Barr, Paolino join the fray for TA

Barr, Paolino join the fray for TA

Democrat John Barr II, left, and Republican Thomas Paolino.

LINCOLN – The two candidates in last year’s November election for Senate District 17 have added their names to the mix for Lincoln town administrator, with winning candidate and Republican Thomas Paolino and Democrat John Barr II both announcing over the past week that they intend to run.

Paolino and Barr bring the total number of candidates to announce for the seat to five, including independents Philip Gould and John Picozzi and Republican John Cullen, all seeking to replace the departed Joe Almond.

Paolino, in a Facebook video Monday morning, said he’s proud to announce his candidacy.

“I have worked hard on behalf of the residents of Lincoln in the Rhode Island General Assembly, and I will bring that same energy to Lincoln’s municipal government,” he said.

In announcing his intent to run last week, Barr said he’s always believed Lincoln to be a great place to live and raise a family, but said the town is currently at a crossroads and in need of “new, energetic and bold leadership.”

“I’m a person who means what he says and says what he means,” Barr said in a release. “I believe in honesty, integrity and straight talk. As Lincoln’s new town administrator, you deserve to know where I stand on every issue.”

To that end, Barr promised first and foremost that he would not raise taxes.

“As a successful businessman, I have learned that for a business to be successful it must plan properly and live within its budget,” he said, committing to working to expand the tax base by increasing Lincoln’s share of gaming revenue money from Twin River Casino.

Barr ran against Paolino in last November’s election, falling well short of his opponent, with 6,512 votes to Paolino’s 9,460 votes. In the Lincoln portion of the district, Paolino’s percentages were similar, earning 6,453 votes to Barr’s 4,484 votes.

Paolino, first elected senator in 2016, is a home care liaison and recruitment director for Lifetime Medical Support Services and a fitness instructor at MacColl YMCA. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Dean College.

Barr served as a state representative from 1990 to 1994 and from 1996 to 2002. He is the owner of LeadSafe Inspections and Consulting Inc. and Bedbug Extermination R.I.

If elected, Barr promised to bring “new, clean businesses to town,” and to work with the School Committee “to maintain our town’s excellence in education.”

Paolino said it will be important for the next town administrator to continue to work with state legislators to secure Lincoln’s portion of federal funding.

“My priority will be to use these funds and all revenues positively and responsibly while keeping our taxes low,” he said.

Paolino said he has been a strong advocate for Lincoln, working to ensure increased in ducation funding, state aid for LHS construction, and host community contributions from Twin River.

"These efforts have all led to keeping Lincoln property taxes down," he said.

As a member of Senate Finance, he said, he has studied and made recommendations for both our local and state budgets.

“We helped lower taxes for constituents with the car tax phaseout, secured state funding for the new Lincoln High School, which resulted in an additional $8.4 million, and I worked to include the renovation of the Blackstone Valley bike path and the passage of the green economy bond,” he said.

Barr said Lincoln’s Police Department needs additional officers, that a traffic division should be created to enhance safety, and that an additional rescue should be added in Lime Rock.

He also called for a forensic audit of the Lincoln High School renovation project.

Barr said he would fight over-development and work to acquire more open space, protecting “the rural and historical character of the town and formalizing and expanding Lincoln’s beautification plan.”

Paolino said his priorities will include preserving open space and keeping Lincoln “clean and pristine.” This will be accomplished, he said, by working with the cleanup crews that have been serving the town over the last few years.

“We will assist them with town personnel, financing and other resources to bring Lincoln to one of the top 10 towns in Rhode Island for clean, scenic visitation,” he said.

At the local level, Paolino said he wishes to continue the "good government and steady management" of the town, adding, “I want to thank Joe Almond for his commitment and leadership to the town of Lincoln for the past 15 years."

He said his priorities will be to oversee the T

Barr said Lincoln’s carbon footprint can be reduced by installing solar panels on town property and hydroelectric at town dams. He said he will formulate emergency evacuation and shelter plans with a notification system, and will develop short-term and long-term maintenance plans for all town buildings and infrastructure.

Barr said he would leverage his relationships with state leaders to obtain grant funding for Lincoln.

“My administration will specialize in constituent services,” he said. “My administration’s motto will be, “How can we help you?”

He said he would leave “all Almond-appointed department heads in place,” adding that “institutional knowledge and experience is of great value.”

Overall, Barr said the administrator election “shouldn’t be a popularity contest,” but rather a selection of “the most qualified and best-suited” candidate to run the town.

“I believe my 30 years of business experience, my 10 years of legislative experience and my 20 years of public safety experience make me uniquely qualified to be Lincoln’s next town administrator,” he said.

All candidates in the special election to replace Almond must pull papers to declare their intent to run by June 25.

Nomination papers are back to the Board of Canvassers by July 6 at 4 p.m., and the deadline to withdraw from the race is July 7. Early in-person voting for the Aug. 3 primary opens up in mid-July. Following the primary, the general election has been scheduled for Sept. 7.


So we have a chance of having a Town Administrator who wins with 22% of the vote. On an off year and off schedule election.
So what are we guessing, 4,000 voters come out? Our next TA can win with 840 votes in a town of over 22,000. Yikes!

You can't blame the process for the amount of people that turn out to vote. Also, for what it's worth, of the approximately 22,000 residents, approximately 25% aren't old enough to vote (approximately 5,500).

Only about 150-200 show up to vote on the town budget at the Financial Town meeting. Let that sink in.

There is nothing wrong with having many candidates in a race. In fact, it’s a good sign because it shows that there is an internet in civic engagement. Unfortunately, our current election system allows someone to win an election with a small plurality of the vote. This election is a perfect example of why Rank Choice Voting is so important for the state of RI to enact. Rather than voting for just one candidate, you list candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gets 50% of the vote, then the lowest scoring candidate is eliminated and their votes are redistributed based on their second choice. This continues until one candidate has 50% of the vote. This ensures the candidate with the broadest appeal will perform the best AND voters don’t need to be mini-pundits, voting for a candidate they only somewhat like but has the best chances of winning. You can rank your favorite candidate first whether it’s an independent, main-party or third-party, even if they have little to no chance of winning, and then rank your next favorite candidates next. This all but guarantees voters can influence the outcome of an election no matter who they support. I highly encourage everyone to look a little bit more into Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) as I cannot do it justice in such a short comment.

While I agree that Rank Choice Voting is a great concept, a quick note. I stood in line to vote a few years ago when Buddy was running for Mayor of Providence. A woman in front of me was very upset that Buddy was not listed on her ballot. I WAS IN LINCOLN. You want people to rank five candidates? I'd like them to at least know one of them before they go in to vote.

Five very different candidates . It would be interesting if the Valley Breeze would sponsor a debate

Do these candidates have campaign websites? Those of us who are not on Facebook would like to know where to go to learn about each candidate.

Valley breeze debate these men live online town hall style

Valley Breeze we need a 2 hour debate please. High School auditorium would be great.

This election is too important. There are too many issues that need to be discussed. I can help in anyway, even moderate if you need someone.

Thanks for considering.

I am not a Lincoln resident but admire the community from afar (not too far) ~ I liked Almond and his leadership ~ if you are a Lincoln voter and your liked Almond, you should vote vote for Paolino. He will likely follow the same conservative, common sense path...

Paolino is nice guy but highly uneducated for this position

LOL LEAHY moderate a debate ? Laugh out loud


My hope is more people will vote in the next election and take the time to learn about all of our candidates for Town Administrator! Lincoln is a great place to live and even according to the Boston Globe, “Lincoln is widely considered one of the most well-run communities in Rhode Island. Twin River casino has expanded and the town has seen a spike in commercial projects. The town’s school system remains strong and tax rates have remained competitive with other suburban communities.” If you are of voting age please go vote to make sure our town continues to run smoothly and improve! We want our next Town Administrator to continue to work well with the community, Town Council, Budget Board, School Committee, other elected officials, and the businesses in our area. I am very excited to hear the new ideas these candidates have to make our town even better to live in! I read Mr. Almond pushed for the edition on our library, doubling the size of our Police Station, the new senior center, renovation of our animal shelter, and making sure our parks and playgrounds were updated!

It is unprecedented for Lincoln to have 5 candidates for Administrator. They are all good people, but have their pros and cons for sure.

John Barr is a good man. Squarely in the D column so he should attract a good portion of the far-left to moderate loyalist Democrat base. Too left for me, personally.

Tom Paolino is a good guy, but young. My understanding is he is still living with his parents. I lived with my parents until my mid-late 20s, so not a big deal, but hey, I wasn't trying to finance a town before I was financing a home. I think Tom should stay where he is, as one of 6 Republicans in the RI Senate. Afterall, he did just ask us to elect him for that. Again, good guy with a bright future.

I am told Phil Gould is a good man. He is certainly versed in law enforcement and public safety, and has served our community well as a cop. Personally, I think he should stay a cop considering the current shortages of good talent in that profession. Besides, there doesn't appear to any real issues besides public safety, and making political allies, that he is willing to fight for. I am not convinced Lincoln government will have any sort of checks and balances under his watch with much of his support coming from those who work for the local government and the unions. Taxes most certainly would go up.

John Cullen is a little rough on the edges, but you have to admire and respect a man who has been politically ostracized by the Lincoln establishment over the years for standing up to them. I think he designated 40 acres of his land as open space. We should be thanking him. Personally, I like John and would love to see him bring some oversight to the Town Council and the budget and school boards. No one else seems to have the guts. I would place him in the taxpayers court, easily, as he has relentlessly fought on our behalf with his demands for tax cuts and accountability. The Breeze didn't cover it, but he has been the lonely wolf fighting to get a better deal for Lincoln, at the state and local level, in the Twin River renegotiation.

Finally, I never met John Picozzi but I admire him. He, like John Cullen, isn't the type that goes along to get along with the political in-crowd. As a member of the school committee, he fought for accountability for the high school 60 million dollar fiasco. He has guts too.

Good luck to all, and may the best person win!

All good candidates but…. Paolino lives with his parents, Gould will raise taxes, and Barr is a Democrat so vote for Cullen or Picozzi.

So maybe Paolino does live at home, so what? Maybe he did not inherit hundreds of acres of land that just sold for millions of dollars. Cullen who inherited all of that land is now a multi-millionaire but we should be thanking him for his generosity? Ok, so where are your accolades for Paolino and Gould? I have seen multiple posts with both out doing trash pickups with the Lincoln Clean up crew on FB in recent weeks. Is that worth mentioning? Or does that kind of volunteer service not count? I also remember a huge clothing drive for the Manville Fire victims that Gould helped organize and I believe Paolino helped at. Not good enough to be applauded? I actually respect those individuals who don’t mind going out and doing some hard work and putting in sweat equity for our town.

Regarding your dig at Gould for raising taxes because town employees and unions support him, it was your candidate Picozzi who was reaching out to the unions in town for support even prior to even announcing as a candidate. Please feel free to fact check that one. As far as Picozzi not going along with the “political in crowd”, I would like someone who can be levelheaded and treat people with respect. I think everyone is familiar with the school committee meeting heard around the world, or at least here in Lincoln (April 12th). Bully tactics have no place in our town.
Mr. Leahy, have you considered that most of the people in the town are happy with the way things are here? There is always room for some improvement, but I love it here and I am hoping that we can get someone that can keep the train on the tracks. Why do you suppose Almond was in office for as long as he was? People are happy here in Lincoln. Look at your tax rate, municipal services, and property value compared to other communities. We don’t need someone to come in and try and turn the town upside down. For you to write “all good candidates” and then take your cheap shots at everyone but Cullen and Picozzi is pretty telling. I am not sure who I am voting for just yet, but I can tell you who I am not voting for.

Hello Readers,
The word should be addition not edition.