Town Council
Linda Ujifusa
  • Portsmouth Town Council member since 2016.

  • Portsmouth resident since 1993

  • Harvard, BA and NYU, JD.

  • Former U.S. EPA and private sector attorney

  • Founder & Co-chair, RI Healthcare Access & Affordability Partnership

  • Executive Committee - Newport County Rep, RI Democratic Women's Caucus

  • Executive Committee - Our Revolution Rhode Island

  • Past Board Chair, Aquidneck Land Trust

  • Former volunteer: Portsmouth public schools and Open Space Committee.

  • Spouse: J. Mark Ryan; children: John, Katie and Jamie Ryan (PHS grads).

  • Contact: lujifusa@gmail.com  (401) 472-4721

  • Watch a video interview

Why I'm Running

Since being elected to the Town Council in 2016, I have been fortunate to work with Portsmouth's amazing town staff, fellow elected officials and volunteers to undertake new initiatives that have significantly improved how we manage our town and budgets and also have increased transparency.  I hope to continue this work to benefit our community.

 

Some of the tasks accomplished during my tenure include:

  • undertaking a complete and professional analysis of all our town properties

  • creating rolling 5-year capital improvement plans

  • improving Town financial reporting - resulting in multiple accolades 

  • implementing zero-based budgeting that requires all departments to start with a zero budget and annually justify all funding requests

  • adopting a Hazard Mitigation Plan that addresses how to prepare for and respond to natural disasters

  • appointing a Charter Review Committee and putting proposed changes on the Nov. 2020 ballot

  • holding an annual public meeting to determine the Town Administrator’s priorities (see my memo)

  • working with the state to undertake a safety audit of East Main Road and with Portsmouth police to implement more aggressive speed control measures

  • hiring an outstanding Emergency Management Agency Director and winning a $339,000 grant from the RI Infrastructure Bank for required climate change resiliency work – e.g., flooding at an egress from Common Fence Point

  • hiring a full-time Parks & Recreation Director and expanding program offerings

  • fostering a local agricultural business (a brewery)

  • partnering with community groups that provide essential services to all residents, including the library and senior center

  • regulating short-term rentals

  • working with the School Committee and staff to facilitate school safety and capital improvements and vacancy appointment process (see my memo)

  • meeting with state legislators to establish town legislative priorities (see my memo)

 

Although COVID-19 has presented a myriad of ever-changing challenges and requirements, staff have managed them while continuing to focus on helping our most vulnerable citizens - e.g., establishing new procedures for operating town properties,  organizing and running a food bank, helping local businesses, etc.  To learn more, see the COVID-19 Situation Reports at www.portsmouthri.com

Goals

Given the enormous disruptions and stresses caused by COVID-19, the town must continue to act to maintain the health, safety, and general well-being of our community.  A pandemic is not the time to defund our police, fire, DPW, teachers, and other town staff managing this crisis as well as continuing their pre-pandemic work.  Nor is it the time to exacerbate existing problems such as deferred maintenance of public infrastructure.  We must, therefore, continue to pass budgets that keep taxes as low as possible while simultaneously protecting our great schools, public services, infrastructure and properties. 

 

In the upcoming year, I believe our major priorities should include:

  • protecting our public schools

  • improving road safety and creating and implementing a "Green and Complete Streets" ordinance that prioritizes the safety of all users, regardless of mode of transportation or physical ability, and helps protect our environment

  • improving climate change preparedness and resiliency, especially for our most vulnerable areas (i.e., Island Park, Common Fence Point)

  • dealing with town-owned properties suffering from severe deferred maintenance (i.e., the former Coggeshall School and Anne Hutchinson School) within the scope of an open space and recreation master plan

  • creating and implementing an improved solid waste management program

  • improving the Town's management of online services

  • passing an updated Comprehensive Plan and enacting ordinances in support of it and the updated Charter

 

I ask for your vote in 2020 so that I can continue to serve our community.  

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