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Buchanan’s Dishonest Coup

A recent news article described Tiverton resident Tom Buchanan as an “organizer” of the campaign that led to a divisive and trend-setting off-year recall election in our town this October. Those who watch local politics can see that he’s been working with replacement Council President Patricia Hilton and Vice President Denise deMedeiros to put them back in control of town government.

Who is Thomas Buchanan?

According to a page on the networking site, LinkedIn, which he recently hid from public view, Buchanan was a chief petty officer with the U.S. Navy stationed in Newport until sometime in the last year. Organizing an effort to overthrow duly elected officials in his adopted home seems like a strange way for a Navy chief to spend time, so we might hope he would at least do so in an honorable manner, but he hasn’t. He’s a leading voice of nastiness, sarcasm, and dishonesty.

Here’s a typical comment that Buchanan directed toward me while I was the vice president of the Tiverton Town Council: “I am sure it will be tough today when you get fired but set a goal for say Monday and you can stop being a little bitch.”

That isn’t the worst of it, though. About 20 years ago, the ex-wife of a Tiverton resident was tragically murdered in Fall River, and the killer was never found. This past summer, the resident — now an elected official in town — posted a cheerful photograph of himself with his long-time girlfriend on Facebook. Here’s Buchanan’s comment: “Try not to kill this one could ya?” A few weeks ago, he was more direct: “Murder anyone in cold blood lately?”

What sort of person says such things?

Buchanan doesn’t limit his destructiveness to comments on Facebook. During the spring, while the Town Council worked to speed up the purchase of a much-needed rescue truck, Buchanan brought embarrassing statewide attention to our town by promoting a page he’d put up on the fundraising website, GoFundMe. Presenting himself to local TV stations as just a “concerned resident,” Buchanan pushed the false claim that the town government wasn’t handling the problem.

The GoFundMe page is still up, with $270 pledged, although a portion of that money is under clearly false and mocking names, illustrating how fraudulent the effort was. It did get Thomas Buchanan’s face on television, though.

Tom Buchanan is one of a handful of Tiverton residents who have become prominent in the past year bringing nastiness in town to a whole new level to help Hilton and deMedeiros and doing their dirty work so they can seem clean and neighborly. Residents should resist the new, nasty tone that Buchanan, Hilton, deMedeiros, and the rest of their “Tiverton Independent PAC” friends are gleefully spewing in order to keep their grip on power. That may be who Tom Buchanan is, but it isn’t who we in the Tiverton community are.


Justin Katz

Justin Katz is a writer and researcher focusing on Rhode Island policy and politics. For more about Justin, see our About page. (401) 835-7156.

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