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In Warwick, contractor takes on incumbent Solomon for mayoral seat – News – providencejournal.com

Frank Picozzi, known by more people for his holiday light display than his politics, takes on Mayor Joseph J. Solomon

WARWICK — The origins of this season’s political contest between incumbent Mayor Joseph J. Solomon and challenger Frank Picozzi trace back to the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time, holiday-style light displays came into vogue; Picozzi, a vinyl-siding contractor, was known throughout Warwick and beyond for his holiday light display.

Of course, people encouraged him to once again deck the halls at his house.

Instead, the former School Committee chairman decorated his truck and took his high-tech light show along city streets.

The tour lasted 34 days. Picozzi says some Warwick residents encouraged him to run for mayor. It was a bit of a joke at first, he acknowledges, but not anymore.

That’s how Solomon, a career politician, also the first Democrat in the mayor’s office in decades, came to face the lighting expert in his bid to win reelection on the heels of his first term (not including his stint as the city’s chief executive following the resignation of Mayor Scott Avedisian).

Solomon says he hopes to continue with a style of leadership that he believes has served the city, attracting new businesses (he cites Tesla and Market Basket) and enough newcomers to cause a housing shortage.

Solomon says he has the management and accounting skills to control costs and avoid tax increases, and that he supports necessary spending on roads and infrastructure, as well as $6 million in additional appropriations to the city’s school system.

Solomon has also touted the city’s standing with rating agencies during his term. Some critics, including Picozzi, say he exaggerated the extent of a cash-flow problem when he first took office

Picozzi, 61, of 75 Gristmill Rd., served on the School

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Brian Sluss vies to take seat of longtime Waite Park Mayor Rick Miller

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WAITE PARK — Political newcomer Brian Sluss is taking on longtime Waite Park Mayor Rick Miller on Election Day. 

Miller, who has spent nearly three decades in city government, is campaigning on experience with goals to improve roadways, invest in the city’s capital expenses without raising taxes, and get the long-awaited amphitheater up and running. 

Sluss, if elected, said he would also prioritize road improvement projects, as well as work to attract businesses and reduce crime in the city. 

Both candidates have lived in Waite Park most of their lives. 

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Rick Miller, left, and Brian Sluss are candidates for mayor in Waite Park. (Photo: Dave Schwarz, [email protected])

Miller, 72, graduated from Technical High School and worked as a network technician for the telecommunications company now known as Lumen Technologies. He retired in 2001 and is married with two children and four grandchildren. 

Sluss, 52, graduated from McKinley Area Learning Center and studied automotive technology at Hibbing Community College.

He owned Green Cab for nine years and has worked at the construction equipment supplied Ziegler CAT for the past two years. He is married with seven children and 14 grandchildren. 

While Sluss has never run for elected office, he is active in American Bikers for Awareness Training and Education and Bikers Against Child Abuse. 

Miller served on Waite Park City Council from 1986-1995 and as mayor from 1996-2001, when he was unseated by Carla Schaefer. He then waged a successful write-in campaign in 2007 and has been re-elected five times since. 

Candidates eye road improvements

Sluss and Miller said they’d prioritize improving roads as mayor. 

“I would like to see the roads worked on a little bit better. Our city workers need updated equipment, I know that,” Sluss said. “It’s Minnesota so I understand it, but some of

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