HOPKINTON — All five incumbents on the Town Council have declared their candidacies, and they will be joined on the ballot by Roy Dubs, the co-founder of Ocean State Job Lot, who is running an an indpendent, and Tom Buck, a Democrat who served on the council for three terms.
Dubs, 62, holds a degree in economics from the University of Rhode Island, and has lived in Hopkinton since 1979. He sold his Job Lot interest in 2000, and owns the 300-acre Ramrod horse farm in Ashaway, as well as undeveloped land in town, including 137 acres at Exit 1.
He said he decided to run for the council to try to provide tax relief for overburdened residents, by implementing provisions he says are already included in the town’s comprehensive plan. Dubs said the town has yet to take action on the plan, which calls for the preservation of the village centers while encouraging commercial development in designated areas such as Exit 1.
“We have to make it so that businesses want to come in here, and the comprehensive plan was passed and nothing has happened,” he said. “It just blows my mind that the Town Council, every other Monday they’re meeting, and they’re not talking about it. Trust me, I will be proactive, and I will make this thing work.”
Dubs said that if elected, he would have plenty of ideas to present to fellow council members.
“There’re some people on the Town Council that are pretty good,” he said. “I think that if good ideas are brought to them, they would be easy to talk to, and, I’d like to believe that if it is a good idea, I’d be able to convince them that it is a good idea.”
Tom Buck, 51, a lifelong resident of Ashaway, is a former Town Council president. He has worked for 26 years as an assembler at Davis Standard in Pawcatuck, a company that manufactures extrusion systems. He started making maple syrup in 1997, and in 2012, decided to step down from the council to devote more time to syrup-making and organizing Rhode Island maple producers.
Asked what he would bring to the council if elected, Buck answered, “civility, my knowledge of the history of the town, the knowledge I gained on the Exit 1 plan that was worked on way back.”
Buck, who has opposed proposals like a drive-through coffee window on Main Street in Ashaway, agrees with Dubs that the town should focus on attracting businesses to Exit 1, but he is equally adamant about protecting the character of the villages of Ashaway and Hope Valley.
“As far as economic development within the villages, I’ve lived here all my life and that’s why I like this town, because of the villages that we have. I would hate to see that destroyed for $1,000 in tax money.”
Council President Frank Landolfi, who is running as an independent, said he and Buck had different visions for Hopkinton’s economy.
“He’s been around a while,” he said of Buck. “He doesn’t share the same thoughts I do about moving the town forward as far as development is concerned. He’s not really been a development person.”
Council Vice President Sylvia Thompson, a Democrat who also served on the council with Buck, said she would welcome him back.
“The town sorely needs common sense on the council, so that’s why I am such a Tom Buck supporter,” she said.
“We need him back. I’ve been discussing it with him for the last eight months, and obviously, he’s seen some of the problems that we have in town and he’s the kind of person who will find solutions to those problems.”
Barbara Capalbo, an independent, is seeking a fifth term on the council, and David Husband, also an independent, is going for a second term. Scott Bill Hirst, the only Republican, is running for a seventh term.
Landolfi first served on the council in 2009, lost his seat in 2010 and was elected again in 2011. He said he hoped he would be re-elected, but if not, he would be satisfied with what he had accomplished for the town.
“We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “I hope I get back in, and there’ll be two folks that don’t and five that do, and at the end of the day, if I don’t get in, I achieved my goal of lowering taxes my last two years as council president.”