NORTH SMITHFIELD – A political newcomer who says he hopes to bring a fresh perspective to issues such as solar development, community spaces, education, and public safety has announced his candidacy for the North Smithfield Town Council
Christopher Simpkins, a Mattity Road resident and software developer, announced his candidacy this week, noting that he moved to North Smithfield in 2015 for the small town, rural atmosphere and top-tier public school system.
A leader for Cub Scouts Pack 7 Slatersville, baseball coach, and a volunteer at a number of nearby theaters, Simpkins said he and his family, including wife Deirdre and two sons, “quickly fell in love with the strong sense of community in the area.”
And he sees his relative inexperience in local government involvement as a distinct advantage.
“I’m running to represent the average person who hasn’t spent years entrenched in local politics,” Simpkins said. “People are frustrated by what they see and they often feel shut out of the process. I want to encourage more open dialogue, not only for the voters but among the various boards in town. We need more transparent, collaborative, and proactive discussions about issues.“
Simpkins said his 20 years as a software developer has prepared him to approach the town’s issues in a methodical way.
“It’s easy to point out shortcomings, but it’s much harder to work towards solutions,” Simpkins said. “I’ve spent my career bringing different personalities together to work through problems in creative ways. Our town needs new faces, new ideas, and new energy.“
Simpkins says he’s been disappointed by a number of recent decisions, and is disturbed by the way voices have been shut down or made to feel unwelcome.
“Our town is full of passionate volunteers and residents at all levels,” he said. “These are people dedicating their time and energy to making our town a better place.”
“Even when we don’t agree, we need to welcome these voices and listen, respectfully, and consider what they’re saying,” Simpkins added. “Ultimately, we need to do what’s best for the town, and having open, accessible discussion is an important part of figuring that out.”
Simpkins said he knows that there is a lot of hard work ahead, for himself and the town.
“This is new to me,” he said. “I’m not one for putting myself out there, but we need new people to step up – and I’m willing to do that.”
“I don’t have all the answers, but I promise that I’ll work hard in good faith to do what’s right,” Simpkins added. “I’ve spent the last five years improving our community through local organizations, and I’m excited about the idea of having an impact at a different level.”
NRI NOW is offering all local candidates the opportunity to discuss their background and platform. Those interest should send biographic information and a headshot to email@example.com. To see information on those who have already announced their platforms, visit the “politics” tab above.