Rich Livingood: Why I’m running for Newport city commission

Op-eds are submitted by the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion(s) of LINK Media. LINK nky has invited all candidates competing in the May 17, 2022 primary election to submit op-eds in support of their candidacies.

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The following op-ed is written by Rich Livingood, a candidate in the primary for Newport city commission.

My reason for running in the Newport Commissioners race this year is two-fold, opportunity and vision. First, my role as a Hospice Chaplain was affected by the restrictions brought on by COVID19, and later my position was eliminated.  Consequently, I joined the ranks of the “retired” last fall.  I found myself with more time and opportunity.  Not really ready to quit a life of purpose and service, I searched for a new vision.  For me that involves prayer, asking and listening.  This led me to some type of political engagement.  Most of my life has been spent in the ministry so this was quite a surprise to me.   As I pondered this new direction for my life, I found encouragement to support the new vision.  So opportunity and vision became the catalyst for me entering the Newport Commissioner race this year and as I would put it, the reason for this ‘step of faith.” 

This could be a year of tremendous change locally and nationally, not by “well funded” politico’s but by citizens, like myself, who are looking to make a difference by putting some ‘skin in the game’.  Martin Luther King’s message, I Have a Dream, rings in my mind when I think of a vision for our city of Newport.  My dreams revolve around a city that loves, encourages, protects and educates children, supports families and encourages businesses so that all have an opportunity to thrive, and not just get by.  It would also be a city whose reputation for excellence is a benchmark for others to see and follow.  Newport, because of its wonderful stock of historical housing and great neighborhoods could become an even greater place to live, work and raise a family.  

Good government, flourishing business and industry, and strong individual development and growth is a good foundation for a great city.  I believe the attention of government needs to be on blessing and providing for its citizens, young and old.  There are some talented and gifted people in our neighborhoods whose insight and resources could be beneficial to our young people and neighborhoods.  Personally, I remember running into a young man I had helped tutor in the “Whiz Kids” program when he was eight years old.  Now he was flourishing in high school.  I was met with a warm grin and a happy demeanor.  We all have opportunities to help bring about success and prosperity to others by following the vision in the area of influence we are called to.  

I appreciate the opportunity afforded by LinkNky to join the other candidates in this forum.  During the next few weeks, it will be important for our citizens and community, by their vote, to support those individuals who they believe will give Newport the best opportunity to thrive in the future. During the eulogy for his brother, Bobby, Ted Kennedy shared a phrase Bobby used many times “some see things as they are and say why.  I dream things that never were and say why not.” That rings true to me.  With the regenerated wave of leadership in our city and region, dreams can come true.  

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