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