Mike Kiernan wants to make sure East Greenwich can remain “home” for the people who’ve lived here all their lives. That’s why he’s running for a third term on the Town Council, he said in response to a candidate questionnaire emailed to all council candidates.
“I want to try to help the people who love this town as much as I do be able to stay here,” he said. I want to help create an environment that understands that our community is as great as it is because of the work and care of the people who have been here for many years.”
He said taxes are a big issue for people in East Greenwich. “The powers . . . that fight for every last dime for school programs seem to disregard our neighbors who don’t have kids in our schools. A $600 hike in property taxes may not seem like much to many, but as it has been told to me by many of my neighbors, "That’s Christmas."
Kiernan said it comes down to spending on schools. “We want the very best for our kids but I believe that we need to look closer at tax increases that primarily go towards the school side of the budget.”
He doesn’t mince words about the referendum on the ballot asking if the Fire District should be merged with the town. “I think this idea is politics at its worst. There has been a comprehensive study that has shown unequivocally that the taxpayers would not save a dime if the entities are merged. Further, if they were merged, our existing firefighters would not be guaranteed their jobs after the merger. I think that is unacceptable.”
Kiernan doesn’t think the town side of government should be reduced any further. Instead, he thinks any future cuts need to come from the schools side. “Any reductions have to start with the schools, whose budgets have been increased every year since I have been on the Council,” he said.
In the relationship between the town and New England Tech, Kiernan gives a shout out to Council President Michael Isaacs in forging that relationship. Going forward, he said, “We need to . . . keep this relationship and . . . reap the benefits we negotiated for several years ago. Meaning, use of the fields they anticipate building and the library and technical services they have promised in our agreement.”
When it comes to engaging residents in the workings of government, Kiernan said, “People have to get engaged on their own and I encourage them to do so. It makes my job a lot easier when I hear from my neighbors about what they want or don’t want done in our managing of our Town.”
When asked why residents should vote for him, Kiernan said,
“Because I care about the woman who calls me to say that she can’t buy Christmas gifts for her grandchildren because her taxes went up $600 last year. Because I care about the family on Duke Street who complains about the noise on the water in the summer. Because I understand the impact of bringing the chief of police together with our neighbors to solve noise problems with businesses, churches and other neighbors. Because I refuse to vote for million dollar renovations to the high school library that students can’t use. Because I refuse to vote for a three plus million dollar construction project at Meadowbrook Farms School that offers no guarantees of any solutions. Because I care about the London Bridge School. I have lived here for most of my life and I refuse to allow this town to be taken over by outsiders. I may lose every vote 4-1, but I won’t go down without a fight.”
Mike Kiernan is one of six people seeking a term on the five-person Town Council. East Greenwich Patch is publishing responses to questionnaires from all the candidates this week. To read Mike Kiernan's full questionnaire responses, click here.
You can read about candidates Jean Ann Guliano here, Jeff Cianciolo here, Michael Isaacs here, Mark Gee here, and Brad Bishop here.