Larry Mandel for Town Council
Who is Larry Mandel?
Larry Mandel has been involved in a wide variety of community and educational activities. He
serves on the North Kingstown Economic Development Advisory Board, and in that capacity
moderated a Town Forum on Balancing Growth and Economic Development in 2021. He also
serves on the town's Audit and Personnel Committees, and is a regular attendee at Town Council meetings. He was an election official at Hamilton Elementary School for the 2020 elections.
Larry first came to NK in 1970 when he met his wife, Judy (Curry) Mandel, who grew up here.
They married in 1974, participated in North Kingstown’s Tri-Centennial celebration that year by
riding on a parade fire truck, and spent considerable time in North Kingstown over the years
while raising their four children, primarily in Washington, DC and overseas.
The bulk of Larry’s career was as a U.S. diplomat: he served for over 32 years as a Foreign
Service Officer, residing with his family in eight foreign countries as well as Washington, DC. In
his final two overseas postings he was the Deputy Ambassador in Turkey and Jordan. Larry
retired from the State Department in 2016, and he and Judy split their time between Washington
and North Kingstown before settling here permanently. Prior to joining the State Department
Larry was an attorney in Massachusetts, and before that a business executive in Chicago. Larry
earned his B.A. from American University in Washington, DC (International Studies) and J.D.
from Northeastern University in Boston.
During his various diplomatic postings Larry was active in community affairs, volunteering
numerous times to serve on school boards and employee associations overseas, often in
Larry currently chairs the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Service Grievance Board, an
appeals Board made up of judges, mediators and retired diplomats, which he joined in 2017. He
is an active participant in OLLI courses at URI, plays pickleball at Wilson Park and elsewhere,
and enjoys activities in our community through North Kingstown Newcomers and Neighbors,
Histwick, and other sources. Larry is delighted to be a full-time resident of North Kingstown,
and is eager to contribute to the community by serving on the Town Council.
So Larry, what's your platform?
We live in a very special community, with great natural beauty, diverse habitats, and village,
rural and suburban neighborhoods along with strong maritime and industrial bases. This variety
is a huge strength. NK has undergone challenges before, including when the Navy left in the
1970s – we can and will survive the current challenges.
If elected, my priorities will be:
(1) Building Bridges: notwithstanding political, religious or other differences I believe there is
much more that we have in common, than divides us. My training as a diplomat taught me to focus on bringing people together; I would seek to utilize that skill as a member of the Town
(2) Managing Growth: I would seek to maintain the balance between the quality of life we love
here, and the growth that is inevitable in a private-property based society. We cannot stop
growth, but we can manage and prepare for it by focusing it where infrastructure and resources
exist. I have lived all over the world, and my wife and I made the very deliberate decision to
retire here. I value how special a place North Kingstown is.
(3) Focusing on our Schools: Ensuring that our children are both successful academically and
safe in our schools is hugely important. While this responsibility belongs primarily with the
School Council, the Town Council plays a role through the budget process. Our teachers and
coaches must be properly supported, trained and supervised, and our kids need to develop the life skills to both be self-aware and to know when to seek help. Parents should be confident that
their children will be as safe in our schools as possible.
(4) Improving Recreation Facilities: While we have made enormous improvements in town
playgrounds over the past couple of years, our community would further benefit from an indoor
recreation center to support our residents both young and old. I am delighted that the Town
Council voted to support a rec center with some of our federal government funds. Finding the
site for the center and building it is an important task that I will support.
(5) Maintaining our Water Supply: We are fortunate to live in a community with excellent and
inexpensive clean drinking water. Recent changes to the water protection ordinances should
enhance the quality of our water even more; I will advocate for continued measures to protect
this vital resource.
(6) Managing our Physical Resources Effectively: In the past we have not always utilized our
town properties in the most effective manner, including Wickford Elementary School. While
hindsight is always 20-20, we must work smart to avoid some of the mistakes of the past and
maximize the use of our properties, or return them to the tax rolls.
(7) Keeping our Economic Balance: We may be in for a challenging economic environment;
managing the town’s finances so that we continue to perform our highest priority tasks will
require us to be wise financial stewards. While we can do almost anything, we will not be able to