Thank you for electing me last year to serve as our State Senator, granting me the privilege of returning to public service. With the conclusion of the General Assembly session, I have begun my campaign to ask your support to allow me to continue working on the projects you elected me to pursue.
In my eight-month term as our Senator to date, I successfully advanced two legislative priorities of our community, namely:
- General Assembly enactment of S-2838B, which provides a first step in increasing accountability and oversight of the State’s takeover of the Providence Public Schools;
- Senate passage of S-2462, through which the General Assembly budget revised the Governor’s budget by fully funding the State’s Payment In Lieu Of Taxes program, adding $2.3 million to the appropriation, of which $1.7 million in additional unrestricted funds were allocated to the City of Providence.
- As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I advocated for the General Assembly’s changes to the Governor’s budget, including:
- Additional funding to mend our “safety net” of services to our most vulnerable Rhode Islanders, including expanded health care, social services and child care;
- Increased support for affordable housing;
- Increasing the State’s contribution to the unemployment insurance trust fund, thereby reducing insurance premiums paid by all Rhode Island businesses.
There is much more work to do, and if given the opportunity I would like to advance these issues (among others):
- Gaining prompt passage of the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act to ensure that Rhode Island women receiving Medicaid have access to this form of health care;
- Reforming the Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights;
- Ensuring the complete and timely attainment of the benchmarks of the Act on Climate, to ensure Rhode Island does its part to curb climate change;
- Codifying and clarifying the public’s right to shoreline access;
- As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, continuing to advocate for a stronger financial partnership between the State and the City of Providence;
- Strengthening oversight of the State’s takeover of the Providence Public Schools.
For those of you who are not familiar with my background, let me tell you a little about myself. I have deep roots in our neighborhood, growing up on the East Side and graduating from Classical High School. After I completed my education and began my legal career, I returned to our neighborhood in 1990 to raise my family and practice law. My three children attended the Providence Public Schools, and I had the opportunity to serve our community on the Providence School Board and the Providence City Council, as unofficially as a private citizen advocating for the re-opening of Nathan Bishop Middle School and representing pro bono a South Providence neighborhood group in a successful effort to prevent the opening of a solid waste transfer station.
I am preparing for a seriously contested primary campaign, and I need your help. My first task is collecting at least 100 more signatures to qualify for the ballot during July 6-15. If you have time to help collect signatures, please sign up on my Volunteer Form. You also will find on that form other ways you can help, such as hosting a lawn sign and/or a “meet the candidate” coffee hour. Many of you already have made a financial contribution to my campaign, which is both appreciated and needed given the amount of resources this contest will require. If you have not yet contributed but wish to do so at this time, please click on the “Contribute” button on the bottom of this letter.
To qualify for the ballot, I will be holding a “Signing Party” in the front yard of my home at 330 Grotto Avenue on Wednesday, July 6 at 6:00-8:00 p.m. (In case of inclement weather, I will open my garage door and we will set up there.) I will be joined by Councilwoman Helen Anthony and State Representative Edie Ajello, who also will have petitions for your signature should you choose. (I believe both are doing an exceptional job representing our neighborhood in City Hall and in the State House.) Modest refreshments will be served. If you are able to come and you are interested, you can pick up a lawn sign at that time and/or offer other ways to volunteer. I also will enjoy hearing your ideas about how to improve our State and our State government.
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail.