Melania Trump Club

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mayor of Newport

Jeanne (Kemp) Napolitano was born and raised and attended private schools in Washington, D.C. She came to Newport in 1968 to marry her husband, Jack. They have four children, three sons and a daughter, who are graduates of the Newport School System. While raising her family, Jeanne worked in the insurance industry in a variety of capacities that included service as Executive Director of the Rhode Island Life Underwriters.
Jeanne entered politics in 1991 when she successfully ran to represent the 1st Ward on the Newport City Council. Following an unsuccessful campaign for an at-large City Council seat in 1993, she continued her community involvement by serving as a member of the board of New Visions of Newport County (NVNC).

She was elected Chair of the board of NVNC in 1996 and served in that role until she reelected to the City Council in 1999. Service with New Visions provided Jeanne the opportunity to invest in and support a broad spectrum of community activities that engaged her interest in the cultural diversity of Newport's neighborhoods.

New Vision maintained a local Health Center and established a dental facility during her term. Jeanne was also instrumental in fostering many changes at New Visions during that time that culminated in the eventual merger of New Visions with East Bay Community Action Program (EBCAP) in 2000. EBCAP continues to provide housing, daycare, and health care services to families in need in Newport.

While chairwomen of New Visions, Jeanne also worked on the rehabilitation of low income housing in the North End of Newport, building on and leveraging the knowledge and experience that she had acquired from her years on the city council to bring about needed change that has resulted in dramatic improvements to that neighborhood and the lives of Newport residents who live there.

Jeanne ran successfully as an at-large candidate for the Newport City Council in 1999, and was reelected in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2008. Following her return to the council in 2000, she was appointed to the board of the Newport County Convention and Visitors Bureau (NCCVB) as the council's representative and served in that role for seven years.

In 2004 she was elected to be the NCCVB board chairwoman and served in that capacity until 2007. Just as service with New Visions had provided an opportunity to learn about various aspects of Newport's diverse community and to work to provide help and to improve the lives of people in need, Jeanne's service on the NCCVB provided an opportunity to learn first hand about the important role that the tourism and hospitality industries play in current and future economic life of Newport.

She has worked hard to inform the community of the impact and value of the tourism's contributions to the cultural vitality of Newport, and has concurrently worked to ensure that the interests and concerns of Newport's residents were considered in achieving an appropriately balance between their values and business interests.

Jeanne also served as City Council liaison with the U.S. Navy between 2000 and 2007. She has worked to ensure that the many contributions made by military, their personnel and their families are fully recognized. These include the economic impact, professional expertise, community integration on many levels and in many areas, and the participation in our neighborhoods, schools and churches by military families who have chosen to live and raise their children in Newport.

Jeanne has also played an in important role in fostering our relationships with our Sister Cities, most notably our relationship with Shimoda, Japan, where she has visited as a City Council representative on six occasions. She has been an active member and officer of the Japan-America Society of Rhode Island and in that capacity has worked to ensure the success of our annual Black Ship's Festival.

Following Jeanne's re-election in 2008, in which she received votes from 59 percent of the electorate votes, she was chosen by her City Council peers to serve as their chairwoman and Mayor of Newport.

Jeanne was re-elected as Councilor-at-Large in 2010 and 2012. She is committed to working with all residents of the City in addressing challenges and working to protect and preserve the assets and resources we have to ensure that Newport's future is bright and strong. 

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