A political struggle with a smile to keep town moderator post alive

WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — Warren may no longer be on the short list of towns with elected town moderators after next Tuesday, but that didn’t stop a political rookie from giving a run for the office a shot.

The truth behind his campaign is Ben DeCastro grew tired of the beat and tone of the current political season.

“With this campaign cycle,” Decastro said while shaking his head. “Man, do we need something to smile about.”

So, since this veteran Warren volunteer firefighter is not shy about public service, he tossed his hat in the ring for a post that might not even exist after Tuesday.

In a sparsely attended news conference, he made the big announcement.

“I stand here today in front of all of you,” DeCastro said in the video of his news conference. “To announce I’m launching my write-in candidacy for town moderator.”

There was no “all of you.” There was no one.

“The press conference was huge. For ten seconds, I had one person. My neighbor across the street. She opened the door,” DeCastro said.

Chalk it up to his editing skills on the video or his ability as a public speaker; DeCastro’s video has attracted more than 12,000 views on social media.

The unopposed write-in candidate is confident he can get the vote that would put him in office to moderate the town’s annual financial meeting.

“I’m not the brightest bulb, but I can do that. I could say, you’re out of order,” he said harshly. “You’re out of order!”

The one hitch to the plan is Warren’s Question 26. Voters will decide whether or not to eliminate the current town financial meeting system and with it, the moderator.

“If I win, and the question passes, I’ll go down in the history books as the final moderator in the town of Warren,” DeCastro said. “Kids will read about me. They may write folk songs about me.”

If he wins, and the town moderator post is not eliminated, DeCastro will donate the $100 per meeting payment the moderator receives to the volunteer fire department where he serves.

There are currently nine communities that elect town moderators, with seven on the ballot on Tuesday. Only the Foster race is contested. A number of towns and cities appoint town moderators.

Send your story ideas to Walt at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow us on Twitter:@StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.

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