2018-11-01 / Election News

General Assembly

ELECTION COVERAGE 2018

The General Assembly candidates were asked the following question: What do you feel is the most important issue facing your constituents? And, how will you address it?

House District 75 Candidate

Lauren Carson

64, single, one son

Resident of Newport 26 years

Small business owner, non-profit management

I have served as State Representative for House District 75 since 2014. As I conclude my second term, I am writing to you to ask for your vote to serve a third term.

I have been very fortunate to meet many of you over the years either around town, at special events or at one of my constituent meetings. I have done my very best to represent Newport honestly and transparently, using my skills as a community leader, business woman and seasoned professional. I have taken this responsibility seriously.


Lauren Carson Lauren Carson It is time to look to the future. That will be the focus of my next term.

Newport and Rhode Island face many challenges. Our city needs investments in infrastructure for the next generation. Our schools need rebuilding and we must brace our shoreline for sea rise and climate change.

Pell Bridge will be re-aligned changing the entry to our City and opening up new opportunities for economic expansion. Our tourism economy must be smart and minimize the impact on our quality of life. We must prepare for the impact of our aging population and the voices of women and young people must be heard more clearly in government.

Our policymakers must govern openly and honestly. Voters want their policy makers to be responsive, available and transparent. Voters want their policy makers to advocate for accomplishments that are smart and effective. Voters want to be part of government, the conversation and the decisions.


Deborah Ruggiero Deborah Ruggiero I promise to continue my tradition of holding constituent meetings throughout the district so we can continue our conversations. I promise to be available when you want government to respond to your needs. I promise to govern thoughtfully and honestly in the future as I have in the past.

Thank you for your vote on Nov. 6.

House District 74 Candidates

Deborah Ruggiero

60, single

Resident of Jamestown 32 years

Owner, DR Communications Group

It’s an honor to serve as your State Representative for Middletown and Jamestown.

I serve so seniors, children, the business community and working families have a voice at the table. Because if you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu!


Rebecca Schiff Rebecca Schiff As a successful business woman (owner of advertising firm), broadcaster, and a community leader my communication skills allow me to frame important policy issues. I work across the aisle because we all want the same things—good schools for our kids, less regulation on small business, and affordable senior housing. Our ideologies may separate us, but our dreams and hopes bring us together.

As an independent fighter, I will continue to listen, be responsive, and stand up for what’s important. I’m leading a charge to change the way business is done at the State House. We need a change in House Leadership and a change in the House Rules so bills are not rushed to the floor in the final days of session. I’m working with good government groups to frame some common sense policy.

My 4 E’s have been the cornerstone of my legislative work – ELDERLY, EDUCATION, ECONOMY, and ENVIRONMENT. I’m proud of my Renewable Energy legislation that has created solar and wind energy alternatives for municipalities, business and homeowners; the Green Economy has created over 12,000 jobs today in our state.


Ken Mendonça Ken Mendonça There’s more to be done. One of my 2019 legislative initiatives includes working with the RI Manufacturers and environmental groups on a sustainability policy. It’s a pebble-in-the-pond approach that creates ripples that reach beyond our market ecosystem. We also need legislation to lower prescription drug costs for our seniors.

I will continue to listen, be responsive and accountable to you. I welcome your input and ideas. Together we are successful! I appreciate your vote on Nov. 6.

Rebecca Schiff

55, single

Resident of Jamestown 6 years


Terri Cortvriend Terri Cortvriend Small business owner, educator

I am running to bring new leadership and fresh ideas to the State House because the status quo is not working. That is why I support term limits, limiting state representatives to serve no more than four terms or 8 years. That is sufficient time to effect change and good government.

Rhode Island is 45th in the nation for a business climate because it is too challenging for business owners; 48th in the nation for retirement because we have no senior housing; we still tax social security and military pensions. Property taxes in Middletown are too high while school programs are being cut. Our crumbling roads and bridges are in need of repair. 70 percent of our graduates leave Rhode Island. There is a $9.6 billion dollar state budget and taxpayers are not getting adequate services because fiscal accountability is missing. We will do better with new representation.


Marvin Abney Marvin Abney As your State Representative, I will create economic opportunities and more affordable living conditions, including affordable senior housing and repealing the tax on social security, military pensions, and the death tax. I will concentrate on making government work for the people: ensuring government agencies provide quality services, like affordable transportation for seniors; and ending late night State House legislation pushes. I will encourage our youth to stay in Rhode Island with meaningful internships, apprenticeships, and good paying jobs by working directly with small and large businesses.

If these issues are not addressed by the legislature, I will take them directly to the people. I will not be hampered by party control or affiliation. I will be the change agent that proposes affordable living conditions and Term Limits because the peoples’ needs come first. As your State Representative, I will champion voter issues and ensure government works for all citizens.


David Quiroa David Quiroa House District 72 Candidates

Ken Mendonça

52, married, one daughter

Resident of Portsmouth 22 years

Defense industry engineer

High cost of living – In 2016 the general assembly enacted legislation to eliminate the tax on pension and retirement income on the first $15,000 of income with caps on revenue. R.I. ranks the 48th worst places to retire based on affordability. We need to curb our wasteful spending and shift the net funds gained to resume the phase out of the tax on pension and retirement income.

Perception of a corrupt statehouse - I am a co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill to create an Office of Inspector General. The IG will provide a vehicle for the oversight on spending and for the reporting of fraud, waste and abuse. The Massachusetts IG program has recouped hundreds of millions of dollars for their taxpayers.


Dawn Euer Dawn Euer Fragile economic climate – In May 2018, members of the House Finance Committee received an update that revenues were up primarily based on the federal tax cuts and overall national hot economy. We must be very cautious to ensure that any legislation that will hurt the business climate and the economy is well vetted. The Providence Chamber of Commerce and Hospitality Association of RI PACs have recognized my work with their support.

Poor condition of the roadways –For two years, I have questioned RIDOT Director Alviti before House Finance Committee to ensure that needed repairs are being made per specifications and that the taxpayers funds are being spent wisely.

School aid reduction – Portsmouth and Middletown had their school aid cut by multi-millions of dollars under current school aid formula.


Louis DiPalma Louis DiPalma The aid that was cut was shipped up state to other cities and towns.

Property taxes in both towns were increased to make up the difference.

A committee is being formed to look at the next version of the formula. It is imperative that the committee includes benchmarks to reward high performing districts with additional aid.

Terri Cortvriend

56, widow, one daughter

Resident of Portsmouth 23 years

Owner of Ocean Link, Inc

Portsmouth School Committee: 10 years

I believe as a state representative your first priority is to the people of the district. As the representative of district 72 I pledge to be accessible to constituents and to increase the opportunities for constituents to communicate their needs and concerns with their representative.


Amy Veri Amy Veri Education will be my number 1 priority. Parents are concerned about the quality of schools and that the schools are properly funded. Through my service on the school committee I have learned how to balance the needs of the school district with the concerns of the taxpayers. I understand that our community’s value is closely tied to the quality of our schools and that reductions in state aid have put stress on both the Middletown and Portsmouth School districts. We need a representative who will advocate for review of the funding formula in order to gain economic parity with our urban sister cities.

Both younger and older people are concerned that they will not be able to afford to remain in our community due to the lack of affordable housing. The growth of AirBnB’s has exacerbated this problem.

People in district 72 are also concerned about over development and the pressure it puts on our environment, our resources and infrastructure. Additionally we need to ensure that our infrastructure will be resilient in the face of sea level rise.

I believe as a state representative your first priority is to the people of the district. As the representative of district 72 I pledge to be accessible to constituents and to increase the opportunities for constituents to communicate their needs and concerns with their representative. I ask for your vote on Nov. 6.

Senate District 73 Candidates

Marvin Abney

68, married, 3 children

Resident of Newport 22 years

Retired Army Officer

Since my election in 2012 and subsequent appointment as Chair of the RI House Finance Committee (responsible for State’s Budget adoption process) in 2016, I have focused on what my constituents consider most important to them: taxes, jobs/economy, veteran’s affairs, education, and constituent issues relative to State government. Working with colleagues, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, we have addressed very difficult issues facing our state.

Despite the daily rhetoric of doom and gloom, we’ve established a foundation from which we can improve the standard of living for all Rhode Islanders, certainly those in District 73. There are no “quick fixes” or “one size fits all” solutions to decades of ineffective general leadership. The most effective approach is one that is balanced, clearly defined, strategically developed, technically and tactfully implemented, monitored and adjusted over a predictable period of time.

The process for which I am responsible has produced three straight State balanced budgets, reduced our corporate tax rates, increased minimum wages at incremental predictable levels, decreased minimum corporate taxes two years in a row, and eliminated state income taxes on certain categories of retirement income and begun phasing out the car tax. The process has also funded a state of the art Veterans Retirement Home, funded senior citizens service grants, strategically funded green economy and clean water initiatives, provided for 21st century job training opportunities and provided much needed assistance to our Health and Human Services ,responsibilities which care for some of our State’s most vulnerable population.

I am running to advance these and more causes in a balanced and responsible manner. My constituents are my extended family. They, like my family, are diverse, feisty and deserve a local community and state in which to live, love and prosper. I respectfully ask for your vote on Nov. 6.

David Quiroa

46, married, 5 children

Cranston Dept. of Senior Services

It’s more than clear to every taxpayer that our political class and leadership have failed us all. Even within the political class there are voices echoing and confirming the lack of political fortitude and valor. A few weeks back, Representative Deb Ruggiero told the Providence Journal: “It’s time for change, what we need is a leadership team in the House that is focused on issues, respects women, and will bring bills to the floor in timely manner.” I could not agree more with Representative Ruggiero, as the current political climate is costing us both politically and economically.

The current political situation has been a rubber-stamp for the Speaker and district 73 has been left without representation – this is why I’m running – to restore representation. In the past year seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities were left to their own peril when they all lost their free bus pass that allowed them to go to their medical appointments and attend senior centers and the political class did nothing to help them.

I will bring true representation to the district and will not be a puppet for anyone. I will fight to bring the proper level of services to those who truly need them and I will cut waste. I will work to install the office of Inspector General, to keep an eye and stop unlawful and unnecessary spending. I will work for the governor to have the power of line-item veto, in order to stop special interests from overriding the will of voters. A 10 billion dollar budget is too much.

As a husband and father of five children, I ask for your support this coming Nov. 6. I’m a professional in the area of Senior Services and serve as Assistant Director for the Cranston Department of Senior Services.

Senate District 13 Candidates

Dawn Euer

39, single

Resident of Newport 9 years

Attorney/small business owner

RI District 13: 2017 – present

My role in the Senate has been a wonderful opportunity to serve the people of Jamestown, Newport, and Rhode Island. After being elected in 2017’s special election, I focused my efforts on issues that would make a positive impact on the residents of my district. I held five community meetings and introduced 27 bills, 19 of which passed the Senate, and co-sponsored over 100 bills. I worked on legislation to: protect our coast from offshore drilling and expand the residential rooftop solar program, streamline food truck regulations, make it easier for our seniors to stay in their homes as they age, and improve the state whistleblower law.

I’m proud of my legislative accomplishments so far, and yet there is much left to do. I have heard from people who are frustrated because they don’t feel that government is working for them and I know how they feel. However, I also believe that government can do good things: support small business growth, protect our environment and natural resources, advance civil rights, and work to ensure that no one gets left behind. We can only accomplish these things if there are good people in government working hand in hand with the communities they serve. We need more than talking points and buzzwords to address these challenges. We need leaders who are rooted in our communities and have a proven track record of creating positive change in Jamestown, Newport and Rhode Island. That’s why I’m running for re-election to the State Senate!

Matthew Perry

43

Resident of Newport 4 years

Retired military

Candidate did not respond to our request for election statement.

Senate District 12 Candidates

Louis DiPalma

57, married, two daughters

Resident of Middletown 33 years

Chief Engineer at Raytheon

Middletown Town Council

2004 –2008: RI District 12: 2009 – present

From my continued and frequent interaction with constituents during my terms in office and from visiting the thousands of homes and multiple thousands of residents in District 12, during the last few months, what I frequently hear as the most pressing issue facing the District is the state’s fiscal climate which impacts us all. Typically the conversation centers on our state’s annual budget and our state’s economy/jobs climate.

It is critical we continue to address proactively our state’s structural budget deficits, which we have done over the last several years, while at the same time making critical, targeted investments in jobs/economy and education, specifically Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), transportation infrastructure and needed services for our state’s most vulnerable populations, including those with intellectual/developmental disabilities, children in the care of the state, and our seniors.

With respect to addressing our structural deficits, which we have effectively done over the last 5 years, we have expended significant effort with re-inventing Medicaid, where we’re now saving greater than $70M annually, while maintaining eligibility criteria and associated rates for necessary services. It is paramount we ensure government is running efficiently and effectively. Only then can we ensure that we are getting the most out of our collective tax dollar.

While we have proactively addressed this and progress is being made, more remains to be accomplished. Growing our economy will afford us the ability to lessen the tax burden on all the residents of District 12. Additionally, working toward achieving municipal shared services will allow us to ultimately lower property taxes, which benefits all the residents of District 12.

Amy Veri

36, single

Resident of Little Compton 23 years

Attorney

I am running for State Senate, District 12 (Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton) because Rhode Island has a nearly $10 billion dollar budget and a population of just over 1 million people. Our roads are crumbling, our schools are unsafe, the state is ranked at the bottom of lists where it should be at the top, and the question is: where is our money going?

The current leadership continues to raise taxes, fees and impose regulations without any accountability. Many of those at the statehouse have held their positions for years, and the problems in Rhode Island have not improved. My opponent, Lou DiPalma, has held his seat for 10 years. Rhode Island cannot improve until new leaders are elected.

I want to improve Rhode Island. I support reducing the state’s tax rates for businesses and individuals below those of Massachusetts and Connecticut. This will make Rhode Island competitive and more attractive to businesses and people looking to relocate. It will reduce the burden placed upon Rhode Islanders and businesses, making it easier and more affordable for them to remain here.

I support earmarking casino and sports betting revenue for schools and infrastructure, rather than sending it to the general fund (never to be seen again). Earmarking will eliminate the need for tolls and tax hikes, and ensure that the revenue is used for its intended purpose.

I support having an independent inspector general audit state government and the general fund. Wasteful spending needs to stop, and the first step is knowing where our tax dollars are going.

On Nov. 6, 2018, vote Amy for State Senate! The Veri improvement RI needs.

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