Solomon, Picozzi square off in first mayoral debate in Warwick

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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The Warwick Beacon hosted a mayoral debate between incumbent Mayor Joseph Solomon and his independent challenger Frank Picozzi on Tuesday.

Solomon has been the mayor of Warwick since 2018 after serving as acting mayor when his predecessor, Scott Avedisian, stepped down to take the helm at RIPTA.

Picozzi, a Warwick resident known for his family’s elaborate Christmas displays that have raised thousands of dollars for Hasbro Children’s Hospital, announced he was running as an independent candidate back in June.

One of the topics covered was how Gov. Gina Raimondo has handled the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Both candidates agreed that Raimondo’s response has been effective, but had differing opinions when it came to the city’s response.

“The city of Warwick has met every single obligation and still has a cushion to sustain us,” Solomon said.

“We really weren’t more prepared financially for this than every other city,” Picozzi argued.

Picozzi made mention of Solomon’s decision to lay off up to 50 city employees earlier this year due to a “significant decline” in revenues for the city budget.

“Cranston also had no tax increase this year, but they didn’t lay off any personnel and kept up the same level of services,” Picozzi said.

During a lightning round of questions, both candidates were asked whether the city should defund the Warwick Police Department. Picozzi and Solomon both quickly said “no.”

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