LEONARD B. KATZMAN
Address: 162 Spring Hill Road Age: 57
Political party: Democrat Previous terms: Portsmouth Town Council, 2004 08; Portsmouth Charter Review Committee in 2003 and 2012.
Associate director of licensing and business development, Brown University.
Education: Portsmouth High School, Class of 1976; bachelor of science, computer science, 1985, University of Rhode Island; juris doctor, 2000, Roger Williams University School of Law.
Family: I have lived in Portsmouth for 45 years. I'm married to Jhodi Redlich, who I met back when I was at Portsmouth High School and she was at Rogers in Newport. We married a few years after we met and we've been married now for 33 years. We have one son, Andrew, who graduated PHS in 2007.
Reason for running: I have deep roots in our community because I was born and raised in Portsmouth and my wife and I have raised our son here. I've been an active volunteer in our community including two elected terms on the Town Council, serving on the board of the Portsmouth Arts Guild, serving on the Charter Review Committee in 2003 and again in 2012 and supporting the theater performance arts programs at Portsmouth High School. I am running for Town Council in this election year because it is critical that the people of Portsmouth have a government with trustworthy and principled people in leadership and I have a record of just that. I care deeply about our community and want to make sure that Portsmouth has a government that works for its citizens.
Most important issues: While it is easy to point to the budget, taxes, the schools, the environment or many other single matters, it is my belief that the most important issue is simply for Portsmouth to have leaders who make sound, rational, evidence-based decisions. No matter what the issues facing us may be, this is imperative. Whether the issues are the budget, or the environment, or some unseen, yet unknown future event, the town must have leadership that acts on rational decision making and not emotional arguments or hysteria. A good town councilor makes decisions because of the strongest information, not because of the loudest voices in the room.
Top priorities: Proper management of the town's finances; supporting the highest quality school system we can; protecting our environment.
On town finance, I would ensure an open and transparent process for the budget. I would invite entrepreneurial ideas from the business and wider community to invigorate our local economic climate. My extensive experience in working with startup companies shows that bringing in outside views often reveals new solutions.
With respect to the schools, I would first rely on the excellent work of the Portsmouth School Committee to inform that Town Council on the school department's needs and vision. From there, I would look and listen to the people of Portsmouth to critique and refine the School Committee's recommendations through the budget process.
This procedure has resulted in simultaneously keeping our schools among the highest performing while among the lowest per-pupil cost. Our good schools are one of the many reasons people move to Portsmouth.
As for our environment, I would make sure that Portsmouth stays a desirable place to live in for today and in the near future. In the longer term, I want to make sure that the Comprehensive Community Plan, now under review for revision, takes sea level rise into account to protect our coastal community.