Eight candidates hope to fill vacant Portsmouth City Council seat
PORTSMOUTH – Eight people have applied to fill the city council seat vacated by Michael Buddemeyer, the top voter in last November’s election who resigned due to job obligations.
According to the city charter, in the event of a vacant council, the remaining council members “will select a qualified voter to fill the vacant position until the next regularly scheduled biennial election.” The eight candidates for the post will be discussed Tuesday evening at the regular council meeting.
Here are the candidates seeking a spot on the panel, listed in alphabetical order:
Cynthia Andreola moved to Portsmouth five years ago with her husband. She is currently employed as the Community Outreach Officer for the Brain Association of Rhode Island. In her application, Andreola said she believes her “communication and outreach skills are particularly relevant for this position. When I deal with the audience I have found that the message can be as critical as the message.
Sondra Blank has been a resident of the city for 15 years who is employed at Raytheon Technologies. In her candidacy, Blank said she was a “proven leader, adept at building strong relationships, listening to everyone involved, and staying even in complicated and stressful situations.”
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Since 2001, Ileen Chernoff has been a faculty member at the University of Phoenix Online School. From 2004 to 2016, she was IT project manager for Apple Rehab. “I think my past work in the corporate and healthcare sectors would be relevant to many of the challenges that city council will face in 2021 and 2022,” Chernoff wrote in his application.
Michael DiPaola is a recently retired civil engineer, former entrepreneur, real estate agent and investor. In his candidacy, DiPaola said he wanted to join the city council with the aim of “correcting corruption in town hall”. Noting that he has successfully won an ACLU lawsuit against the city, DiPaola said he was “not afraid to stand up for what I believe is right”.
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Leonard Katzman has already served three terms on city council, starting in 2004. In 2018, he finished just outside the top seven places in the general election. Katzman is Director of Business Development at Brown University.
“What motivates me and pushes me towards public service,” Katzman wrote in her application, “is that I want every resident, and future generations, to be able to live in the best Portsmouth for themselves and their families.”
Mary McDowell has experience in municipal government as a select member of the City of Granby, Massachusetts Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2016. She has owned property in the city for two decades, but there is for a few years she made Portsmouth her permanent home with her husband.
“I sincerely wish I had the opportunity to get involved in a much larger capacity and I firmly believe that I can make a positive impact,” McDowell wrote in his application.
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Jonathan Mosier is a retired US Navy surface warfare officer and served on the staff of the Naval War College. He also volunteered with the Portsmouth Little League.
“I have a keen interest in helping my adopted hometown embrace its history and heritage while being safe, modern and a great place to raise a family,” Mosier wrote in his application.
Theodore Pietz is a current computer scientist for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport Division. Providing a brief explanation of his interest in the town council post, Pietz wrote in his application: “Maintaining Portsmouth’s character through a fiscal stabilization program for the rehabilitation of historic houses purchased as primary residence, undertaking a comprehensive solution for municipal solid waste and diversion; and the judicious management of the unprecedented one-time APRA funds.