NORTH SMITHFIELD – A former lieutenant for the Rhode Island State Police and former president of the North Smithfield Town Council has announced that he hopes to return to the board in 2020.
John Beauregard announced his run for the Town Council this week, citing achievements during his previous tenure, and commitment to public service in the years since.
Beauregard, who moved to North Smithfield in 1994, said that he and his wife fell in love with the town, and decided to stay and raise their family.
“After serving 25 years on the state police and retiring at the rank of lieutenant, I decided to become more involved in our community,” Beauregard said.
Beauregard ran for public office for the first time in 2016 and won a seat on the council.
“Although I did not seek the position I was elected as Town Council president,” he said.
As president of the council, Beauregard said he focused on bringing business into town to keep the residential tax rate down.
“We were successful in bringing in an additional $260,000 in annual revenue, or $6 million over the next twenty years, to support our tax base and to fund open space without creating another burden on the taxpayers,” Beauregard said.
As president, Beauregard noted that he always gave people the opportunity to speak.
“I changed the council rules and put open forum on the agenda at every council meeting, so people could be heard and not just once a month like it had been for years,” he said. “I also advocated for open space and helped negotiate a deal to purchase the Gold Forest.”
“Unfortunately, when I left the council in 2018, the deal fell through,” Beauregard added.
“For the first time in many years, the Town Council, town administrator, and School Committee worked together as partners in making the town a better place,” he said of his tenure. “I firmly believe this is how we move forward by working together to do great things for North Smithfield.”
Although not on the council for the past two years, Beauregard notes that he has been very active in the community, serving on the building committee that just completed renovation of Kendall Dean School into a new Town Hall. He also served on the Parks and Recreation Committee as well as the Veterans Memorial Stadium Committee, and was co-chair of the North Smithfield Days Committee.
“Last year, North Smithfield Days Committee organized four exciting days of events and activities for our town,” Beauregard said. “At the request of Administrator Ezovski, I was appointed on the Chief of Police Selection Committee and helped chose our new Police Chief.”
Beauregard noted that he also organized the town’s July fireworks two years in a row, an event attended by more than 1,000 people in 2019 that included entertainment and food trucks. More recently, the former councilor worked with North Smithfield High School Principal Timothy McGee to organize the fireworks at the end of the Class of 2020 graduation ceremony.
“If I am elected, I will focus on bringing business to town with as little impact on our rural character as possible,” he said. “Expanding commercial property is how we keep our taxes low by encouraging new forms of revenue and thinking outside the box.”
Beauregard noted that open space has also always been a top priority, and he aims to find ways for the town to purchase land without placing more of a burden on taxpayers.
“I intend to continue with the vision Administrator Ezovski started by creating capital budgets and not bonding,” he said. “Long term capital budgets can alleviate future bonding.”
Beauregard said he hopes to see the town commit money each year to repaving roads, and not take out bonds.
He said town government can quickly and inexpensively convert the gymnasium at Halliwell School into a community/senior center while the council figures out what to do with the rest of the property.
“It should not sit empty, as empty buildings fall into disrepair,” Beauregard said.
“I will work with our School Committee and a new administrator as a team with common goals,” he added. “Even when we disagree, we can agree to respect one another.”
“I understand that our schools are not a burden to our town but one of our greatest assets,” Beauregard said. “The quality of our schools is directly related to the quality of our town and the value of our property.”
He said that he supports the idea of body cameras for town officers.
“Not only do body cameras hold police officers accountable for their actions, but they also can and very often protect an officer,” he said. “Body cameras are a win for the community and the police.”
“Many friends asked why I would ever want to get back into politics,” Beauregard said. “My answer to them is that I love this town and we can’t change things for the better by sitting on the sidelines.”
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