2012-11-01 / News

Candidate statements – Rhode Island Senate



In a recent Brown poll, only 5 percent of respondents said the economy in Rhode Island was good or excellent. Only 26 percent said the senate president (my opponent) was doing a good or excellent job. Rhode Island is consistently ranked as one of the worst states to do business, and in the two years since I first ran for this office, unemployment has dropped from 10.8 percent to 10.5 percent, and is still one of the highest rates in the country.

In 2012, the economy is the only issue. Everything else is window dressing or distraction.

Rhode Island has to change the way it does business. We have to attract companies who want to grow here. Our geographical position on the East Coast between New York and Boston should have us thriving, yet the economy remains stagnant, while our nei
GEOFF COOK GEOFF COOK ghbors in Connecticut and Massachusetts have unemployment rates hovering around 6 percent.

If elected, I would work to improve the image of the state.

First, something is wrong with the education of our children. Be it unengaged parents who haven’t prepared their children for school and learning, or a problem with how they are being taught (we throw enough funding at the schools so money isn’t the issue), we need our students to be prepared and have the skills to compete in the global workplace.

Second, the state has put in place tax reforms that encourage business to come here, like removing the $500 minimum inventory tax or reducing the gas tax, which would make transportation costs cheaper. Also, lowering the sales tax to compete with our neighbors is an idea.

Third, regulations and permitting.

There needs to be a thorough review, and streamlining of the process a new business has to go through to be able to open in the state. Too much time and money is wasted by having to go to different departments in state government to ensure a company stays on the right side of the law. For many they don’t even bother.

Madness is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result. My opponent has been in the State House for 20 years. I think it’s time for a new direction, and I hope you will vote for me this Tuesday.



It has been an honor to represent the town of Jamestown in the Rhode Island Senate. We have faced one of our most challenging sessions the last two years. Some of the decisions we made were diffi cult but necessary in an effort to change the direction of our state.

As your senator, despite these challenging times for our state and our country, I have promoted our vision for a better Rhode Island by sponsoring and ensuring passage of legislation that will improve Rhode Island’s economic competitiveness. The passage of comprehensive pension reform preserved the financial integrity of the pension system for retirees, saved Newport and Jamestown $3 million this year alone, and enabled the state to maintain investments in human services, education an

I have led the effort to help local businesses through the passage and preservation of the sales-tax exemption on boats, encouraging biodiesel fuel production, and defeating proposals to increase taxes on restaurant meals. Working together, in a bipartisan effort, the legislature restructured the tax system, reducing state taxes for 75 percent of Rhode Islanders.

We have taken the first steps to reduce the regulatory burdens on businesses through the creation of the office of regulatory reform and passage of legislation to update the fire code, ensuring flexibility and lower costs for businesses to comply. We funded a new, online municipal permitting system to reduce bureaucratic hurdles of running a business. I am committed to continuing to work together with the business community to improve the economic climate in our state.

I was pleased to be a partner in the efforts to secure $75 million in federal funding to improve our schools, additional federal funding to improve early learning, and new efforts to improve workforce development.

I worked to restore funding to the developmentally disabled and nursing homes, ensuring the preservation of high-quality patient care.

I have and will continue to maintain my commitment to open government, exemplified this year by expanding access to public records statewide and the passage of legislation requiring disclosure by political PACs in campaigns.

I have been proud to be a strong voice for Jamestown residents, such as by bringing resident rates to E-ZPass on the Pell Bridge. I led efforts to keep open local branches of the departments of motor vehicles and human services. I also fought successfully for an increase in state payment in lieu of taxes funding. I will continue to advocate strongly for our community at the State House.

I have worked to increase recycling, protect Narragansett Bay, and bring a strategic vision for renewable energy development to our state. I also established a fisheries task force to find ways to help this vital Ocean State industry.

There is still more to do. I will work tirelessly, as I have in the past, to protect the taxpayers of Jamestown.

I have been honored to serve as your state senator and respectfully ask for your support on Nov. 6.

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