Santucci halts re-election bid

Santucci halts re-election bid

SMITHFIELD – Town Council President Paul Santucci, a Republican-turned-independent, has announced that he is no longer seeking to defend his seat on the council.

Santucci said that due to a family illness, he can’t commit the time necessary to serve on the council or his campaign, and he’ll be stepping aside to commit more time to his family.

“It would be a disservice for me to continue beyond November. I can’t put 110 percent into it,” he said.

Santucci said he feels he has accomplished as much as possible while on the council and said he always tries to make the right decisions. He said he will serve out the remainder of his term, adding that he’s enjoyed the work of being on the council and plans on running again at a later time.

Heading the Republican-majority council in his first year, Santucci said his advice to the new council will be to fight party politics. He said one of his proudest moments serving on the council was working together on a non-political appointment of the town solicitor, Pat Buckley.

“That’s the way it’s always been, but it’s not any way to run a town. I think it polarizes people and issues,” he said of the infighting.

His second proudest accomplishment was personally nominating and having the council approve 16 people to boards and commissions without knowing their party affiliation before the vote.

Though he is not backing an individual candidate, Santucci said he encourages Smithfield residents to do as much research as possible on candidates before voting.

Upon leaving, Santucci said he would like to see Smithfield Water grow its infrastructure on Route 7 and 116 into a sustainable economic zone. Figuring out an equitable method of taxation for all Smithfield residents is the most “thorny issue” to Santucci. He said residents’ knee-jerk reaction to any suggested change to the senior tax freeze prohibits any discussion or solution.

“This is not a political issue, it’s an issue that if left unaddressed will cause a major imbalance in the next 10 years – the corollary being a very ugly end,” he said.

Santucci said Smithfield needs young families in the town and the only way to keep them is to have an equitable tax strategy.