New Leadership Delivering Results for Our Community
My name is Bill Foley, and I’m running for a seat on Warwick City Council, Ward 1, to represent our neighborhood. I’m writing to introduce myself and tell you why I believe I can do a better job for our families, our neighborhoods and the small businesses in our ward.
Born to an Italian mother and Irish father, I grew up as the youngest of three in what I believed to be the best of both worlds. We had the luck of the Irish and delicious Italian meals under the same roof! Life wasn’t always easy in our triple-decker apartment, but my parents instilled in us the importance of family and community. They taught us good manners, how to be good neighbors and good friends, how to win humbly and how to lose gracefully.
Service to others runs deep in my family. My father served in the U.S. Army, earning a purple heart while fighting in Italy, and he married my mother shortly after returning from the war. My sister Rose was a registered nurse (who sadly passed away at 47 due to complications from multiple sclerosis). My older brother Patrick was born on St. Patrick's Day and is the current police chief in Williston, Vermont. I am a former history teacher, retired after a 40-year career.
I learned early on how to set ambitious yet achievable goals, striving to be good enough to make the varsity basketball team at school. “Practice makes perfect,” I was told by my junior varsity coach. By senior year I had worked hard enough to make the varsity team and became the starting forward in Class A of the RI Interscholastic League. I fell in love with the sport, learned how to be a team player, and knew one day I wanted to be a coach.
After high school, I enrolled at Providence College, home to what seemed at the time to be the only college basketball team that mattered in the state. While majoring in Education and History, I found a work-study job in the sporting equipment room. I became acquainted with some of the best players and esteemed coaches, and upon graduating, received a letter of recommendation from the legendary Dave Gavitt who acknowledged my strong work ethic.
While at P.C., I met a lovely young woman with a beautiful smile at the Village Mall in Warwick. She was selling candy and I have a sweet tooth! Three years later, we married in 1980. Martha and I will celebrate our 40th Anniversary in August.
I had begun to pursue a teaching career with a job at a public high school in Maine, while also coaching the basketball team. We decided to start a family and moved back to Rhode Island shortly after our oldest daughter Kimberly was born. I continued to coach and teach history in the state for several years until I found my “teaching home” at Davies Career and Technical High School.
Our two boys were born along the way, and naturally, we are very proud of our children who are adults now, and how they contribute to their communities in different ways--Kim, employed at Milton Academy; Mike, a lieutenant on the Providence Fire Department; and Greg, a former Army Ranger. We’re also excited to follow the future paths of our five beautiful grandchildren.
At Davies I made lasting relationships with my teaching peers, and they encouraged me to take a leadership role to represent them. I ran and was elected union president at the school. I honed my negotiation skills and earned a reputation as a fair dealer who always sought to find the middle ground. I was later encouraged by the statewide union leader to apply, and was accepted, to Leadership RI, the state’s premier civic engagement program for leaders across Rhode Island in business, government and education. It was then that I started to think about public service.
I ran for office for the first time in 1998 and nearly won a seat on City Council for Ward 6, losing by only 27 votes. In 2000, I ran again and won, and worked to make a difference for my community by being responsive, effective and efficient in city government. I’m very proud of my track record tackling Main Street issues such as public school funding, sewer installation, property taxes, small business concerns and others.
After the 2002 election, I returned my focus to the classroom where I was selected in 2007 as one of only 52 teachers in the nation to take part in the Presidential Academy of American History. I completed my teaching career in December 2016 after dedicating 40 years of my life to inspiring my students to excel in school as well as in life. I sought to instill in them the importance of responsible citizenship--and to help them see their role in shaping their own future in a society that is constantly changing and evolving.
After raising our family in Buttonwoods, we moved to the leafy suburb of Governor Francis Farms. Some who know me have asked why I have decided again to run for public office. In these unprecedented times, I look around and see my friends and neighbors are hurting. For the most pressing issues, such as over-burdensome taxes and city services, they are looking to local officials for solutions. Some residents have turned to social media because they can’t gather to meet, and are taking matters into their own hands.
I am confident I can be the advocate that Ward 1 needs—to listen to your issues, to get answers, to provide oversight and demand accountability for how we are governed at the local level.
To learn more about my campaign and tell me about the issues that matter to you and your family, please email me at or call anytime at 401-287-8532. Thank you for reading this letter.
I appreciate your time, and I respectfully ask for your vote in the Democratic Primary on September 8th.
"Mr. Foley was my high school history and civics teacher at William M. Davies Career and Technical School.
"His passion and personal experiences in government made him an excellent teacher and mentor. He was and still is available 24/7 to help any of his students and community.
"No issue too small, no project too big for Mr. Foley to jump right in and get the job done. Mr. Foley's skills, knowledge, and passion make him a great city council candidate that will truly make a difference in bringing Warwick into 2021."
Class of 2003