Charbonneau launches write-in campaign for spot on Town Council

Charbonneau launches write-in campaign for spot on Town Council

NORTH SMITHFIELD - Craig A. Charbonneau says he plans to make history in North Smithfield this November.

The 55-year-old Marine Corps veteran has launched a write-in campaign for a seat on the Town Council, and with the limited field of candidates - just five are running for the five open seats - he believes he can overcome the odds and win.

"I'm concerned about my town and it's my turn to give back," Charbonneau told The Breeze this week.

A Central Falls native, Charbonneau made headlines in his teenage years with his athletic achievements, winning the New England Golden Gloves Light Heavyweight Championship at the ripe age of 16.

"I was going to go to the Olympics," he said. "Instead, I joined the Marines."

Charbonneau served in the military for six years and had a top-secret Marine Corps clearance before retiring under disability.

In the mid-1980s, he worked as a political consultant, helping in part to win his father a seat on the Central Falls City Council. Charbonneau made his first run for public office in Central Falls around the same time, but was unable to win his own seat on the board.

Charbonneau also served as marketing director for the Times newspaper in Pawtucket before moving to North Smithfield in 2005, and purchasing a home on Iron Mine Hill Road.

"I picked North Smithfield because it's a great community," he said.

He says he hoped to get involved in local politics several years ago, but tragedy delayed his plans when his 30-year-old son passed away.

"It was 33 months ago," Charbonneau said. "I'm still going through the healing process."

Now, the self-described "hard charger" believes it's time to step forward and serve.

"I don't like the way things are headed in town," Charbonneau said, pointing to the small field of candidates who are running for elected office.

Charbonneau said he's also concerned about the way the town has handled the bond process.

"The bond issues should have been more fine-tuned before they went on the ballot," he said.

In contrast, Charbonneau said he hopes to take a straight-forward and disciplined approach to elected office.

"Once a Marine, always a Marine," he said. "I live my life by a code and I stick to it."

But getting in won't be easy. The declaration period for November's election ended in June and exactly five names will appear on the ballot for the five open seats on the board. Write-in campaigns are notoriously difficult to win, and it could take a lot of campaigning to inspire enough voters to make the extra effort on election day.

The ballot will list incumbent Councilors Kimberly Alves and Paul Zwolenski, along with newcomers Ernest Alter, Robert Paul Boucher and Roseanne Nadeau. In a space below, voters who wish to cast a ballot for Charbonneau must write his name and fill in the corresponding arrow. In Rhode Island, if the head and tail of the arrow are not connected beside the candidate's name, then the vote is not counted. Misspellings, or use of just a last name will typically still be counted as a vote.

The most recent attempt at a write-in campaign in northern Rhode Island took place in 2012, when incumbent Woonsocket District 50 state Rep. Jon Brien lost to Democratic challenger Stephen Casey. Brien had significant name recognition, and had lost the primary by just 52 votes. Still, despite an expensive and aggressive campaign, in the General Election only 30 percent of voters wrote in his name for the contest.

Charbonneau said he believes he has enough support to overcome the obstacles and win a seat on the board.

"This is where we make history," he said.


I'll vote for you! time for fresh/new the idea of someone who, "Lives by a code and sticks to it."

Welcome to the campaign, you have a hard road ahead of you. What makes you decide now, rather than filing your papers in June? Write-In campaigns are so difficult. I wish you luck, as long as it isn't at the expense of my seat ;)
If you'd like to contact me, you can do so at my page (not a plug, Tom.. So don't delete my comment.)

Ms.Nadeau, you already know the answer to that question as it is stated in the release.

How imature of you to put your plug in for your campaign on my official release article. I also read your Facebook post that is circulating around town about the fine residents of the Town of North Smithfield. Shame on you for using such language.

I have also never seen you at a town council meeting so I have to question your motives for running.

No I won't be contacting you but I look forward to seeing you at the debate.

Best of luck to you also.
Stay positive as you now what negativity brings.

Enjoy your day.....

Don't worry Craig, get your name out there and there are many in town that want change....don't let the rest bully you!

Although I am not a resident of North Smithfield I must say the comment left by Ms.Nadeau comes off as condescending. I thoroughly believe what Mr.Charbonneau is doing is courageous and will certainly prove who is truly dedicated to serving their community. I give Craig my full support in his campaign for Town Council and strongly feel that his passion for the greater good of the community will pose a threat to those running for their own benefit.

You have our votes !!! I'll make sure.
Thank you Mr.Charbonneau for your service and sacrifices.

I can't believe the way some people speak to a disabled Marine Corps Veteran.

" Freedom is not Free "

Thank you again for stepping up to the plate to help our town out.

God Bless and " Semper Fi " SIR.

Thank you for your service to our country. It is time to make history and what a better way to do so! You have my full support. It is unfortunate that there has to be any negative comments elicited on such wonderful news! Some fresh new ideas sound exhilarating and are indeed just what this town needs! The very best of luck to you, Craig!

I agree about the comments made by Ms Nadeau being condescending. Thats not a good way to get votes. It looks like your support is growing Craig!

I'm at the Vietnam Vets Conference in Wichita and am so pleased to see a person like you step forward in local elections. You can be assured that Veterans will back you all the way.

Let's chat when I get home.

George Hemond

Craig, this former Navy ops person will write in for you. I look forward to attending the debate (where, when?) to hear about your plans and how we can assert change.
Thanks for your service.

I think this person Nadeau should drop out of the race before they print the ballots and waste North Smithfield Taxpayers money.

What an embarrassment to the residents and veterans of this town and beyond.

If it weren't for Marines like Craig we would all be speaking Russian now.

She owes an apology to Mr. Charbonneau and the whole town !!!

I think this person Nadeau should drop out of the race before they print the ballots and waste North Smithfield Taxpayers money. DON'T BE SILLY, BECAUSE OF A COMMENT ONLINE?



She owes an apology to Mr. Charbonneau and the whole town !!! TO MR CHARBONNEAU? PERHAPS. TO THE TOWN...HARDLY.


I hate typing in caps but there seemed no easy way to separate the thoughts. Anyways, to all the candidates, I wish you luck. To the rest of you commenting...if you wish to be taken seriously by me (I know others feel the same), sign your name to your post. Otherwise, I figure you are trolling and it could be virtually anyone posting silly, nonsense comments.

Good luck all,

Art Bassett

I really don't think anyone cares if someone is taken seriously by you.

You don't run this town, your only on the planning board.

Try to stay away from all caps, you sound angry at 1 am.

Next time use astericks or parentheses.

To veteran (notice not all veterans...weird how I can just speak to you without it meaning all)

Thanks for the insight but I was never confused about running the town. Never once have I mistaken a PB meeting for a TC meeting. As for only on the PB board. How much of your free time do you donate to try and make this town a better place? My bet? Commenting on the VB is it.

And angry at 1am? You betcha. Because trolls like you hide behind a screen name and stir the pot while contributing exactly nothing.

Nevermind, I'm not sure why I'm even replying here. You probably aren't even a real veteran, just took the name here for giggles...maybe not even a taxpayer for all I know. Not real to me without a name either way.

Art Bassett

Wow, I must have missed some news print that wishing someone luck was being condescending. I wish all the candidates luck, I was being sincere in my best wishes and contact info, and I really was not plugging my site. You can have your anonymous keyboard commando's supporting you, calling for me to drop out of the race, having never met or spoken to me. Calling me names, like immature is an oxymoron in and of itself. I was trying to reach out to you, I'm a Marines girl. My father and uncle both proudly served. My father was also an amateur boxer. He recently passed away, and I was hoping I could support you. You seemed to have a few things in common with my father. Obviously I was wrong. Apparently you want a mud slinging race, that is not how I will run my campaign. Thank you Art! I appreciate the support, at least someone gets that I wasn't being condescending and calling me to drop out is ludicrous. The article only states you are submitting a write-in campaign because only 5 of us submitted papers. Meaning you only decided to care because you think no one else does. I have attended Town Council meetings, I also watch them on YouTube if I must miss some due to extenuating family circumstances. My comment you mention, was in support of veterans and those who serve(d) our country, which can not be used against me. So, Mr. Charbonneau I am sincerely sorry my comments were taken in the way they were. I meant no such ill regard to you. However, you and your supporters (who all may actually be you, as no one signed their names) are entitled to their opinions, but don't judge me too quickly. You have no idea who I am, nor what I care about. Crafting letters and comments in type can be difficult as the tone can easily be mis-judged.

Quote - Mr. Charbonneau I am sincerely sorry my comments were taken in the way they were. I meant no such ill regard to you.

Once again, best of luck to you.

Enjoy your evening...