By DANIEL KITTREDGE Ward 4, which includes much of Western Cranston, has a new representative on the City Council. On an 8-0 vote during a special session ahead of the council's regular monthly meeting Monday, Richard Campopiano was appointed to fill the
Ward 4, which includes much of Western Cranston, has a new representative on the City Council.
On an 8-0 vote during a special session ahead of the council’s regular monthly meeting Monday, Richard Campopiano was appointed to fill the remainder of the term left vacant by Ed Brady’s resignation in August.
Campopiano was immediately sworn in by Rosalba Zanni of the city clerk’s office and took his seat on the council, which held its regular monthly meeting after the special session.
“It’s very exciting. I’m really pleased. I’m glad they all supported me,” Campopiano said after the vote.
He added: “Hopefully, we can make a difference, and hopefully we all can work together. That’s the most important part. And I think we can. They’re all wonderful people. I’ve talked to every one of them. I’m glad to be part of it.”
Campopiano, 58, has owned the machine shop R&D Tool Engineering & Four-Slide Production Inc., located on Libera Street, with his wife, Debbie, for 38 years. He is a past president of the St. Mary’s Feast Society and Holy Name Society and is active at St. Mary’s Church.
Campopiano and his wife have two children, a son and daughter, as well as three grandchildren. Both of their children attended Cranston Public Schools, he said, and two of their grandchildren are now in the city’s school system.
“That’s another reason why I wanted to get involved, to see if I can help out there,” he said. “I like being involved with the community … I’m a workaholic, so whatever I can do to keep busy, I do.”
The council appointment represents Campopiano’s first foray into politics. He said at this point, he intends to seek a full term in the Ward 4 seat in the November 2022 election.
“It’s going to be an adventure,” he said, “but I really look forward to it.”
Campopiano’s appointment brings Ward 4 back to full representation on the city’s two major governing bodies. The Ward 4 seat on the School Committee had also been vacated in August by the resignation of Vincent Tuchetta. Last week, the committee appointed former police chief Ken Mancuso to fill the remainder of Turchetta’s term.
It also brings an end to a process that has involved some political intrigue.
Under the terms of the city’s charter, the School Committee and council are charged with filling vacancies that occur more than six months after the start of a term through appointment. In the case of ward seats, the appointee is required to reside in the ward and, in the case of the council, be of the same political party. Seats on the School Committee are nonpartisan.
Earlier this month, the Cranston Republican City Committee endorsed Turchetta for the council seat, followed by a statement from Mayor Ken Hopkins and former GOP mayors Allan Fung and Michael Traficante in support of Turchetta’s candidacy. Brady, a Republican, also endorsed Turchetta as his successor.
But the charter’s provision regarding party affiliation quickly became an issue because Turchetta had until recently been a registered Democrat and a member of the Democratic Ward 4 Committee. Paplauskas, a Republican, subsequently nominated Campopiano, whose name was the only one considered by the council for the Ward 4 seat.
During an interview ahead of the council’s meeting Monday, Hopkins said Turchetta had formally withdrawn his interest in the position following Campopiano’s nomination. Turchetta previously told the Herald he would respect Paplauaskas’s decision in terms of a nomination for the seat.
Hopkins said he believes the possibility of the City Council’s Democrats denying a quorum for a vote on Turchetta’s candidacy spurred Paplauskas to seek an alternate nominee. He spoke highly of both Tuchetta and Campopiano.
“Vin was a great candidate … But so was Richard,” he said, adding: “I’m good friends with Richard. I think he’s a fantastic choice.”
Hopkins said his support for Turchetta was based on his belief that due to his experience on the School Committee and active role in the community, “he very easily could have taken on what ]Brady] had did and won the election next November.”
“Richard’s going to have to be groomed into that position,” the mayor added. “But I’m not afraid of putting him up there. He’s a great guy, he’s a good candidate. And if that’s who the council president wants and they support, then I’ve said from the beginning, I will support whoever the Republican candidate is.”
Hopkins said he is pleased the 5-4 Republican majority on the council has been restored. He also said he recently met with Paplauskas and they are “on the same page.”
“We’re just going to keep doing what’s right for the city,” he said.
Ward 3 Councilman John Donegan, the leader of the council’s Democratic caucus, said there were “several names that were floated and that we had heard through the rumor mill” regarding the Ward 4 seat in addition to Turchetta.
Ultimately, he said, Campopiano was the only candidate the council members were asked to formally consider.
“I think we’re all pleased, as you can tell by the vote, with the person that was put forward by the Republican City Council members,” adding with a laugh: “He earned my vote when he told me he’s a Yankee fan, so I’m not alone on the council.”
He continued: “I spoke with many members of the public, members of the council, people that have been involved in the city for a long time. And there were no issues brought up to light, and based on my conversations, [Campopiano] seemed like a very genuine, authentic person, and I’m looking forward to working together.”
Also during Monday’s special meeting, the council selected Citywide Councilman Robert Ferri as its new vice president. Brady had served in that role prior to his nomination.
Citywide Councilwoman Jessica Marino nominated Ferri, while Ward 6 Councilman Matthew Reilly nominated Citywide Councilwoman Nicole Renzulli. The final vote was 7-2 in Ferri’s favor, with Reilly and Renzulli in the minority.
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