The final tally of mail ballots was conducted last night at the RI Board of Elections, and while I picked up another 200 votes, it was not enough. I thank everyone in Portsmouth who voted for me, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to run.
To our newly elected Council members -- best wishes for much success as you work together for the town we all love.
A special shout-out to the Portsmouth Democratic team, who were a great bunch of folks to run with. Congratulations to Kevin Aguiar, Mark Ryan, and Linda Ujifusa for taking seats on the Council. To Emily Copeland, Terri Cortvriend, and Andrew Kelly on the School Committee. And to Jenn West for taking the Town Clerk office in the last election that will ever be held for that position (since Portsmouth also voted to make it appointed.)
Congratulations to Susan Donovan, newly elected Representative, and returning Reps Dennis Canario and Jay Edwards who have served Portsmouth so well at the State House. And a big congratulations to Jim Seveney, who triumphed over incumbent Republican John Pagliarini to become our State Senator.
The overarching challenge for our town is to “Keep Portsmouth Portsmouth.” I’m John McDaid, and I’m running for Portsmouth Town Council to help make that happen.
Maintaining our town’s unique character should be the test for any Council decision. That means managing development and preserving open space, but it also means maintaining the quality of our schools, ensuring that town services are delivered efficiently and effectively, and supporting our local economy. It means managing threats (like rising sea levels), implementing sound, evidence-based policies (the wastewater management district), providing for safety and security (the new police station), and developing a shared vision for our town’s future (the Comprehensive Plan).
A bit about my background. I taught communications and writing in college for seven years. I led the team that created one of the first hypertext writing programs in the country at NYU, a program I coordinated for two years.
But as wonderful as it is to teach, I wanted opportunities to apply my skills beyond the classroom. So I moved to the corporate world, where I spent 22 years as a project manager and communication technology specialist for an international consulting firm. I've run everything from small web projects to a million-dollar software development effort, working with distributed teams under tight budgets and timeframes, which has given me a toolbox of skills in communication, coordination, and consensus building.
I've also pitched in where I can to help out our town and our state. For ten years, I've run a local web site, harddeadlines.com, providing news and commentary on Portsmouth issues. As a freelance journalist, I've reported on Rhode Island issues for RIFuture.org, where I was credentialed to cover the UN 2014 Climate Summit and the Democratic National Conventions in 2012 and 2016.
I served on the Town's recent Charter Review Committee. I've been a volunteer member of the Portsmouth School District technology committee for more than five years, and was appointed by the School Committee to both the Facilities Committee and Technology Subcommittee. For the past several years, I’ve had the privilege of serving as a mentor to PHS students doing senior projects.
I retired this year, and want to take the next step in serving our town. As a proven communicator, I will work to strengthen the connections between our local government and community. My experience in business and education will help me analyze problems and make fact-based decisions. And as a parent and proud third-generation resident of Portsmouth, I will always be guided by what's right for our families and our town.
I thank you for your time and your consideration, and ask for your vote on November 8.
This letter appeared in the Newport Daily News, 11/4/16.
The Newport Daily News ran its special section on the election today, including profiles of all the candidates. If you're a Newport county resident, it's a great resource for finding out about the candidates and positions. Here's a link to my profile:
Monday's "King Tide" brought a preview to Portsmouth of what everyday high tides could look like by the middle of the century, and local officials and reporters gathered at the sea wall in Island Park to get a preview and discuss the risk. Both the Newport Daily News and the Portsmouth Times had coverage this week, and local Democratic candidates, myself included, were unanimous in their respect for the science.
The Newport Daily News quoted me:
At the sea wall Monday morning, McDaid, whose family has lived in the Island Park neighborhood for decades, said: “Look at this as the new normal in 20 years. This is a real threat to hundreds of houses.”
The Portsmouth Times ran an even longer quote:
Mr. McDaid’s family has lived on Gormley Avenue since the 1920s. His mother escaped safely from the home during the 1938 Hurricane, he said, but many others were not so fortunate.
“What we’re looking at here is the future,” said Mr. McDaid. “When we’re looking at a King Tide right now, we’re looking at now what NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) says is going to be your sea level — mean high water — in 2035. That means in 2035, you’re going have this water at the top of the storm drain, which is going to prevent drainage on Park Avenue. So that is going to be a situation that is dangerous, that presents issues with the residents, for school buses, for everyone who lives here in Island Park.”
He added that what onlookers were seeing is just “a taste of what’s to come.” By 2050, he said, NOAA is projecting sea level rises of up to two feet. By 2065? Three feet.
“That’s going to put water over the road and into our neighborhoods. This is a real issue we need to get in front of now,” said Mr. McDaid, adding that the town needs to plan “on what we can do with Park Avenue and these drainage systems to keep this neighborhood livable for folks.”
Official response from Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee Chair Len Katzman is on the Portsmouth Democrats web site.
We won a convincing victory in the Primary. Thanks to the voters of Portsmouth who turned out to support the endorsed Democratic slate for Town Council. I am honored and humbled by the confidence my neighbors have shown in me and my fellow Democrats, and I'll do my best to live up to your expectations. On to November.
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Portsmouth, RI 02871
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