Several years ago running for councilman of Ward 3 was never on Timothy Howe’s “radar.” Involved in several veteran organizations he was simply reaching out to various municipal leaders to share his ideas on helping the local veteran community.
Howe, 45, always believed in service, having spent 10 years in the Army, but in 2010 while he was in line at the polls he met Camille Vella-Wilkinson, who was then running for councilwoman of Ward 3. Also a veteran, she was very open to Howe’s ideas. After she won, the two began working together on different projects. As Howe became more and more invested in the city, attending City Council meetings and creating a large network across Warwick, he realized he wanted to “serve his neighbors” as councilman of Ward 3.
Now, with Vella-Wilkinson leaving her position in Ward 3 to run for state representative, Howe is running as a Democrat for the position.
“I’ve really embraced this city and I want to keep my ward moving forward,” he said.
Howe grew up in Providence, graduating from Hope High School in 1988. After graduation, while working three different jobs, he passed by a recruiting station. No one ever reached out to him, but the next day he walked in and signed up for the Army.
He served in the infantry as a cold weather instructor. After 10 years in the Army, Howe left as a Staff Sergeant due to a lower spinal injury during a training accident while serving with the 101st Airborne Division.
Now, running as a councilman, he believes his military experience has prepared him in many ways for the council.
Alongside self-discipline, presentation, tact, communication skills and teamwork, Howe’s time serving the country has taught him that “no one can change the world on their own. It takes a group of like willed, dedicated people to get things done.”
After his time in the military, Howe attended the University of Wisconsin and then moved back to Warwick in 2002 with his wife, Ann, now married for 25 years, and their two children. For the past 14 years he has been a teacher in Pawtucket. He now works at Tolman High School in the Freshman Academy, teaching algebra and geometry.
In the course of a day he deals with “120 different personalities, students who come from various different neighborhoods and backgrounds. Although it can be a challenge at times, Howe enjoys teaching. He has come to define his teaching style as being “firm, fair and consistent.”
“I think that’s good because here in Warwick we have a lot of different people with different expectations,” Howe said. “I’ve learned to set the bar high, but also to be flexible. You never know what could happen and you have to be ready to step up to whatever the next challenge may be.”
During his time in Rhode Island, Howe has served as the Commander of the Disabled Americans (DAV) Chapter 9, serves as State Line Officer and Senior Vice Commander for the Rhode Island DAV and is currently the president of Rhode Island Military Organization. He also co-founded the military lounge at T.F. Green Airport and is heavily involved with the Vet Center and the Warwick Veteran Services Organization (WVSO).
Although Howe is running as a Democrat, he believes he airs more on the moderate side and is fiscally conservative.
Having started initially volunteering for the city, Howe believes he has a grassroots campaign and wants to run a “positive” campaign.
“I have a lot of drive and work ethic. I don’t like falling short and will always see a commitment through,” he said.
His campaign will focus on maintaining city services, improving the relationships between the school committee and city as well as with the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC), increasing opportunity for small businesses and making Warwick a more veteran-friendly city.
Working in Pawtucket, Howe drives through numerous municipalities on his way to Tolman and he said many of the communities don’t have the same services or the same caliber of services that Warwick does. He exampled the consistent and regular trash and recycle pick up, snow plows, among others.
Howe said, “We do have a great community and I want to keep that going, but there are always ways to improve, ways we can update and be smarter economically.”
Concerning the school committee, Howe believes there has become a “disconnect” in communication and purpose.
“We are all working towards the same common goal, we are all public servants and I think we need to remember that,” Howe said. “We all just want what’s best for our students. We need to have better communication if we want to see that.”
Howe already has a rapport with RIAC thanks to his continued work with the military lounge in the airport, but as a councilman he would want to broaden that relationship to ensure that as the airport is expanding, to make sure the city is benefiting as much as possible.
On the small business end, Howe believes as a city we need to be more transparent and upfront not only about the process itself in establishing a small business, but also the resources available to them.
“We need to find a way where small businesses can survive and thrive in this city,” he said.
He would also like to see more veteran-owned small businesses. Howe said we are still “battling a 15-year war” and there are a lot of young veterans coming home, with the drive and no how to be successful, if only the city could compile veteran resources to make them better available or possibly offering incentives for the veteran community to work and live here.
“Why can’t we be the ones to take a lead on this here in Warwick?” Howe said.
Howe said that with the possibility of as many as four council members not seeking reelection, there will be a lot of new energy and new ideas coming for Warwick.
He said, “I want to be there to help my neighbors, my ward, get ready for the next phase of Warwick.”
Howe is excited to start walking the district, meeting constituents and hearing their concerns as well as the things they enjoy about their city.
Howe is hosting his first fundraiser on Tuesday, May 31 at The Office Kitchen and Bar at 1795 Post Rd. at 6 p.m. There is a recommended $25 donation, and Howe encourages all to come and meet him while also supporting a small business.