PAWTUCKET — On the Pawtucket City Council, there is only one “classic” race being decided on Nov. 6, that between Democratic candidate Timothy Rudd Jr. and Republican candidate Scott Rotondo for the District 6 seat.
The two men are vying for the seat held by incumbent Democrat James Chadwick, who was beaten by Rudd in the Democratic Primary. Both candidates are political newcomers although each have been involved in various other community or sports organizations.
Rotondo, 39, of 276 Power Rd, is an accounting supervisor at Hasbro, Inc. He holds a bachelor's degree in accounting and a master's degree in business administration, and has made his financial skills and background a centerpiece of his campaign. “I think the City Council needs a financial professional who can keep an eye on the budget for the taxpayers,” he stated.
Rotondo, who is married and has a school-age daughter, said he knows there are other issues of concerns to voters in the district, but thinks that the city is in a financial predicament that could come close to bankruptcy. “Then other issues become secondary I don't want to see Pawtucket in the same status of Central Falls where you lose independence.”
Rotondo said that if elected, he will serve without taking the payment stipend or benefits package that is provided to those on the City Council. “A citizen who wants to serve willingly is what we intended when our country was first started,” he stated.
Rotondo also said he thinks there should be more of an ongoing dialogue between the council and residents. He said that if elected, he will hold regular community meetings so residents of the district can share their concerns.
While this is his first bid for political office, Rotondo is active in the Republican Party at both the local and state level. He is the District 6 chairman of the Pawtucket Republican City Committee, a delegate to the Rhode Island GOP State Central Committee, a member of the Rhode Island GOP nominating committee and a board member for the Rhode Island Young Republicans. He is also a member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Friendship Lodge #7.
As to his political affiliation, Rotondo said “I hope voters aren't going to vote strictly on party lines and that they look at the state of the city.” He said he had met his opponent, Rudd, out on the campaign trail and that he “seems like a good guy.” He said he thinks the voters of the district have “two good guys” to choose from and it is up to them to decide what they want in a councilor.
Rudd, 31, of 257 West Forest Avenue, is a Providence Police officer and school resource officer. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Rhode Island College, and is also an assistant coach of cross country and track and field at RIC.
Rudd has centered his campaign on “the basic quality of life issues that affect our whole district.” He would like to see improvements made to the district's roads and upgrades done to nearby youth facilities. He said he is particularly concerned with the operation of the private waste transfer station located off Mineral Spring Avenue, which District 6 residents often complain to him about. If elected, he said he would request statistical data on the amount of tonnage taken in, the time and date of supervised visits and other details pertaining to the lease arrangement with the city to ensure that the company is abiding by the agreement.
Rudd, who is single, is also a volunteer coach for the Providence Cobras Youth Track and Field Club. He said he is a strong believer in the importance of athletic programs in building character and fostering healthy mind and body development in youths. He noted that he and several community groups worked to host a Halloween party at Galego Court, and he sees these types of activities as beneficial in keeping youth focused and off the streets.
Additionally, Rudd said he would work to bring the culturally and economically diverse district together to address common goals. He said more needs to be done to develop relationships between the various factions within the community, and this will make the district more “dynamic” and the city better as a whole.