2008-09-18 / Front Page

Perry wants better state fiscal management

By Donna Perry

Donna Perry Donna Perry People have asked me why I am running for state Senate. Why did I enter this race against a 16-year entrenched incumbent?

There are many reasons, but the top two are named Ginger and Nicky. Before I am anything else, am a mother to my two children. They are elementary schoolaged and I have long way to go to

raise them. I am grateful for the tight-knit and high-performing school community we enjoy here on Jamestown, filled with talented and dedicated teachers and other educators. As the parent of a special needs child, I have been involved in our town's special education local advisory committee for several years and want to see that program continue to adequately serve our special needs students.

As they grow in this beautiful, unique island community, I want them to experience the Rhode Island I knew. I grew up in Cranston, one of seven children, and at that time this was a state of middle class families, strong communities, and good public schools.

The state was never perfect, but we never felt it was in danger of being unable to pay for most basic services: local schools, the state universities, roads and community centers. But, I have great concern for my children's uncertain future in Rhode Island if we don't change course.

The leadership approach that has operated for decades in the General Assembly has led us to the brink of fiscal collapse.

It has led us to become the target of a federal U.S. Attorney's investigation of corruption within the assembly.

It has led us to be known as the state with among the worst business and tax climates in the country.

It has led to us having laws in place that give free healthcare to part-time legislators at a time when most families struggle with the cost of healthcare and many have family members who simply go without coverage altogether because they can't afford it.

It has led us to a structural deficit of half a billion dollars that threatens to swallow up our ability to pay for our needs and our children's future.

I am running because I would not call that a record of achievement.

I don't believe that gambling facilities and casinos should be the basis of our economy, locally or statewide.

My opponent, whose law firm represents Newport Grand, recuses herself from votes on the casino and therefore cannot represent the community's interests. Therefore, round the clock gambling on weekends and holidays was approved by the legislature and is now a fact of life for Newport, Jamestown and throughout the state.

I believe that Newport and Jamestown are already heavily burdened tourist communities that should not be subjected to any further expansion of gambling hours at Newport Grand that will only increase the crowds, traffic and other problems that go with 24-hour gambling.

I also do not believe this state can afford to become known as a safe haven for illegal immigrants. There was a sensible law that went before the General Assembly last year to address the issue of illegal immigrants in the workforce. It was called E-Verify. My opponent blocked it, I would support it.

Leadership in government is about choices.

It's about making hard decisions.

It's about recognizing the smallest state in the nation has no business trying to be the most generous, whether it's for union benefit packages or health benefits for lawmakers, or for benefits for those here illegally.

It is not because I believe we should lack compassion as a state. It is because, just like within your own family, when we overspend our resources, we run up debt and put other important spending priorities in jeopardy. When a legislator makes poor spending choices, he or she is bankrupting the rest of Rhode Island. The kind of families who've always paid their bills, paid their taxes, played by the rules and all they've ever expected in return was some basics from their government: good performing schools, good roads and infrastructure and good communities.

A bankrupt state will not be able to adequately fund its schools and universities and colleges, leaving our children with inferior educations when compared to neighboring states.

A bankrupt state does not attract businesses and jobs that provide careers and financial stability to college grads and young people trying to start families. It drives your own college-educated son or daughter far away to distant, more prosperous states where they will raise their own children far from home and take their future earning power out of our state.

A bankrupt state, in short, will not resemble the Rhode Island we grew up in and hoped to see our children and children's children grow up in.

Choices in government have consequences.

I will work to make better choices for all of us.

For more information, visit www.donnaperryforsenate.com or call 423-0450.

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