Issues

This is our campaign to make state government work better for us. Our strength is in our diversity, our education, finance and research centers, our small businesses, our medical programs and construction industry. Our future depends on our open access to government leaders and departments. And our future and the future of all those that we love depends on how we take care of our environment. We can have a strong economy free of fossil fuels, reduced energy costs, and a healthy and prosperous society if we work together. I can make that happen. My top priorities as Governor include:

  • Social justice that includes all of us participating in democracy and the decision making process; strengthening our communities through infrastructure development, mentorships and work study programs; a sustainable economy that encourages small business expansion and the development of co-ops as an alternative to the business-as-usual model;
  • Giving teachers the 21st century curriculum tools that grab kids attention, motivating students to be life long learners
  • Training our workforce and those who become unemployed as entrepreneurs, owners and business leaders
  • Balancing our state budget
  • An end to the truck tolls
  • A reduction in the cost of energy and reducing energy use in our state
  • Mandating that everyone has an equal chance of procuring state programs, state and municipal purchases and construction projects.

In my administration no-one will be left behind. In my administration it is People and Policy Over Politics.

 

Jobs

Transitioning to an uncertain future

I am an education champion for jobs today and for the future:

  • green energy jobs
  • wind and solar projects
  • updating our electric grid and reducing our energy use
  • new controlling software for driverless vehicles
  • energy efficiency using existing programs before they get scooped again
  • reducing the cost of energy by small businesses using existing programs
  • changing tax structures for innovation instead of any job at any cost

“Green energy” is the fastest growing sector for job creation. Providing education at any age as job skills are changing rapidly is a priority. Rhode Island can be a leader in electric engines, battery storage, and driverless vehicles on land or in our ocean. To keep improving our skill levels of all Rhode Islanders, as Governor I will champion:

  • mentorship programs
  • retraining workers to be owners, entrepreneurs and business leaders
  • reducing state sales tax
  • reducing incorporation fees
  • making it easier to form co-ops and other owner arrangements
  • installing a cabinet position to support worker owned businesses
  • demanding that the 10% RI laws as they relate to state procurement and state purchasing be followed
  • tax incentives for those who take courses at one of state colleges

All of these are essential for a healthy and productive economy. No one should be left behind in education for a skill or job of the 21st century.

 

Private business incentives

No give away programs to the wealthy

38 Studios and ball parks should not be the focus of state giveaway programs. Placing state pension funds into high risk hedge funds or highly speculative stocks should never have happened. State funding of corporations through tax incentive programs or paying for jobs while ignoring existing small businesses is never a good strategy:

  • tax payer money should not subsidize corporations
  • end corporate welfare to billionaires
  • support existing small and medium Rhode Island businesses by providing them with no or low-interest loans
  • RI income state incentives for training that moves workers to be owners, entrepreneurs and business leaders
  • reducing small business energy use through efficiency and alternatives to fossil fuels.

Our state should support co-ops and other ownership types that moves wealth to the people who created it.

 

Small Businesses

The newly released Economic Progress Institute report supports how we as a state should view education, but we must never forget Rhode Island’s small businesses. While the Economic Progress Institute report stresses the need for education at all ages, strengthening Rhode Island’s small businesses is critical: 

  • modernize existing business regulations
  • increase English as a second language courses for all workers in need
  • create a new model for workers' compensation insurance
  • train our workforce and those who become unemployed as entrepreneurs, owners and business leaders
  • reduce the small business tax burden
  • incentivize small businesses to provide opportunities for pre-apprentice, mentor and apprenticeship programs.

All these and more will help improve our economy and the continued viability of small businesses in the state.

 

Social Justice

An intrinsically social virtue

Justice denied for one is justice denied for everyone. Our values of justice are one of equality under the law, principled by resolute fervor, tempered by compassion and understanding. This campaign brings all groups together - Democrats, BernieCrats, Our Revolution, Indivisible, Latino’s, RIBBA, DSA, LGBTQ - united for the common good:

  • eliminate zones of sacrifice in our cities and rural areas
  • elimination of many of the obstacles to government access
  • promoting public discourse and encouraging active participation
  • willingness to improve inclusion. No walls or barriers
  • the end of silence as a form of solving issues
  • Rhode Island is my home. You will have a full time Governor.

We must never choose one population over another based on what they believe, where they live or their place of origin.

 

Reproductive Rights

Reproductive rights are human rights

In this political era when issues can segment and divide our society, culture and politics, when it comes to reproductive rights there are principles that are universal. At the outset, I believe that reproductive rights are basic human rights that transform into basic health care. No matter color or creed, level of education, birth place or where one calls home, reproductive rights are for everyone. And every health care plan must include reproductive rights.

  • I believe that a woman needs to direct her own life and make healthy choices for her own body. There is no substitute. 
  • Reproductive rights is a private discussion between doctor and patient
  • I am pro choice
  • Policies that restrict women from seeking reproductive health care advice should be eliminated. 
  • Contraception should be free, available and free from censorship allowing doctors and care providers to talk freely about contraception and choices that lead to a healthy life.

 

Environment

Stewardship as a way of life

When I was young of age, my environment was my backyard, the school grounds, parks and a neighborhood playground. Small backyard farms of immigrant families, majestic trees, fields graced in what is now the North End of Providence. I have volunteered and worked tirelessly for nearly 30 years in land use policy, water quality, land conservation, biodiversity and saving our sense of place. Rhode Islanders love their special places. We are all environmentalists. I know this from past voter approval for Open Space, Agricultural and Recreation bond referendums. Which RI city is the highest voter approval for open space bond referendums?

Here is what you will get if I am elected:

  • the full attention of an individual devoted to how we interact with our environment
  • I will tell the truth about our environment and not be afraid to speak it
  • I will be your voice, your advocate speaking on your behalf against offshore drilling, fracked gas methane infrastructure projects that require local, state and federal oversight
  • a land use policy advocate that will promote low impact designs, conservation easements as a means of estate planning, and one who will fight the fossil fuel industry in their attempts to put Profit over people
  • an environmental, social justice and working families advocate and voice for people who have none.

Rhode Islanders love their special places. We are all environmentalists. I know this from past voter approval for Open Space, Agricultural and Recreation bond referendums. Since 2004 Rhode Island voters have approved land saving bond referendums by over 60%. Which RI city is the highest voter approval for open space bond referendums? The answer is Central Falls.

 

Balancing the State Budget

When is enough, enough?

Our state budget is out of control. Balancing the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it while giving tax breaks to those who can most afford it is immoral. We deserve better. Here is what we need to do:

  • hire an Independent Auditor for the state
  • give the Governor line item veto power
  • reduce spending to the House and Senate for our part time legislature
  • reinstate the top tax rate from 5.99% to 9.9%
  • place a sales tax on liquor and alcohol
  • eliminate the truck toll
  • eliminate the co-pays for those on Medicaid

Reducing expenditures in state government will increase public trust.

 

Minimum wage

Its just a start

A good start is the gradual increase over five years of the minimum wage to make it a living wage. $15/hour is a good start for Rhode Island to retain good skilled workers. $15/hour has advantages:

  • provides workers a living wage
  • higher paid workers perform more and better
  • workers earning $15/hour have more to spend
  • reduces wage disparity between rich and poor
  • $15/hour takes away risk factors of abuse

This is a good progressive approach to needed change in our state.

 

Affordable Housing

Everyone should have a place to call home

I support affordable housing and an integrated approach to statewide housing policy that ensures healthy, quality homes in a variety of locations. I support:

  • home ownership for first time owners
  • changing living arrangements that include zoning changes for other than in-law apartments
  • affordable rentals
  • rehabilitating abandoned and blighted housing
  • policies that promote healthy homes free of lead exposure
  • policies that place many affordable homes near existing transportation, jobs, good schools, healthy whole foods, and supportive services
  • incentivizing cities and towns that are capable of handling the added housing
  • improving schools, transportation needs and jobs in these areas
  • zoning changes to include “smaller” or “tiny” homes

 

Criminal Justice reform

We must end the statehouse and school to prison pipeline

I recognize that our current system of mass incarceration, new crimes and mandatory sentencing and our excessive probation rate are not effectively achieving our goals despite great taxpayer expense. I support efforts to do the following:

  • advocate the recommendations of the RI ACLU New Report called Statehouse to Prison Pipeline
  • work with the legislature to reduce the number of criminal offense laws
  • reduce the growth in our incarcerated population by prioritizing probation supervision resources and expanding funding to community-based programs with the goal of reducing recidivism
  • as much as possible, providing the accused resources to reduce recidivism and reduce repeat offenders
  • provide schools the resources for early intervention from K thru 12
  • provide parents and caregivers resources and support for intervention early on in the life of a child
  • provide educators, social services, religious and secular organizations the resources and support for early intervention in the life of a child
  • asking all stakeholders to review state laws so that prison sentencing is the last resort.

I support the efforts of our local law enforcement agencies to foster lasting and quality community relationships. I respect and honor our local and state police officers and will include them in all collaboration and cooperative efforts with all stakeholders.

 

Legalize marijuana

Reducing dependence on all drugs

Marijuana should be removed from the criminal justice system and regulated like alcohol and tobacco. Removing the criminalization of marijuana will bring one of the nation's largest cash crops under the rule of law, will create jobs and economic opportunities and reduce corrections and court costs.

 

Homelessness & poverty

Stop treating people as statistics.

No one should have to live or raise a family in poverty. No one should be compelled to sleep on the streets or not know where their next meal is coming from. Successful agencies will be strengthened. The cost for helping those in need will never be considered.

  • I support a $15/hour minimum wage
  • ensure equal pay for equal work
  • never choose between a paycheck and caring for our own health or the health of a loved one
  • continue to support workers right to earn a reasonable number of paid sick days

I will advocate for tax policies that support the middle class and support working families instead of the wealthy few.

 

United Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP)

RI needs a fully integrated eligibility system

Implementing UHIP has been a terrible bruise for the State. Fixing the problem is akin to fixing a flat tire while going 60 miles per hour. To start, the long lines for food stamps must end. Use the old system or paper and pencil and give those in need their federally mandated help. We can look long and hard at misguided and inaccurate project management pointing fingers to a host of individuals. But the food stamp lines will still be long. Our state deserves someone who knows project management and can make this issue right.

 

Pension reform

A promise made is a promise kept

Our state needs a leader who will fix the current pension mess. More stakeholder meetings, greater transparency as to what happened, a release of all state documents from 2010 to 2016 regarding moving pension funds to highly risky hedge funds.

  • require full disclosure of fund management practices
  • demand state to compensate loss of pension funds from existing investments
  • conduct an audit of all pension accounts

 

Charter School vs public schools 

Public schools deserve more

Our educational system in Rhode Island needs help and support from a variety of stakeholders that includes teachers, parents, administrators, city and town council and the community. Teachers need more support not less.

  • condense RI school districts into 4 to 5
  • place money from administrative savings back into schools
  • move charter schools into public schools and work within the public school framework
  • stop teaching to the test
  • increase speciality classes for all students by creating schools that draw a diversity of teachers
  • educate children of today to be life-long learners

Public education is cost effective, accessible, diverse with a wide array of academic and athletic opportunities and services. My mission is to promote the opportunities, reduce municipal cost by eliminating duplicative administrations and always advocating for excellence.

 

RIPTA

Let’s make RIPTA rides free for all state residents outside of peak hours. Ads, sponsorships, the car tax, the carbon tax, all can help pay for RIPTA. The gasoline tax already pays for nearly a quarter of RIPTA costs. Shifting school bus expenses to RIPTA revenues can also help offset expenses. The RI Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council listed transportation as number one for air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Rider revenues provide a sixth of all expenses/revenues of the $135million annual expense. We have to take bold steps and make RIPTA free for state residents after morning and evening peak.

 

Second Amendment Rights

The gun debate is polarized. We must find middle ground. Second Amendments rights must be preserved. I do recognize second amendment rights but we must come together in our opposition to guns in schools. I support the following:

  • Instant background checks to prevent firearms from finding their way into the hands of criminals and the mentally ill
  • a federal ban on all assault and rapid fire weapons
  • a nationwide ban on high-capacity magazines of over ten rounds,
  • nationwide expanded background checks that address unsafe loopholes with remaining gun control legislation in the hands of individual States.