Photo Courtesy of Aaron Mackisey
By Chris Carey
“Serve your neighbor, help out your community, do your best for the people around you,” said Aaron Mackisey on why he chose to run as an independent for the vacant Ward 9 city council seat in his home city of Warwick, Rhode Island.
Rewind five years, and one would find Aaron brimming with excitement as he began his academic career in the Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art. Aaron would go on to serve in the Student Government Senate for the next four years, proudly representing his school and the wider university community he so loved.
There, Aaron learned the importance of conversation with students and with other members of the body. For many, Aaron’s dedication to service and leadership made his name synonymous with the body for which he served.
Aaron wishes to bring that same dedication, openness, and hard work to Warwick.
He discussed at length his plans for increasing the accessibility of city government, where he hopes to mend the strained relationship between the city council and other community stakeholders such as the school committee, labor unions, and others through open, honest, and maybe even uncomfortable conversations.
As far as Aaron’s other policy initiatives, he hopes to streamline Warwick’s public works department and bring it into the 21st century with the introduction of an interactive public works app similar to one used effectively in nearby Providence, RI.
Mackisey hopes to eliminate the “classic city hall shuffle” by instituting this 311 program, including public works reporting and progress reports. According to Mackisey, this program will “help for good governance, and help for accountability.”
Mackisey’s central goal is to bring civil discourse and true public service back into the halls of government. He consistently begins stories with the phrase, “so I talked to a neighbor the other day.” Aaron simply strives to bring a sense of unity to his hometown that he feels has been sadly lacking in recent years.
Aaron attributes this community division in part to life time politicians in small town government. His proposal of term limits for the council and for the office of the mayor were just not a discussion until he made it a central campaign issue.
“Term limits are helpful so the gears of government keep moving with new ideas and fresh perspectives,” said Mackisey passionately. Limiting the council to five two-year terms and the mayor to eight years in office will help stimulate new ideas and greater community engagement, limiting business as usual in city hall.
Aaron does not just talk a big game either. He has made a commitment to follow his own term limit proposal should he be elected, whether or not the council passes such a referendum.
As far as his Catholic University legacy, Aaron hopes he can pass on this simple advice: “Just be yourself. Never try to be anything you’re not. I try to do as best as I can to honor this experience for those at CUA, and for those who wish to live a life of public service.”
As for Aaron, it has never been about the office, but about the people he serves, his neighbors.
You can follow along with Aaron and the campaign on Instagram @mackisey4wardnine or at aaronmackisey.com.