or absence.
Additionally, a booth from the organization Be The Match was set up to take swabs for its bone marrow registry.
At Donegan’s “Pizza & Politics” session later in the day, topics of discussion included the high-profile Topgolf project planned for Sockanosset Cross Road; the City Council resolution sponsored by Vargas and Donegan urging the General Assembly to approve the Reproductive Health Care Act; and Donegan’s push to have meetings of the council, its various committees and the Planning Commission recorded and made available to residents.
“I have confidence in face-to-face interactions. I want to bring a collaborative approach to my term,” Donegan said, adding that he plans to hold monthly community gatherings and provide frequent updates to constituents via email and social media.
Donegan also said he intends to work toward reducing the use of plastic in Cranston and is eager to bring the business community into that discussion.
Gail Harvey, who was a Democratic candidate for a citywide council seat last year, spoke about the Reproductive Health Care Act and the council resolution. Ayana Crichton of the Comprehensive Community Action Program, or CCAP, spoke about the OneCranston initiative. She also urged residents with stories or pieces of history related to the Cranston Print Works property to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact information for all members of the City Council can be found at cranstonri.com.