standing Letters

I thank the diverse group of talented Charlestown citizens who stepped forward to run for elected office as endorsed candidates of Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA). And, I apologize for the Charlestown residents who have chosen to mimic the vitriol of the 2020 national election in an attempt to further their own agenda at the expense of CCA candidates. As Kamala Harris would say, “We are better than this.” Let’s not attack candidates for their accomplishments.

From neighborhoods throughout town and with life and work experiences that complement each other, these individuals formed a collegial group committed to becoming a governing body for all Charlestown residents. Cody Clarkin, a Chariho and URI graduate, Eagle Scout, and mature young man for his age, will bring his passion for Ninigret Park to his decision-making. Susan Cooper, a retired attorney and member of the Zoning Board, will add her invaluable knowledge to deliberations. Sheila Andrew, a professor of animal science at the University of Connecticut and an advocate of One Health, will assure that science and facts remain at the forefront of analyses.

Returning councilors Bonnie Van Slyke, an editor and technical writer, and David Wilkinson, senior vice president of operations for an international company, have stellar records on which to run, and I thank them for being the type of policy-makers who have supported the town administrator, town staff, and the accredited police department during an especially trying year. They have also supported the Chariho schools, and as a Chariho parent, David Wilkinson has firsthand knowledge of educational practices.

Vote for the four Planning Commission candidates: Walter “Peter” Mahony, a retired professional planner with a focus on the sustainable balance between development and land preservation; Ruth Platner, chairwoman of the Planning Commission, whose work to maintain Charlestown’s rural character dates to the 1970s defeat of a proposed nuclear power plant; Gordon Foer, a dedicated and well-qualified veteran of the Planning Commission with a master’s degree in urban and environmental policy; and Frances Topping, a valued member of the Planning Commission, a natural science illustrator, and educator.

Ron Areglado, a former member of the Chariho School Committee, is CCA’s candidate for town moderator. As a lifelong leader in education, he epitomizes civility in debate and will foster thoughtful discussion during the town’s budget public hearings.

Gail “Linda” McAllister, a retired principal, is running unopposed to continue her service on the Chariho School Committee and adds another voice of experience to policy-making.

Voters throughout Charlestown will thank this team for our low tax rate, responsible development, and protection of our rural character — beaches, coastal ponds, farms, open space, potable water, and dark skies. Though they cannot speak or vote, the migratory birds, monarchs, resident cows, goats, chickens, and bobcats will give thanks by thriving.

To a person, the CCA candidates will listen to all Charlestown residents and work toward the best solutions for the town. For information, visit

Mary Lou Gentz


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