2010-08-26 / Front Page

Independent candidate throws hat in ring for House seat

By Sam Bari

Dan Capuano Dan Capuano Jamestown resident Dan Capuano has entered the race for the R.I. House of Representatives as an independent candidate against incumbent Deb Ruggiero (D) and Anthony Mastrostefano (R).

Capuano, 70, is a native Rhode Islander who has lived in Jamestown for nearly a quarter of a century. He grew up in Cranston and attended public schools.

He has been an independent business owner for most of his adult life, and he presently owns an equipment leasing company.

He has four children, and four grandchildren. He and his girlfriend, Dolores Calebrese, have been together for 25 years.

Capuano – and his supporters – feel that his life experience and understanding of important issues give him the insight to offer practical solutions that would bring positive and effective changes that the state has long needed.

“The only campaign promise I will make is that I will work hard to represent the constituents in my district and give them what they want, need and deserve. I am not beholden to any party. Consequently, I have no personal agenda, and I am not bound by party lines.

“I will be a good representative because I understand the needs of the small businessman. I am one of them,” he said. “I will work hard for my constituents, but I won’t make any promises when I don’t know if I can keep them.

Capuano said he knows how it feels to re-mortgage his house to make payroll and not get a check himself.

“No business owner should have to experience that,” he said. “We must introduce legislation that is going to turn the economy around by creating profitable businesses and jobs. I know I can do that. All I want is a chance to do the will of the people and give them the best representation possible.”

If elected, Capuano said he would focus on several important issues.

“First, I would fight for agriculture by encouraging relief from the death tax. People inheriting farms should be able to keep their property as working farms, and not have to sell their farm or any portion to pay taxes.”

The second issue is mass transportation, he said.

“I would meet with the mayor of Boston to encourage connecting Aquidneck Island to Boston and eventually, Providence to Boston by light rail,” he said.

Capuano also said he would write legislation that would reduce taxes for investors.

“We want to attract investors,” he said. “So give them a tax break for their efforts. New independently held businesses need investors to get started, and businesses that are already here need help. Investors should be rewarded for investing in Rhode Island businesses, not penalized.”

It’s also important to remember that working businesses hire employees, Capuano said.

“Those people pay taxes. Without investors, there are no employees. Consequently, there are no taxes to pay,” he said. “Last month, the Rhode Island Board of Economic Development approved a $75 million guaranteed loan to Curt Schilling’s computer gaming company, 38 Studios. The company promised to employ 450 people by 2012.”

Capuano said he was “disappointed” by the board’s action.

“That money should have been spread around to help the other 3,500 small businesses that needed assistance. Giving it all to Schilling was a mistake,” he said.

Capuano also said that he would encourage the privatizing of all services, including schools, transportation, fire departments, police departments and jails.

“The state should not be in business. Privatize as much as possible. Private companies will provide the needed services much more effi- ciently than the state can,” he said.

He also said that he would encourage a tax cap, adding that when people are working, there are taxes to pay. A tax cap would make Rhode Island a much more attractive place to live, own a business or make an investment in a local business, he said.

“I believe that education money should be given to the students who need it, not the schools,” Capuano said. “What point is giving money to schools when students can’t afford to go there? Deserving students should get the assistance they need. No student should be strapped with a hundred thousand dollar debt when they graduate.”

Capuano said he believes the state should also avoid “sin” taxes.

“Putting a heavy tax on cigarettes and liquor does nothing but hurt the small businessman,” he said. “It causes people to go elsewhere to buy the things they want.”

“I will insist on creating an accountable and transparent budget. There is no reason for the public not knowing where every penny is spent,” he said. “I will also work with my colleagues to find a viable solution to health care reform that is fair to the medical community, as well as the patients.

“I also want to encourage people to get involved in their communities. Volunteer to be a mentor, contribute some time to worthwhile causes. This is your state and your government, give it all the help you can,” he said.

Additionally, Capuano wants voters to know that he strongly opposes the LNG terminal in Mt. Hope Bay.

“Those tankers have no business going up the Bay,” he said. “It is dangerous, inconvenient and unnecessary.”

Capuano also said that he wanted to discourage new taxes.

“There is no reason for it. If we jumpstart the economy and create jobs and profitable businesses, the state will have all the tax money it needs to run efficiently,” he said. “All I ask for is a chance. Give me a chance and I will work hard on your behalf.”

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