But Costa’s conservative credentials didn’t stop the local fire fighters’ union from throwing their support behind the tea party right-winger who sponsored a right-to-work bill in the state legislature.
“We haven’t had that conversation yet,” said Ray Furtado, president of IAFF 1651, which represents NK fire fighters, when I asked him about Costa’s support for right-to-work legislation. “We looked at who has been in our corner.”
That’s not how Dolan decided who to support.
The town council and fire fighters are mired in a bitter legal battle over staffing issues, and both House candidates have been advocating that the council drop its lawsuit. Furtado said “in no way, shape or form is this negative about Casimiro” noting they decided to endorse Costa before Casimiro decided to run.
Dolan said she broke ranks and backed a Democrat because “I have not been impressed with Doreen’s record.”
She said Costa’s allegiance to the NRA, her role in the Exeter recall election and her hyper-concern over holiday decorations have made her ineffective at representing the district. “We need to bring this party back to where it is more moderate,” Dolan said.
Costa accused Dolan of lying saying, “I had nothing to do with that Exeter recall.”
She also portrayed herself as a moderate. “People have me as this extremist and I find that very offensive,” she said. “I’m not as to the right as people think I am.”
At least not two weeks away from a general election, she’s not.
When asked why she sponsored a right-to-work bill, Costa said, “I did it because I was asked to do it.” At first she said she didn’t recall who asked her to sponsor this bill, and then she remembered, she said, that it was two union teachers whose names she did not know.
“It’s not something I would ever revisit,” Costa said about right-to-work legislation. “Not right now anyway.”
About her bill to drug test people who benefit from certain public subsidies, Costa said, “I still think it’s a good idea but I am not going to put it in again.”
She is still undecided about payday loan reform and raising the minimum wage, but she walked back her vote against same sex marriage. “If I had that to do over again, I would probably vote yes on marriage equality,” she said.
On guns, though, Costa said she’s as conservative as ever. “I will not change my mind on gun legislation.”
Casimiro chalked up Costa’s tack to the center as typical election-year politics. “I think Doreen is running scared right now,” she said.
But Casimiro also has a reputation for being a conservative – a conservative Democrat. “I am fiscally conservative,” she said.
She said she’s also pro-choice, pro-marriage equality and will support working class legislation. “I would absolutely raise the minimum wage,” Casimiro said. “It’s not a living wage.”
Casimiro is a board member of two charter schools in Rhode Island: Blakcstone Valley Prep in Cumberland and Southside Elementary in Providence. “It doesn’t make me anti-labor,” she said. “It means I’m pro-kid.” She added that she “works in some of the worst performing schools in the state” through her work with Family Services of Rhode Island.
Her husband is a Republican and she says she donated to Allan Fung’s first campaign for mayor of Cranston when they worked together at MetLife. This year Casimiro is voting for Gina Raimondo, whom she said she has been campaigning with. “I’m on Team Raimondo.”