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Guidugli Announces Run for Newport Mayor

Newport City Commissioner Tom Guidugli, Jr. will run for mayor in 2020.

Current Mayor Jerry Peluso is term-limited and cannot seek a fourth four-year term.

Guidugli, whose father previously served as mayor, was the top vote-getter in last year's city commission race.

The 48-year old was first elected to the city commission in 2010.

“I’m incredibly honored yet humbled to announce my candidacy for mayor in the 2020 election,” Guidugli said in a statement. “I stand on the shoulders of those before me, who led our city in a positive and prosperous direction. And I pledge to continue the progress that has made Newport a great place to live, work, visit, and play.”

Mayor Peluso announced his support for Guidugli's campaign.

“As a vice mayor, Tom Guidugli has been a very intelligent, hard-working member of the city commission,” Peluso said in a statement. “He not only knows the issues, he deeply understands them. I’m honored to endorse him for Mayor because along with our incumbent City Commissioners, I know he will continue all the great things that are happening in our city.”

In his campaign announcement, Guidugli touted his Newport roots, noting he lived his early years in the city's West Side neighborhood, and bought his first home in the East Row while an undergraduate at Northern Kentucky University.

“Like me, Tom grew up on these streets,” Peluso said. “He’s home grown. And to me, that brings something special to the Office of Mayor. We love this city, we know this city, and we want it to be as great as it can be.”

Guidugli also highlighted significant city projects during his nine years on the city commission, like the ongoing redevelopment of Newport on the Levee, the opening of Newport Pavilion, new apartments, hotels, and condos, and Riverfront Commons.

Mike Smith, a Newport entrepreneur, opened Headquarters Events Center on Monmouth Street after four years of scouting locations throughout Greater Cincinnati and offered support to Guidugli.

“I knew Newport’s economy was booming, and then when I started looking for a location for my events business, I found a building with historic architecture that I really fell in love with, so much so that I now live above my business,” Smith said. “Newport has been nothing but supportive of my business.”

“I’ve been able to grow, and when I look up and down Monmouth Street I see so much progress,” he said. “Tom Guidugli has done a fabulous job as a City Commissioner. He’s very well supported in the community and he will continue to do a great job as Mayor, leading us on a path of continued growth and prosperity.”

Mark Ramler, a Newport resident and owner of Mansion Hill Properties, which purchases and restores historic homes and buildings in Newport, recently restored and reopened Jerry’s Jug House on East Seventh Street as well as several other buildings in the city. He also supports Guidugli.

“Tom Guidugli is very supportive of small businesses in our community, and it is that focus and dedication that has led to so much redevelopment in the city,” Ramler said. “He is great to work with and he is really helping make Newport a great place to live and work.”

Albert Fedders has purchased two historic West Side buildings on 11th Street, the former Greenline bus barn, and just across the street, the old West Side Cafe building, that his construction company is in the process of rehabilitating. He is also among Guidugli's supporters.

“I appreciate Tom Guidugli’s attention to Newport businesses and his genuine dedication to making sure that all of Newport, including the West Side, is a great place to do business,” Fedders said. “He is consistent in checking in with us and making sure he understands our needs.”

West Side residents Mickey and Catherine McElwain, who have been involved in historic preservation and restoration in Newport since the 1980s, also support Guidugli. 

“Tom Guidugli pays attention to the needs of the residents in the West Side and throughout the city,” Mickey McElwain said. “Tom Guidugli and the entire city commission and administration have done a tremendous job creating a synergy where people are moving in to the West Side.”

“Tom will do a great job continuing to lead that progress as mayor,” McElwain said. “My wife and I attend a lot of city commission meetings, and I’ve always been impressed with how insightful and thoughtful Tom is when it comes to any issue, but in particular when he is asking questions about how development is going to impact the community and the neighborhoods. He is very conscientious and always puts the residents first.”

In his announcement, Guidugli said he wants to enhance transparency through a fully modernized communication plan that increases awareness and encourages citizen activism and involvement. 

“Times are changing in Newport,” Guidugli said, “and change is always challenging. As a team, we have worked with common cause and a positive purpose, and we will continue to do so in the years to come.”

“Tom Guidugli has worked hard to build and improve the city’s relationship with the Newport Independent Schools,” said Newport Board of Education Chairwoman Ramona Malone.

“He’s done a wonderful job reaching out and really engaging Newport schools,” Malone said. “Tom knows that a thriving and successful public school system is vital to the current and future success of Newport, so the city commission and the school district work as partners to bring new residents, jobs, and investment to the city.”

“I don’t think there is anyone who loves the City of Newport more than Tom Guidugli and his family,” she said.

Tom Guidugli, Sr., the commissioner's father, formerly served as mayor and is currently the executive director of Neighborhood Foundations, the Newport Housing Authority.

Guidugli, Jr., by day, is a member of Local 5 Stagehands, and since 2000, has served as the union's business representative.

Guidugli and his wife, Heather, live in Newport’s East Row neighborhood with their two young children, Giabella and Louie.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher