2018-10-18 / Election News

Middletown Town Council Candidates


Tuesday November 6 2018 Tuesday November 6 2018 To assist Middletown voters in preparing for the upcoming election on Nov. 6, we have provided a short profile of each candidate, asked them to answer two questions, and provide a short Candidate Statement. The Middletown ballot is nonpartisan, after voters approved Question 9 in 2014.

There are nine candidates running for seven open seats on the Town Council, with six candidates seeking re-election.

In the School Committee race, three incumbents are running unopposed for three open seats.

#1) If elected, how will you make Middletown a better town for its residents?

#2) Over the last few years, Middletown has faced an unprecedented amount of development challenges. How do you propose the town should plan ahead for future growth?

Terri Flynn

Terri Flynn Terri Flynn 57, married with 3 children
  • Resident of Middletown 8 years (28 years on Aquidneck Island)
  • Property manager
  • Public offices: Middletown
  • Planning Board March 2017- Present, Conservation Committee
  • Liaison March 2017-Present
  • Uses Table Subcommittee January 2018-Present

#1) I would like to make Middletown a better town for its residents with:

A More Accessible Town Hall:

–Extended hours

–Informal town issue discussion forums

–“How Town Hall Works” information

–Zoning/Planning files online (anytime accessibility)

–Town council agenda flexibility: When residents attend to speak on an item, hear those items first Enforcement:

–Town codes ignored or flexed compromise quality of life and degrade Middletown’s landscape: Short Term Rental Ordinance and Zoning Variances-designed not for personal gain or comfort, but for hardship (definition: severe suffering or privation).

Lawrence Frank Lawrence Frank –Enforce existing ordinances before introducing new ones. -Follow up Boards’ and Commissions’ conditions of approvals.


–Link community with schools: tutors, internships, senior visiting/ classroom reading, guest speakers, enrichment activities, community events.

–Appoint new people to Middletown’s Boards and Committees; create Advisory positions for past volunteers.

–Public Engagement: our great community has talent and expertise in its residents who love this town. I will work to be sure they are heard.

Lawrence Frank

  • 70, married, retired
  • Resident of Middletown 27 years

#1) and #2) There are many issues that are important to residents of Middletown. They are Property Tax Relief, Affordable Housing, Pre K Education and Quality of Life. I talk about all of these in detail online at my web site LawrenceFrankMTC.com.

Paul Rodrigues Paul Rodrigues The burden of property taxes in Middletown is well known. Long time residents, many with limited incomes, face increasing taxes, without any substantial increase in their ability to pay. For Property Tax Relief I propose a homestead exemption for year round homeowners. Narragansett has such a plan that currently that reduces taxes by 10 percent.

Middletown has been a leader in providing full day kindergarten in its public schools. It is now time to take the next step. Pre-K classes beginning at four years old should be the new normal.

Quality of Life You know how it is, sometimes things don’t seem right, and its hard to put your finger on what’s causing your unease. They might be small things, but they add up over time to make your life here not what it was in the past. It has to start with the commitment by the Town Council to put the needs of town residents first.

Henry Lombardi Jr. Henry Lombardi Jr. For Affordable Housing I propose a Housing Authority that will work to use vacant land to build planned communities. There should be affordable housing for the elderly, designed for aging in place. There should be affordable housing for those with limited incomes. There should be affordable market rate housing for those with livable wages.

These proposals require a long term view. It will take time for them to come into their own. Many years ago, Middletown made some thoughtful and farsighted decisions about its finances. The result is a financially strong and vital community. It is that time again, for Middletown to look ahead, to begin new commitments that will benefit it for many years.

M. Theresa Santos M. Theresa Santos CANDIDATE STATEMENT

We can do better. In the last year, the Middletown Town Council passed a so called “tax reform” proposal that would wreck the town finances while providing windfall profits to real estate investors who own property in Middletown. Under the guise of property tax relief for year round home owners, the council never told us that major beneficiaries of this proposal would be businesses, not homeowners. Council members Dennis Turano and Antone Viveiros pushed this plan, and with the support of President Robert Sylvia, hid from us the true nature of this fiscal shell game. There are only two new people running for town council, and by themselves cannot outvote another harmful idea like this. But unlike current council members, we would call out any and all damaging legislation that would come before the council.

Robert Sylvia Robert Sylvia Read my full plan at Lawrence- FrankMTC.com

Paul Rodrigues

  • 55, engaged with one child
  • Resident of Middletown 51 years
  • Sales Manager at O'Reilly Auto Parts
  • Public offices: Middletown Town
  • Council, 1998-2000, 2002-2008; Council President, 2004-2008; 2012-2018

#1) I will make Middletown a better town for its residents through a continued focus on fiscal responsibility and fiscal management. I will only approve budgets that are financially sustainable for our resident’s longevity and I will always consider the taxpayers ability to pay for those budgets. Expenses and unnecessary spending need to be consistently monitored and reduced.

New sources of revenue need constant exploration and creation to help offset the residential tax burden to allow for all Middletowners to remain in their homes. I will provide strong fiscal management to create and maintain a balance of affordability while maintaining quality services and an enjoyable quality of life for all Middletown residents.

Dennis Turano Dennis Turano #2) There needs to be a continued review of Middletown's Comprehensive Plan and zoning ordinances to ensure our quality of life while balancing economic and residential growth. This calculated growth would create jobs, new sources of revenue and help to reduce the residential tax burden. I will only support bringing in businesses that are compatible with Middletown. Small businesses have been and always will be the backbone of every successful and stable economic community. We are in the process of creating a model business improvement district to help market and beautify existing and new businesses.

Antone C. Viveiros Antone C. Viveiros CANDIDATE STATEMENT

In addition, I believe we need a continued focus and improvement on our road infrastructure plan to ensure that our roads get paved and maintained consistently. I am in favor of a pay as you go infrastructure improvement plan that can be leveraged through our existing Capital Improvement Budget without any additional cost to our taxpayers.

I want to ensure that every Middletown child is provided the best possible education. I will ensure that we have a positive forward thinking working relationship with our School Committee and our educators.

Henry Lombardi Jr.

  • 64, married with two children
  • Resident of Middletown 48 years
  • Director of Campus Safety at St. George’s School, retired
  • 20-year Newport Police Officer
  • Public offices: Middletown Town Council, 2014-2018

Barbara VonVillas Barbara VonVillas #1) If re-elected my first priority is to continue the effort to create affordable senior housing. Continued support of the balance between smart development and preserving open space. I feel we must look at ways to make our community affordable for young families to settle and raise their families here. Lastly, to continue to try to hold the line on property taxes.

#2) The challenges to development are two fold, the ability for the towns infrastructure to support it, traffic and public safety as well as protecting open space. I believe one of the hurdles to development may have been partially addressed to allow mixed use residential development. This allows lower impact development and in some cases more attractive design and less traffic impact on our already overtaxed roadways.

It has been four years since I first asked for your vote and I am struck yet once again by how passionate my fellow citizens are about the issues that affect our town. In my first term I strove to consistently be representative of the community at large, whether it is a large group or neighborhood or in support of a single taxpayer when up against a large entity such as National Grid. In my second term I supported clean water, sensible preservation of open space, two years of zero tax increases and striving to find ways to bring affordable housing for our seniors and young families.


It has been the stance of some candidates to focus on one particular issue such as tax reform only taking into account one section of town or their own neighborhood. My platform is built on strong schools, a safe environment for living and play, support for our aging population and most importantly, supporting a town plan that will live on long into the future for generations to come. I thank you for granting me the opportunity to serve and ask for your support in my bid for re-election.

— Henry “Rick” Lombardi

M. Theresa Santos

  • 81, widowed with two children
  • Resident of Middletown 81 years
  • Town of Middletown employee for 28 years and office administrator at St. George's Church for 14 years
  • Public offices: Middletown Town Council, 2000-2010; 2012-2018

#1) We live in a great town. But we have to realize our population is getting older. This Council is again looking at increasing the exemptions for all residents. But there is one thing is missing, affordable senior housing. Many of them are living on social security and a small pension. A committee has been established to convert the Peckham School into senior housing.

#2) We have to keep our present businesses in town and but bring in new ones. And one way of doing all this is to have the Council sit down with our local businesses at least twice year and listen to what they have to say, the good and the bad. We must keep all parties working together in order to grow.

The farms are no longer part of Middletown. With all the development that is going on, it has to be the right development enabling the younger generation find affordable homes. Bring them back home where they grew up and went to school.


The present Council is non-partisan for the first time in the history of Middletown. We may not always agree but we get things done. This is a Council that works together.

I started working for the Town of Middletown as a clerk in the Tax Collection office and the Town Treasurer office. I also worked at Raytheon as a secretary, then was hired again by the Town as clerk in the Finance Department. When the Town Charter was adopted, I was appointed as Deputy Finance Director and finally as Finance Director until 1990.

Robert Sylvia

  • 67, married with two children
  • Resident of Middletown 55 years
  • Retired 22-year Captain of Middletown Police Department, president of Hudson Rock LLC
  • Public offices: Middletown Town Council, 2006-2010 and 2012-2018

#1) The way I plan to make Middletown a better place to live is to stay committed to the best interests of every resident and to continue to be a voice for every resident.

I have always insisted on full transparency and I will continue to support and encourage citizen participation in town activities and governance, sustainable economic development, and well-managed growth. Of utmost importance are our continued and careful financial planning, taking efficient care of our roads, adequate funding for our Schools, Public Safety, and setting aside dedicated funds for future down turns in the economy. I know that a well-managed town can provide adequate funding and can also maintain a high quality of life for its residents, while being conscious of tax-payers ability to pay.

There has not been a tax increase in two-years, yet this council has accomplished more and more with less.

#2) Of the utmost importance, I want to see that we as a community stay focused on our future by constantly looking for ways to strengthen our economy, which will ensure that we continue to maintain the high quality of life that we currently enjoy at an affordable price. We have off set our declining population and loss of farms and working lands by building on our local assets, while we have maintained our distinctive rural character.

I will continue to advocate for a disciplined smart growth strategy in-line with our Comprehensive Plan where development should or should not go has encouraged growth in town, which sees local businesses thriving again, protecting the our rural landscape, preserving our open space, protecting our air and water quality, while providing additional places for recreation, and has created a tourist attraction that has brought investments opportunities into our local economy.


After the founding of our Town, 275 years ago, the world has never needed every resident’s commitment more than it does today.

I constantly reflect on the oath I took and the solemn vow I made to do my share to make my chapter in our Town’s history, an ideal chapter and to lead and serve others for the betterment of a community that I truly believe has no equal.

We need to rededicate ourselves to the ideals and values of our founders and to what their vision was. I accepted this challenge when I first ran for public service twelve year ago, as did my wife who has supported me the entire time. It’s a challenge I accepted, not just for myself or for our family, but for a world that needs the kind of servant leaders that our founders were.

Please consider me on Election Day — Robert J. Sylvia

Dennis Turano

  • 55, married with two children
  • Resident of Middletown 45 years
  • Partner/Owner of Maximum Computer Solutions, Inc.
  • Public offices: Middletown Town Council 2016-2018

#1) First, I would like to thank the residents of Middletown for electing me in 2016 to serve my first term on the Middletown Town Council. I can’t believe two years have gone by and we are back in campaign mode. I am running for a second term because “Our Work Is Not Done” in Middletown.

I am running for Middletown Town Council to continue to represent the residents of Middletown to first; balance the town budget. In 2017 – 2018 we balanced the budget, with zero percent tax increase needed. And secondly, make the tax burden / levy more predictable, equitable, and feasible. But, overall to provide a quality of life and living experience that all Middletown residents deserve.

Again, I want to thank the residents of Middletown for the trust they have put in me and I am asking you to vote for me again on Nov. 6 and allow me to give back to the community and continue representing the people of Middletown. I have two children that graduated from Middletown High School. I’m a 1981 graduate from Middletown High School, a 1985 graduate of the University of RI, and I have over 30 years of worldwide business experience in technology and business process re-engineering. I am very passionate about Middletown and the Turano family has been in Middletown for four generations. Our Work Is Not Done!

#2) • Focus on our aging population and veterans (exemptions / homestead).

• Create affordable housing for seniors and young families.

• Help keep our land, oceans, and our drinking water clean! Give a hoot!

• Create a competitive, rewarding, and growth-oriented business environment.

• Provide a quality of life and living experience that all Middletown residents deserve.


Our Work Is Not Done. I want to ask the residents of Middletown to re-elect me to the Middletown Town Council. I have served on many committees and feel that there is still a lot of work to be done.

I have served on the 2017 – 2018 Town Budget Committee, the Tax Exploration Committee, Senior Housing Committee, Elderly & Veteran Exemption Committee, and the Middletown Economic Development Advisory Committee. I have also served as the town council representative on the Charter Review Committee and the Middletown Beach Committee.

I feel that the current Town Council has worked hard, and we have made many good things happen over the past two years. I am running again in hopes to get re-elected so I can continue working on what we have started. I want to continue to bring transparency to how the town is run, predictability in our future, and continue to keep Middletown a wonderful, affordable, and longterm place to live.

Antone C. Viveiros

  • 75, married with two children
  • Resident of Middletown 23 years
  • Retired
  • Public offices: Middletown Town Council, 2010-2012; 2014-2018

#1) Continue to govern in the future as in the past. By doing my research, and making my decisions in the best interest of all the people of Middletown and the town as a whole, to protect their quality of life.

I will continue to govern as a business, and consider our residents as share holders, as was done in contract and budgets negotiations in the past. By doing my research, and making my decisions in the best interest of all the people of Middletown and the town as a whole.

To normalize the residential / commercial property tax methodology by presenting recommendations to adjust the tax methodology to set property assessment increases annually by the CPI, with a cap of two percent (2%), to make it more fair, predictable, and transparent. Continue to work with Administration, Boards and Committee members, and others to preserve your quality of your life and the town’s history. To continue to giving the people a bigger say in their government, and to address the people’s concerns and views. To govern with ethics and compassion for all

#2) Middletown's infrastructure simply cannot accommodate the astronomical number of additional residents or temporary seasonal visitors the developers buying the farmlands seem to be preparing for. This pending scenario will demand an increase of business/entertainment (& more Town services), scarring the landscape and the Town will lose its appeal to all.

As I have said in the past, the biggest obstacle the town faces is the State with its high taxes and over burdening regulations that is straggling businesses. We must get a handle on spending; we are becoming over extended. We are once again lease-purchasing equipment. The town leases to buy equipment because it does not have the money to buy it outright. Then at the end of the lease, the town owns it.

Barbara VonVillas

  • 78, with four children
  • Resident of Middletown 65 years
  • Educator for 47 years
  • Public offices: Middletown School Committee 1990-1996; Middletown Town Council, 2008-2018

#1) Over the years, I have watched the Town’s adjustments to the reduction of the local naval presence here as well as to the natural cycles of economic distress and recovery. More than ever before, facing an anticipated decline in population, we need to regard the Town as a single entity rather than as the sum of its parts and promote action that brings us together rather than divides us.

We are a municipality, but we need to come together as a community that cares equally about all of its citizens. If that means we need to make some difficult decisions, we should choose what is best for the Town as a whole, not just react to individual centers of common interest.

#2) In regard to development, we need to understand that change is inevitable. The biggest challenges for Middletown are related to its position on Aquidneck Island, which makes it a pass-through rather than a destination. We need to change that perception through attractive development not only on the east side but also on the west side of town.

We also need to address our housing issues, which go beyond concerns for the oldest among us. Just as important are the younger people who do not have the same opportunities that former generations have had to buy starter homes and grow with the community. As a town, we now tend to be content with the status quo. Our parents always looked towards the future, to what they would leave behind for their children. Middletown could benefit from regaining that perspective.


I have served the Town of Middletown in various capacities for 47 years as an educator and as a public servant. If I am re-elected, I will continue to serve as before by offering the voice of reason rather than emotion to promote logical decisions that benefit the town as a whole. Good management requires strategic planning and keeping the end goals in mind. As before, I will speak only when I have questions that will simplify the subject at hand or when I have something of value to add to the discussion.

Polls Open 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. On Tuesday, Nov. 6

Voting Locations

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge
Joseph H. Gaudet School
Aquidneck School
Middletown High School
Forest Avenue School

To check your polling location, call the canvassing office 849-5540 or 847-0009

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