In the first real candidate forum in Senate District 13, six of the seven candidates answered questions and gave their opinions on a wide range of issues including reproductive rights, the PawSox Stadium and the budget gridlock currently seizing the General Assembly.
The four Democrats, David Allard, Dawn Euer, John Florez and David Hanos, will face off in a primary on Tuesday, July 18th. The winner will go on to face Republican Michael Smith, Independent Kimberly Ripoli and Green Party candidate Gregory Larson on Tuesday, August 22nd.
Larson declined to attend this debate telling What’sUpNewp that “I’ve decided to forgo the debate schedule until after the primary.”
The forum was organized by What’sUpNewp and moderated by Frank Prosnitz, of What’sUpNewp and AM 1540 WADK, Ian Donnis of RI Public Radio and Ted Nesi from WPRI 12. It was held at the beautiful and historic Jane Pickens Theater in Newport.
The first batch of questions (videos 02-13 below) required the candidates to answer simply, “yes, no or undecided.” Some of answers given by the candidates were expanded upon in response to later questions.
First up, “Your position on the line-item veto,” which would give the Governor the ability to authority strike out parts of a bill or budget appropriation.
“Would you aggressively work to create an independent panel to review the state’s 38 Studios debacle?”
Do you support or oppose legalizing the use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older?”
“We haven’t had a Constitutional Convention in many years. Should we have one now?”
“Do you support creating a separate Rhode Island law that would guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion?”
“Do you support the governor’s program offering two years of free tuition at the Community College of Rhode Island?”
“Are you in favor of term limits for legislators?”
“If elected will you refuse to accept legislative grants?”
“Do you support or oppose the brand new visitor’s center at the Breakers Mansion?”
“Are you upset with the fact that we don’t have a state budget in place?”
“Do you support expanding the number of charter schools in Rhode Island?”
“Do you support or oppose driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants?”
The next batch of questions (videos 14 through 24 below) gave each candidate 90 second to respond.
What are the “three most important issues affecting Newport and Jamestown that you as a senator will be able to influence?”
“Did Senate President Dominick Ruggerio make the right move by altering the budget with a move that would halt the [car tax] phase out [under] certain economic conditions?”
“Are you open to providing state funds for the [PawSox] stadium?”
Do you support the creation of a “panel of economists” to review proposals that come before the state?
What specifically would you do to reduce political corruption in Rhode Island?
“If you were telling someone how to have the perfect date in Senate District 13, what would you tell them to do?”
Would you support state confiscation of campaign funds from politicians who owe campaign fines?
“Tell us what letter grade you would give [Governor Gina Raimondo] for her job performance” and why.
“What is your position on charter schools?”
“Where do you stand on Sanctuary Cities?”
“I’m a Newporter, a Democrat and a retired Boomer… You don’t resemble us… Without using the word community, how can you convince us that you can represent us?”
Finally we have the closing statements (videos 25-30 below) from the candidates.
Here are the videos from the opening and the closing of the candidate forum, for completeness.