The November elections may be months away, but last week the Rye City Democratic Committee threw its support to Lori Fontanes, a longtime community advocate, to fill the last year of Republican Richard Mecca’s City Council term.
Committee Chair Shari Punyon said, “I’m thrilled to have Lori running. She has ties to so many community organizations and such wide experience, and I am already enjoying working with her. She has the calm temperament and desire to work with others that Rye needs. I think it is going to be a great campaign with a fantastic candidate.”
Fontanes, in an interview with the paper, said she promises to represent “all of Rye, ensure that taxpayers’ money is being most effectively spent, and enact meaningful change on flooding.”
She added, “This election is for a one-year term, but the conversation starts now. I’m a voice and a respectful listener and am already meeting with organizations because I want to optimize the time I have.”
A Rye resident since 2009, Fontanes has served in a variety of civic capacities, from vice chair of the City’s Conservation Commission/Advisory Council and co-head of the Rye Sustainability Committee healthy yard program to member of the board of trustees of the Jay Heritage Center as well as a member of the Rye YMCA Cross-District Wellness and Safe Routes to School committees.
Fontanes said, “I’ve already spent hundreds of hours serving with other residents at City Hall and around Rye. I know how the system works and would love to collaborate with stakeholders to make our beautiful coastal community even better.”
Former Conservation Commission member Nick Hodnett offered, “Having recently finished serving for several years on a city commission with Lori Fontanes, I found her to be intelligent, pragmatic, and always working to improve the quality of life available to our residents.”
Sue Drouin, who served on the Rye Sustainability Committee, has high praise for Fontanes for getting “Rye Town Park management, the Friends of Rye Town Park, and the city and town representatives on the same page and excited to install new pollinator gardens at the park. Lori delivered the project on time and under budget, even in the middle of a pandemic.”
Fontanes received her B.A. from Temple University and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College, where she is currently an adjunct professor. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Lori comes from a family of firefighters, police officers, and educators. She is proud of her multiracial heritage and dedicates this campaign to her aunt Toni who worked in the Hispanic community as an advocate for many years. She is the mother of a college-aged daughter.
“I learned at an early age that public service is important and more rewarding than you can imagine,” Fontanes said. “If elected, I look forward to doing even more for my community by serving as a Rye City Councilmember.”
The Rye Republicans Committee has yet to announce a candidate for the one-year seat, so there’s no horse race yet. But Fontanes noted that if another Democrat decides to run for the seat, she will be in a primary as soon as mid-March.
In January, Mayor Josh Cohn appointed former Councilmember Emily Hurd to fill the first year of Richard Mecca’s unexpired term. He also appointed Hurd as his Deputy Mayor.
- Robin Jovanovich