Azar, Leahy seek District 4 Council seat

Azar, Leahy seek District 4 Council seat

District 4 Town Councilor Pamela Azar, left, and her opponent political newcomer Robert Leahy Jr., a Republican.

LINCOLN – Facing an opponent in the general election for the first time next month, District 4 Town Councilor Pamela Azar said she’s hoping for the opportunity to continue her work on Lincoln’s Town Council.

“I really love the job,” said the Democrat. “To me, it’s fun because I enjoy helping people. I’ve been on the council for about a year and three quarters now, and I’ve learned a lot about how the town runs and where to bring different issues. I really hope people like what I’ve done so far, and I’d love the opportunity to continue the work.”

Her opponent is political newcomer Robert Leahy Jr., a Republican, who says he’s “worried about keeping Lincoln the place I love.”

“I’m worried about over-development. I’m worried about what’s going on in this country right now, even in Woonsocket, where far-left, sometimes socialist people take over the Town Council and do some serious damage, dividing people up,” he said. “I don’t want to see that come to Lincoln.”

Azar countered that the Lincoln Town Council “does everything in a non-partisan way.”

“Serving on the local level, you tend to forget about the politics. It’s all about coming together as a council to do what’s best for the town. It really has nothing to do with party affiliation,” she said.

Leahy said he believes Azar to be “too far left” based on “some of her associations,” including with Congressman David Cicilline, who campaigned with her last weekend.

“I think she embraces David Cicilline, I find him repulsive and partisan, constantly dividing his constituency. I’m on his mailing list and I’ve never seen a guy lie and mislead people so much,” he said.

On being considered too progressive, Azar said she's voted Republican in the past, and said she considers herself to be “an independent democratic thinker.”

“When it comes to my being on the council, there’s no infighting. We don’t see it as red and blue, we see the town of Lincoln as one piece,” she continued. “We all get along. You can’t get anything done if you argue.”

“And, when you think about it, how can you get anything done if you aren’t willing to extend an olive branch to the state representatives, no matter what party they belong to? If our congressional delegation was Republican and I’m a Democrat, I would still respect them enough to ask for their help,” she added. “To hate someone on the basis of politics is ridiculous. Hate is not in my vocabulary, it’s just a wasted emotion.”

In addition to her associations, Leahy said he also takes issue with Azar’s first-term performance.

“I’ve been hearing from the residents in Lincoln that she’s not very responsive,” he said, adding that while knocking doors in Quinnville, “I walked into a hornet’s nest that I didn’t expect of angry residents saying Pam wasn’t responsive when National Grid tore a checkered mess in the road there.”

He added, “I have a different approach. My approach is to get out there and meet people face to face. I’m absolutely committed to, and looking forward to, taking people’s calls and hearing their concerns.”

Azar said accusations about her not being responsive are false.

“I’ve returned every phone call I’ve ever gotten,” she said. “The same month I was elected, I was called by people in Quinnville about unfinished work by National Grid. I got in touch with the town engineer immediately and we worked together to fix it.”

She added, “If someone fell through the cracks, I’m not perfect, I’m only human, but I don’t recall anyone I didn’t get back to."

On the issues, both candidates agreed that fixing Lincoln’s roads and enhancing safety are among their top goals.

“Some of Lincoln’s road issues have existed for decades. School Street may be a state road, but I believe it’s the responsibility of the Town Council to reset those priorities and make sure the roads most in-need of repair receive the attention they deserve,” Leahy said.

Azar said she recently completed a national traffic-calming course, and has teamed up with the Lincoln Police Department to “come up with ideas that fit Lincoln” to help cut down on speeding.

She also spoke about pavement issues on School Street, saying improvements need to be pushed. “I’m going to get it done,” she said.

Both candidates also expressed concerns with “over-development” in Lincoln, promising to fight to preserve open space and historic properties in town.

If elected, Leahy said he would ensure that the Town Council does not make decisions based on “political correctness, instead doing things that make sense for our town.”

“It’s very important to listen to, understand and have civil discourse with people. If Lincoln politics trends the way Woonsocket and other places have, it becomes very partisan, and I’m trying to safeguard against that,” he said. “I want to preserve the peace, safety and wellbeing of Lincoln residents.”

Asked why he has earned the vote, Leahy said he would be the voice of his constituents.

“No matter the party, I will try to resolve any concerns you have and work with you to ensure a solution. I’ll do whatever it takes to be responsive and meet the needs of the people.”

Azar said she’s proud of the work she’s done in her first term on the council, including fighting to re-open the Albion Post Office and advocating for Lincoln’s historic properties.

“Getting elected made me so happy, and it still does, because I love helping people,” she said. “It’s my passion serving my community, and I respectfully ask that the people of Lincoln give me additional time to prove myself and to work on behalf of the people of District 4.”

Comments

It is not "hate" to hold public officials accountable for their behavior. Cicilline peddles victimology to stir up resentment and division for political gain. Using the term "hate" to describe my concern with that destructive tactic illustrates how the far left employs cancel culture to cancel out those who have a different approach or opinion.