2012-11-01 / News

Candidate statements – R.I. House of Representatives


ANTHONY MASTROSTEFANO

Republican

Sometimes a person needs to step up. Rhode Island has had a double-digit unemployment rate since 2009. We are losing both population and businesses. Our cities and towns are teetering on insolvency and economists estimate it will take seven years for our employment rate to return to 2007 levels. I decided to run for state representative because I have not seen our government take effective action to address these problems.

This year, once aga
ANTHONY MASTROSTEFANO ANTHONY MASTROSTEFANO in, the Democrat controlled legislature will declare this is a race on issues. The foremost issue in 2012 will be the same as it was in 2010: the economy. To them, issues are a wonderful thing. You can run on them, win, and then do nothing to solve them. In the next election, you can run on them again. During the 2010 election we had the third worst unemployment in the nation. Now it’s the 2nd worst. CNBC ranked our business environment 48th in 2008, 49th in 2010 and 50th in 2012. After two years of the politics of issues, our economy has worsened.

My campaign will be about solutions. I am qualified. I was born into a Rhode Island family business that my dad started in 1946 that my brother and I still run. I have a master’s degree in business administration, which means I understand business, and a bachelor’s degree in engineering, which means that I have been trained in problem solving. I know firsthand the challenges that Rhode Island businesses face every day. Most importantly, I have a clear understanding of what the problem is with Rhode Island’s economy and what needs to be done to fix it.

The correct answer for Rhode Island’s economy lies in its business environment. We can no longer focus on a single business or industry as a means of bypassing the hard work that needs to be done to make Rhode Island flourish. Nor can we kid ourselves into believing that some building, property, educational foundation, highway or government agency will magically transform our economy. To drastically change our economic environment from worst-in-thenation status, we must drastically change our policies. Incremental steps, half steps or politically safe steps will only keep our state’s work force suppressed. To change, we must change.

Policies on corporate income and capital gains tax must be addressed. The negative regulatory climate, high energy costs and excessive health-insurance mandates must be changed. Personal income tax, estate tax, property tax and excise taxes must be lowered. The changes must be great enough to have an impact. We are looking to be noticed as a state on the move and not one haplessly clinging to the status quo.

I have created a website: JobsForRI.com. Please take some time to look it over. You will find details in it. If you agree with my reasoning, goals and polices, please support me. If we want Rhode Island to prosper, our government must stop looking at the business community as a source of revenue. They must view them as a source of jobs.


DEB RUGGIERO

Democrat

I’m honored to serve as your state rep for Jamestown. I’ve been responsive, accessible and accountable. My priorities are the 4 E’s: economy, education, elderly and environment.

My strength is my ability to connect people and work collaboratively to create good public policy.

I was asked to co-chair the port commission, where we expanded short-sea shipping, retail and business development at Quonset.

My work with DEM in local food promotion cultivates the agriculture 
DEB RUGGIERO DEB RUGGIERO and fishing industries. These green and blue industries are a bright spot in our state’s economy contributing $1.7 billion dollars to an “outdoor economy.”

It’s about connecting consumers with farming and fishing, ensuring the sustainability of family farms for future generations. It’s important economically and environmentally.

Raising the estate tax in Rhode Island from $859,000 to $1 million is a bill I championed. This is a middle-class issue, a small-business issue, with more than 1,200 farms in Rhode Island, a concern for family farms.

I sponsored the Safe Schools Act, Rhode Island’s anti-bullying law, because no child should feel unsafe going to school.

As chair of the Small Business Renewable Energy Task Force, I convened government and small business to put forth cohesive renewable energy laws to create jobs and good environmental policy.

If elected, I’ll co-chair the petroleum advisory commission, which will look at the economic, health and environmental costs of our dependency on petroleum – 70 percent of petroleum in Rhode Island is used for transportation, accounting for one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions.

You can’t be pro-business and not be pro-education. We have a work skills gap problem in this state. Half the jobs are considered middle skill jobs, yet only 37 percent of the workforce has the skills to fill these good paying jobs in healthcare, information technology and the marine trades.

I support advancement in education funding and training young people in job skills. A CNA certifi- cate puts someone on the path to becoming a nurse. Rhode Island will have a shortage of nurses by 2018.

You have a real opportunity to help jump start Rhode Island’s economy and create jobs in the next year by supporting the bond issues.

Infrastructure improvements that will put people to work and boost our economy while preserving farmland, water quality and open space (Question 5 and 6). This is the underpinning for tourism, farms, jobs and quality of environment.

Money on the bond market is pretty cheap with interest rates at an historic low so debt service is low. The $20 million for clean water will leverage $100 million in federal dollars.

Question 7, the $25 million housing bond, will create construction jobs and affordable housing. In 2006, voters approved $50 million and it generated $800 million in economic activity, put neighbors to work, and built 1,200 affordable homes in 30 Rhode Island communities.

It’s your chance to be part of turning our economy around. I am honored to serve as your state rep.

I ask for your vote on Nov. 6.

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