Hometown: Johnston, RI
Birthday: October 16, 1971
Joe grew up in Johnston, and graduated from Johnston High School. After high school, he attended Rhode Island College and earned a bachelor's degree in English, then went into professional journalism with the Kent County Daily Times in West Warwick. After stints in Hopkinton and East Greenwich, Joe served as Editor of The Cranston Herald.
In 2002, Joe worked as Press Secretary for Aram Garabedian's mayoral campaign in Cranston against Steve Laffey, and assisted the Democratic City-wide Council slate to at-large sweeps in 2004 and 2006.
Joe also served as Membership Director for the Cranston Chamber of Commerce; Assistant Director of the Peter J. Pastore Youth Center; Teacher at Tides High School of Pawtucket, and Teen Director of the East Providence Boys and Girls Club before beginning his "Journalism 2.0" career with Patch in November, 2010.
Joe headed up the launch of SmithfieldPatch in September, 2012, and now works as Editor for both sites.
Joe lives just off the I-Way in Riverside. He is married to Andrea DiPonte Hutnak, whose parents live in Johnston. Joe and Andrea have one daughter, Carina Rose.
At Patch, we promise always to report the facts as objectively as possible and otherwise adhere to the principles of good journalism. However, we also acknowledge that true impartiality is impossible because human beings have beliefs. So in the spirit of simple honesty, our policy is to encourage our editors to reveal their beliefs to the extent they feel comfortable. This disclosure is not a license for you to inject your beliefs into stories or to dictate coverage according to them. In fact, the intent is the opposite: we hope that the knowledge that your beliefs are on the record will cause you to be ever mindful to write, report and edit in a fair, balanced way. And if you ever see evidence that we failed in this mission, please let us know.
How would you describe your political beliefs?
Having covered politics for so long (and run a few campaigns), I respect the candidate who tells it straight and levels with voters.
I also believe that goverment's role is to help people — especially those less fortunate.
How religious would you consider yourself?
I don't attend or belong to a church.
Local Hot-Button Issues
What do you think are the most important issues facing the community?
Johnston faces many of the same issues that most other towns do — maintaining quality services while holding down taxes and trying to address the pension issue — while being in the rare company of towns that are weathering the current economic climate without too much disruption.
Being able to continue that trend, while also expanding the business community and investing in the town's infrastructure, is the main challenge facing Johnston.
While located next door, Smithfield has its own character — and with it, unique challenges.
In the business sector, existing large employers like Fidelity and continued plans for commercial development along the Rte. 44 corridor give the town lots of potential for growth.
And while business growth, in itself, is generally a good thing, the town will need to weigh future developments against their possible environmental impact.