Incumbents talk of accomplishments, goals
Republican incumbent Bruce Long will defend his seat in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, District 74, in the November election. He looks forward to continuing his work on state legislation that affects his constituents in Jamestown.
As a senior member of the minority caucus, Long sees the budget as the single most important issue of government. He criticizes previous techniques of using windfalls to balance the state's wallet and has supported recent structural changes. One way to ease local tax burdens is to require state mandates be funded by the state and not by the local community, Long said. "Anytime Jamestown is required to pay for a service, property taxes go up."
On a local level, Long has been involved in legislation to deal with cumulative impact problems with septic and well water due to a concentration of inappropriate overdevelopment.
The passage of a bill sponsored by Long initiated the Department of Environmental Management to rewrite policies to protect sensitive areas like the Jamestown Shores. "As of January, septic system rules are much more stringent now," Long said. "DEM has gotten the message that we want to look at each application closely. People have a right to develop their lots in an appropriate fashion. But DEM is now looking at the entire topography, and that's been positive."
Long fought the introduction of a container port from the moment it was proposed by then Gov. Lincoln Almond. "Little did I know a year later I'd be in a race to represent Jamestown, a community that would be very affected by that development." A positive result of legislation introduced by Long secured a Jamestown representative as a voting member of the board for the Quonset Development Corporation.
Long continues the fight for safe and sustainable development. He has become involved with talks between Jamestown and the state offi ce of energy resources to explore funding for wind energy development on the island. He supports natural gas as a fuel source, but opposes the location of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility along the densely populated coast. "Wherever they site along Narragansett Bay, it's a danger."
Long agrees that a change in government is needed and in how leadership functions. "Adding another majority seat to the majority party does not represent change. It represents the status quo."
Long co-sponsored a bill to allow voters have easy access to any legislators complete voting record. "Technology is available. With some organization, information access could be available to voters as well. I have no problem with anyone reviewing my complete voting record," Long said.
Long is owner of Del's Lemonade of Middletown and was elected to represent Jamestown in 2002, but has been in the House since 2008. He is married to Jane and has two children, Jessica and Jamie and three step-children.
Teresa Paiva Weed
State Senator M. Teresa Paiva Weed focuses her ever-strengthening influence in Rhode Island government by seeking re-election in November. The Democrat for District 13 is in her fifth year as senate majority leader, the first woman in state history to serve in this capacity.
Before her election to the senate in 1992, Paiva Weed began her career in government as assistant city solicitor in Newport, a position she held for nine years. Her long list of accomplishments in legislation spans a spectrum of issues from recycling to underage drinking. "I believe we all must be ever-vigilant to the issues we think are beneficial to us and the issues that can be detrimental to us."
In an attempt to curb spending in the state, Paiva Weed succeeded in initiating and getting passed a bill which calls for a tax levy cap. Other bills she supports target alternative ways to improve recycling, which would save money. Or even create revenue for communities. "We need to focus on renewable energy as part of our environment and economic future."
Paiva Weed also co-sponsored the renewable energy bill that requires a percentage of the state's energy consumption to come from sustainable resources. She has been instrumental in assisting Jamestown in discussions with the Department of Energy Resources about funding wind turbine projects. "Jamestown can produce 50 percent of its energy with two turbines." She says a bill recently passed will allow excess energy produced to be sold at the same price bought. "It's a big win for Jamestown."
The senator supports responsible siting of liquid natural gas facilities, rather than allowing plans that would affect a "floating time bomb." She attended scoping meetings put on by the Federal Energy Resources Council testing opposition. "We have to win every round. If we lose even one battle, we may lose completely."
Paiva Weed says it is "beyond my understanding" that parents act as a social host, allowing their children and friends to drink. She is convinced that not only are stiffer penalties in order, but education is also needed in a culture that has legitimatized underage drinking. "Legislation doesn't change a culture. It's education. We need to be out there every day, talking with parents in communities." She reviewed the news tape of a Channel 12 interview with the Mackerel Cove lifeguard charged with drinking. "The cavalier attitude that she put forth was scary. It is a compelling message, not just to parents in Jamestown to but to parents throughout the state."
She remains committed to an education funding formula to streamline spending and strengthen educational programs. A bill she helped pass established a branch of the Community College of Rhode Island, with a 21st Century work force commission, for the benefit of Newport County.
An attorney with Moore, Virgadamo and Lynch, Ltd., Paiva Weed lives in Newport with her husband, Mark.