Meet the Candidates: Brent Cleaveland
Brent Cleaveland is running as a Republican for North Kingstown Town Council.
- Why are you running for Town Council?
It is my time to stand up for what is right, to do my part to promote North Kingstown as the beautiful seaside community it is, with the fiscal staying power to stand the test of time. An event I call EXODUS RI has been quietly taking place for years. In the past 3 three years I have lost four good friends to other states offering a more affordable life style and lower tax rate. The people leaving our state are the people paying taxes. How long will this be sustainable?
- What are the three biggest issues facing North Kingstown right now?
- Quality of life for all residents. I would promote marketing the town assets, the beach, concerts, art show, air show, develop waterfront tourist draws, promote the Christmas Walk, and work to bring new life to the 1A corridor. The completed sewer expansion will be a good first step coupled with a focused effort to attract destination businesses to the corridor. We need to manage our business development consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
- Staggered 4 year terms for the Town Council.The turnover of the whole council every two years destroys continuity and increases the learning curve downtime. With five on the council serving for four years, 2 or 3 would rotate off in each two year election.
- Helping the School Committee with business issues. My goal is to promote cooperation between the school committee and the town council, working together to develop a fiscally responsible budget. The Council should never receive a budget for approval that they have not had a part in developing. We are one town, one tax base, and will strive to provide a quality education financed through a collaboration utilizing an efficient use of available resources.
- How would you rejuvenate the Post Road Corridor?
Sewers are a big step in attracting quality businesses on 1A. I think it is important to acknowledge that we already have some serious business interests that have taken root and made a significant investment in this area. The Fish Market, Little Tree Nursery, several banks, second hand shops, and Cranston Gun & Coin are several examples of businesses making an investment in this area of town. I believe that having available financing, (for credit worthy applicants), reducing regulatory burdens, (to responsible compliant businesses), will attract businesses and jobs. Quonset has what Mr. King calls a "fast track" process where a project can go from design to shovel in 60 days. This should be a model for North Kingstown.
- Do you support development at the intersection of Route 2/102?
Yes...and no. I have seen some very aggressive plans for the development of this 2/102 area. There are many concerns about green spaces, needless over development, and even water issues. It is possible to create a green friendly, environmentally sound project that anyone would be proud to support. Let's digest the focus group recommendations and find the common ground.
- What is your stance on the wind turbine situation in town?
From what I have learned, all regular permitting and zoning procedures were followed in the building the wind turbine by the train station. I have been told that the Town Council never had an opportunity or responsibility to comment on this particular unit as it followed all ordinances. That said, I was amazed when I saw the size of the constructed turbine. The good thing is that we will be able to "live" with this one before we have to deal with any others being built.
- What is your stance on the 24-hour shift for firefighters?
Much of this negotiation has gone on behind closed doors, which is not available to me. I did speak with a police officer who confided with me that he was very concerned about the contract changes the town negotiated to their current, in-force, contract. He is now very used to the new situation and enjoys spending 3 days straight with his family each week. I do know that negotiations are made between people and not between organizations. Common ground must be found to cooperate and negotiate all points of contention. I have heard that several times negotiations stopped when one side left the Council sitting alone at the table. Common ground will never be found without the cooperation of both sides.
- Personal Statement:
I had an epiphany the other day. After spending months at the State House working on a jewelry bill that protects children from dangerous products, it was suggested that I should step up and run for public office. Since that date, and all the other significant moments leading up to last week, I realized that everything I have done in the past has prepared me for what was coming. My business experience managing, negotiating, planning, and forecasting has prepared me for this challenge. I am ready to step up and accept it. The bill passed both in the RI House and Senate and was signed by Governor Chafee.
NAME: Brent Cleaveland
ADDRESS: 25 Sea Grass Way, North Kingstown, RI 02852
DATE OF BIRTH: 7/9/1951
ENDORSED CANDIDATE?: (YES)
OFFICE SOUGHT: North Kingstown Town Council
POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
PREVIOUS TERMS, IF ANY (LIST YEARS) -0-
PROFESSION: Senior Management
EDUCATION: Private & Public High Schools
Taught Classes at Lane Community College, OR
FAMILY INFO: Married, living at Wickford Point for 11 years, 3 children, 2 grandchildren.