Bond and Local Qs On The Ballot, High Energy Costs, The Lighthouse Inn & More
Hello Neighbor -
I've been knocking on doors in many neighborhoods around Narragansett and North Kingstown and let me say you all are killing it in the fall outdoor decor game! I truly appreciate everyone who has taken the time to speak to me at their doors, community events, and via text (yes, that's actually me sending them and replying!)
This week I have information about an upcoming Meet & Greet, the Federal Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program, and the Civil Service Exam up top, followed by information on the State Bond Questions on the ballot, some thoughts on the high energy costs we are facing this winter, and my responses to the League of Women Voters Candidate Questionnaire.
As the November election draws closer, I look forward to hearing from you about the issues that are most important to you right now, and sharing my thoughts for solutions to some of the problems I see facing our community. As always, please reach out at any time (just reply to this email) to make sure we connect! Take care,
Community Programs & Assistance Upcoming Narragansett Public Meet & Greets: If you want to discuss the issues on your mind and you're worried I might not catch you at your door, come meet up with me and other candidates for Narragansett Town Council and School Committee! Saturday 10/15: Mettatuxet Yacht Club 3-5 Swing by, say hello, have a drink and a snack, and get your questions answered! Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Under temporary changes made by the Biden-Harris Administration to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, it’s easier than ever for public servants – including veterans and servicemembers – to get loan forgiveness. Apply by October 31. Visit http://PSLF.gov. Civil Service Exam OPEN We need to make sure the Department of Children, Youth, & Families is adequately staffed with qualified professionals, and one step on the path to a job with DCYF is the Civil Service Exam. Applications are open through 10/28:
1. Read Up on Bond and Local Questions Before You Vote On the ballot this year are three statewide bond questions as well as local questions in Narragansett, North Kingstown, and New Shoreham. First, some info on the bond questions:
Voting Yes on Question 1 will allow the University of Rhode Island to borrow and invest $100 million into improvements for the School of Oceanography Bay Campus, right here in Narragansett. The University of Rhode Island Oceanography School is a key part of the "blue economy," which currently generates about $5 billion a year (projected to double to $10 billion by 2030). From marine trades to offshore wind (and the environmental impact studies that help guide these industries) we rely on the work done at and by the graduates of URI. We want to keep attracting world class students to study and stay in Rhode Island, and this is a key investment to make that happen.
Question 2 is the School Construction Bond, which will allow for $250 million to be borrowed for renovation and construction of public schools across the state.Kids should learn in environments that are safe, warm, dry, and equipped for modern learning, and voting Yes on 2 will help reach the goal of showing every child that we value their education as a state.
Voting Yes on Question 3 will allow for borrowing and investment of $50 million for protecting Narragansett Bay and drinking water, municipal resilience measures to combat global warming effects, reclaiming contaminated brownfield sites for productive reuse, conserving open space, building recreation facilities and playgrounds benefitting all 39 cities and towns, and making critical investments in the Roger Williams Park Zoo. These investments will have wide public benefits.
Next, how to look into the local questions that will be on your ballot. The best way to see them is to go to the Secretary of State's website to view a sample ballot. You will put in your address so you know that you are looking at the ballot for your town and district. Once you enter your address and click on View A Sample Ballot, you will be able to see a page with the candidates to choose from in local and state elections followed by a page with the bond and local questions. Take a look and go into the voting booth ready to make your voice heard!
2. Facing High Energy Costs There are a few topics that come up at almost every door and interaction, and one of those is high energy costs. I hear you. The high costs of everything from housing to utilities are causing a lot of stress in our community. As I mentioned in my last newsletter I have been investing a lot of time into consulting with legislators from around our region who are also dealing with these energy cost spikes as well as my colleagues here in Rhode Island to map out what we can do in the short and long term to bring relief. I also have been attending briefings on our regional energy grid to better understand where we can make legislative changes to have increased reliability and lowered costs. Senator Dawn Euer published a recent Op-Ed on this topic that is worth a read. In the short term, we need to investigate solutions that bring immediate financial relief, including maximizing energy efficiency programs for renters and others who have been left out of these incentives. I also am here to help anyone who needs it connect with help to pay their energy bills, there are resources to get you started here and here, and some towns like Narragansett have additional assistance that can be accessed through Town Hall.
3. League of Women Voters Candidates Guide 2022 The League of Women Voters sent out a candidate survey for people running for General Assembly as well as Town Council and School Committee and compiled all of the responses into an insert that was published in local papers this week, it can also be found online here.
Among the questions on issues such as reproductive health care and climate change, there was also a question about the Lighthouse Inn property in Galilee. There is a lot of confusion out there about the current status of this land and the role of the General Assembly, so I am sharing my answer below to clarify! As always please reach out with any questions. Q: How will you address the concerns about the Lighthouse Inn property in Galilee? Please explain. A: The Lighthouse Inn property has been largely ignored by the state for several years, and now that there is movement from the new administration at the Department of Environmental Management there are understandably many opinions about the future of the parcels. The General Assembly has no direct role or authority in the decision-making process for how that site is used, however it is my duty to my constituents to stay updated on the status of the process to make it transparent and inform people of opportunities for public input and requests for proposals. It is also my role to represent the will of the Town of Narragansett if state levelsupport is requested. If enabling legislation is needed or advocacy to include a budget item related to an agreed-upon plan for this property I will represent the Town Council’s official position in the Senate as I have on other issues. If there are questions about the ultimate plan or process that merit attention from the Senate Oversight Committee I will consult with my colleagues about initiating hearings to ensure the public’s interests are protected. It is my hope that the final plan for the three parcels will meet the needs of the port in Galilee, be agreeable to the Town of Narragansett, be developed with climate change resiliency measures in mind, and will have a solid plan for funding and maintenance by the entity leasing the parcels.
Photo of the Week:
As the Co-Chair of the Permanent Joint Legislative Commission on Child Care, I had the privilege this week of facilitating our biennial retreat. We invited our Congressional Delegation as well as the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and General Assembly leaders to both hear from child care providers and share their plans for stabilizing this sector that is critical to our children and our economy. I appreciate that Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, and Congressman Cicilline took the time to listen and speak to us on this issue. Addressing the needs in this system relies on federal funding support, which is one of the many reasons we have to make sure Seth Magaziner joins this group as the next member of Congress from Rhode Island!