Meet the 8 hopefuls looking to fill the vacant Portsmouth Town Council seat –

PORTSMOUTH — Eight people applied to fill the seat on the Town Council vacated by Michael Buddemeyer, the top vote-getter in last November’s election who stepped down because of employment obligations.
According to the town charter, if a council vacancy occurs, the remaining members of the council “shall select a qualified elector to fill the vacancy until the next regularly scheduled biennial election.” The eight candidates for the job will be discussed Tuesday night during the council’s regularly scheduled meeting.
Here are hopefuls looking to gain a spot on the panel, listed in alphabetical order:
Cynthia Andreola moved to Portsmouth five years ago with her husband. She is currently employed as a community outreach manager for the Brain Association of Rhode Island. In her application, Andreola said she believes her “communication and outreach skills are particularly relevant to this position.  When dealing with the public, I found the messaging can be as critical as the message.”
Sondra Blank is a 15-year resident of town who is employed at Raytheon Technologies. In her application, Blank said she is a “proven leader, skilled at building strong relationships, listening to all involved and remaining even keeled in complicated and stressful situations.
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Since 2001, Ileen Chernoff has been a member of the faculty at the University of Phoenix online school. From 2004 through 2016, she was an IT project manager for Apple Rehab. “I feel my past work in the corporate and healthcare industries would be relavant to many of the challenges facing the Town Council in 2021 and 2022,” Chernoff wrote in her application.
Michael DiPaola is a recently retired civil engineer, former contractor, Realtor and investor. In his application, DiPaola said he wants to join the Town Council in an effort to “correct corruption at Town Hall.” Noting he successfully won an ACLU lawsuit against the town, DiPaola said he’s “not afraid to stand up for what I believe is right.”
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Leonard Katzman has previously served three terms on the Town Council, starting in 2004. In 2018, he finished just outside of the top seven spots in the general election. Katzman serves as the director of business development for Brown University.
“What drives me and moves me to public service,” Katzman wrote in his application, “is that I want every resident, and future generations, to be able to live in the best Portsmouth for them and their families.”
Mary McDowell has previous municipal government experience as a Select Board member in the town of Granby, Massachusetts, from 2007 to 2016. She’s owned property in town for two decades, but a few years back, made Portsmouth her permanent residence with her husband.
“I greatly desire the opportunity to involve myself in a much bigger capacity and strongly believe I can make a positive impact,” McDowell wrote in her application.
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Jonathan Mosier is a retired U.S. Navy surface warfare officer and served on the staff at the Naval War College. He has also volunteered with Portsmouth Little League.
“I have a keen interest in helping my adopted hometown embrace its history and its legacy while being safe, modern, and a great place to raise a family,” Mosier wrote in his application.
Theodore Pietz is a current computer scientist for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Newport. In providing a brief explanation for his interest in the Town Council position, Pietz wrote in his application: “Maintain the character of Portsmouth through tax stabilization program for the rehabilitation of historical homes purchased as a primary residence, undertake a comprehensive solution for municipal solid waste and diversion, and wise stewardship of unprecedented one-time APRA funds.”


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