WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Just weeks after the Woonsocket City Council ousted her from office, voters chose to re-elect former Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.
Baldelli-Hunt ran unopposed to regain her seat Tuesday, with roughly 76% of Woonsocket residents voting for her and nearly 24% opting for a write-in candidate, according to the R.I. Board of Elections.
Back in October, the city council voted in favor of removing Baldelli-Hunt from office. The decision stemmed from a complaint lodged by Councilor Denise Sierra, in which she claimed Baldelli-Hunt wasn’t performing her duties as mayor. (Sierra did not seek reelection this year.)
Woonsocket City Council President Daniel Gendron, who was sworn into office as acting mayor shortly after the decision was made, has been calling the shots ever since.
Despite being ousted last month, Baldelli-Hunt expects her return to Woonsocket City Hall to be welcome one, especially since four city councilors, including Gendron, will be replaced by the end of the year.
“I feel like we have our city back,” she said. “We have [councilors] who want to do what’s in the best interest of the city.”
Gendron tells 12 News that while he’s disappointed that he wasn’t reelected, he accepts the outcome for what it is.
“Some good people were elected and I wish them the best of luck,” he said. “I don’t want to injure the city, I want to see it succeed because it’s where I live. It’s my home.”
Baldelli-Hunt tells 12 News she has spent the past month speaking directly with constituents and campaigning against the councilors who forced her from office, two of which weren’t reelected.
“People were angry … they felt like their voice was silenced and their vote was stripped,” Baldelli-Hunt explained.
Baldelli-Hunt described the ordeal as “a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars.”
“They did this the month before an election,” Baldelli-Hunt explained. “That is an indicator of how the majority of this city council operates. It’s all about what their agenda is and what they’re trying to move forward.”
“They’re not listening to the residents of the city,” she continued. “If they did, they would not be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on this process for one month so they could move forward their personal agendas.”
Baldelli-Hunt said the city council’s “personal attack” sent shockwaves not only through Woonsocket, but the entire state as well.
“It was unhealthy, it was unfair and it was self-serving,” she said. “That is not representing the people of Woonsocket, that’s doing your own personal bidding … that’s not why people are elected.”
Baldelli-Hunt will be sworn back into office in December for her fifth term as mayor.
Upon her return to Woonsocket City Hall, Baldelli-Hunt said a charter review commission will be established. The commission will be tasked with looking into the city’s procedures and recommending potential changes.