Putting Pawtucket first

Donald R. Grebien has become a familiar face to many in Rhode Island, a man who beams with pride as he tirelessly champions the city that he loves and that has been his lifelong home.

Don, as he prefers to be called, is a dedicated family man who, with his wife Laureen, raised two children, Alexa and Connor, now young adults. Over the years, Don has worked very hard to balance his dual priorities of family and service to the community.

Before he ever considered a run for public office, Don was contributing to the welfare of the youth of Pawtucket, willingly giving his time to coach and sponsor youth sports, mentoring the boys and girls of Darlington, Fairlawn, and Pineview through Little League, girls’ softball and youth soccer programs. He continued to do so for over 20 years.

His love for Pawtucket is rooted in his own youth in Fairlawn, and his education prepared him for a role in business. As a proud graduate of Davies Career and Technical High School with a concentration in Culinary Arts, Don attended Community College of Rhode Island, where he earned an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration.

From 1994 to 2010, Don was employed by American Insulated Wire, a subsidiary of Leviton Manufacturing, based primarily at their facility in Mansfield, Massachusetts. In 2004, he was promoted to Facility/Operations Manager, for which he prepared and managed budgets for the VP of Operations, supervised a 55-member team, and negotiated labor contracts.

His obvious acumen for the job led to his promotion to Corporate Transportation Supply Chain Manager. In this role, he supervised logistic, freight, and warehouse processes for two major facilities, twelve agent locations, and Leviton Corporate. His efforts led to a twelve percent reduction in transportation costs and a fifty percent reduction in carrier claims.

In 1997, Don ran his first campaign for Pawtucket City Councilor-at-Large. The voters returned him to office five more times, for 11 years in all, including a term as Council President. As a City Councilor, he played a role in municipal budgeting, approved major development projects, and served on boards and panels to promote the arts and bring in new business.

With the support of the constituency, Don was elected Mayor on November 2, 2010, under the platform “A New Direction.” Due to his many accomplishments, and unwavering commitment to, the City of Pawtucket, the voters have returned him to the Office of Mayor for seven additional terms.

During his first term as Mayor, Don successfully resolved a $12M deficit through significant reductions in municipal expenses and the promotion of shared services among both city and school departments. In the years since, he has continued to focus on fiscal stability and improvement, economic development, and job growth.

Proof of these efforts may be seen in the city’s bond rating. In 2021, Moody’s Investor Services assigned an Aa3 Enhanced Bond Rating to the city. Thanks to the hard work of many in his administration over ten years, Pawtucket’s rating increased from Baa2(-) to the fourth highest rating an organization can obtain.

Infrastructure improvement has remained high on Don’s list of priorities, and thanks to voter approval on a number of important initiatives, there are many visible improvements on the landscape: new and updated school facilities, a multi-year road paving program that paved over 80% our roads, investments in our parks, renovation of public buildings – all approached with comprehensive, objective analyses mindful of balancing needs for future growth while minimizing taxpayer burden.

Strategic investments that promise to pay future dividends include the new commuter rail station that opened in early 2023. With a significant investment of federal and state funds and an Opportunity Zone in the surrounding Conant Thread district, this will open the door to transit-oriented development and a renewed and vibrant live-work community.

The Tidewater Landing Project, and the associated environmental cleanup, bring the city closer to re-establishing its position as Rhode Island’s gateway city, enhancing the riverfront with a mixed-use development that includes over 400 residential units, commercial space, a river walk and crossing, and a professional soccer and event stadium.

This, along with the acquisition by the city of the former Apex Department Store and surrounding properties located in a newly-zoned tax increment financing (TIF) district, offer the city a unique opportunity to transform its downtown for the first time in seventy years. With the cooperation of the City Council and the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency, Don continues to advance these plans.

Although Don has set his sights on major economic development projects such as these, he has not lost sight of the importance of the many small businesses that contribute to the community and our quality of life, and that provide jobs for many of our citizens. With initiatives like Pawtucket Promotes, Pawtucket Business Development Council, grants and loans for small businesses, and other partnerships, we are seeing more business investment in the city.

Don also makes time to be directly involved with the many groups in the community that enrich the city with diversity and culture. He includes among his many past and present affiliations the Cape Verdean American Community Development, the Preservation Society of Pawtucket, the Winter Wonderland Committee, the Pawtucket Riverfront Commission, Pawtucket Neighborhood Alliance, the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association, and many others. Don is a parishioner and lector in St. Teresa Parish and serves on the Knights of Columbus Delaney Council.

Don is proud to be serving in his seventh term as Mayor of Pawtucket. With your support, he is able to continue his work to elevate the city and improve the quality of life and resources available to all residents.