I have decided to run for State Representative in District 52 (Cumberland) because our community deserves real representation at the State House. I will be an effective member of the General Assembly, and will spend time talking to my constituents in order to ensure that their concerns and ideas are heard.
My wife Laurette and I fell in love with Cumberland and Rhode Island when we first moved here 20 years ago. Being a computer engineering professor at URI, I am committed to seeing higher education thrive throughout the state, as well as the growth of the high-tech community in Providence and elsewhere.
It has been less than thrilling to see the state go through its seemingly never-ending fiscal crises. There are many difficulties in the state related to jobs, education and taxes – I call it a JET-focus. While taxes are cut for the wealthy, state aid to higher education has dropped, forcing the state colleges to raise tuition and eliminate qualified faculty positions. Even in-state students have difficulty making ends meet. The $75 million cost of the 38 Studios dilemma is now a burden for taxpayers, and small businesses and other high-tech start-ups wonder where the capital went and why some of it didn’t come to them. Marriage equality is still up in the air, women’s rights are under constant threat, and the DEM struggles to keep the environment safe from over-development.
While we all want to encourage entrepreneurship, start-ups could take years to generate a significant number of new jobs in a fiscally-sound way. I will work to encourage and expand existing targeted skills training in order to fill jobs now. We must also protect those who are currently employed. State/worker contracts have been unilaterally broken without need, without negotiations in good faith, and without justice.
Rhode Island’s tax structure desperately needs revisiting, and many of the taxes are unfairly distributed. The lost tax revenue due to specialized tax breaks is astonishing. Our seniors are caught between rising real estate taxes and their fixed incomes. I will work toward a more equitable tax code for our citizens.
Every year ill-informed legislation threatens women’s rights and their health. Government and politicians must not be involved in the private medical decisions of any citizen. Instead of putting people into one category or another, we need to respect the real-life decisions all of us face everyday. Civil liberties are fundamental, and should not be compromised.
While we need more jobs in this state and thus want new businesses to grow, it must not be at the expense of the environment. For example, the water quality in the Pawtucket Reservoir system is constantly threatened with nearby unsuitable land development. I will work for statewide zoning ordinances to protect our drinking water and other precious resources.
With problem-solving abilities I have honed over several decades, I will bring a different approach to the General Assembly. I will base decisions on solid data and analysis, while making sure people are helped, not hurt.
I love Rhode Island, and I want to see it and its people thrive. I respectfully ask for your vote on September 11th in the Democratic primary. The District 52 House race will be decided in the Primary; only Democrats are in the race.
To learn more about my thoughts on the issues or to volunteer on the campaign, please visit www.votegusuht.org. You can also take a look at my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (401) 787-1313.