Primary 09/13! Meet & Greets in NK & Gansett, Environmental Priorities and More
Hello Neighbor - It's Primary Election Week! Though I don't have a Primary race this year, Tuesday's outcome will decide many statewide and General Assembly races. If you haven't cast your vote by mail or Early In Person at Town Hall by the end of the day Monday, make sure to get out to your polling place Tuesday and make your voice heard!
This week I have information about two upcoming public opportunities to meet me, how to apply for free and reduced lunch for the upcoming school year, and how to submit Public Comments on the proposed Cottage Food regulations up top, followed by an update on some of my environmental priorities, reporting back from the Governor's Council on Behavioral Health Meeting, and an update on my campaign for re-election.
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 to make sure we connect!
Community Programs & Assistance Two Upcoming 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 town candidates! 1. Sunday 09/18: Wilson Park in North Kingstown from 1-3 2. Sunday 09/25: Sprague Park in Narragansett from 1-3
Swing by, say hello, get your questions answered, and pick up a yard sign!
Apply For Free or Reduced School Lunch: For the last few years the Federal government has ensured all public school children could have lunch free of charge, but unfortunately that program is not continuing, and we have not yet made this a standard practice in Rhode Island. To apply for free or reduced school lunch, follow the below link for your town: Narragansett New Shoreham North Kingstown Cottage Food Regulations - Public Comment OPEN: This past session we created a pathway for home food makers to legally make and sell shelf-stable foods if they follow regulations set by the Rhode Island Department of Health. We were the last state to create this opportunity for people to start a home food business with few cost or other barriers. The advocates accomplished so much in shaping these regulations, and I was proud to work with my colleagues in government to ensure we got this right and got it done this year. Currently the Department of Health has proposed regulations and they are open for public comment before they are finalized. If you are a home/cottage food producer and would like to look at the regulations and give feedback, the link is here:
I am so excited for this tp be finalized and for this new, accessible entry point to creating a small business to go into effect!
1. Environmental Priorities: Where We Need to Go Next The intense storms and the resulting floods, the rising costs of fossil-fuel powered utilities and gas, and District 36's miles of coastline vulnerable to sea level rise make environmental issues the top of the list for many voters this year. I hear your concerns, and I share them. Our approach to facing the challenges of climate change must focus on resiliency of our infrastructure, which includes not only roads and bridges but also essential things like wastewater treatment and other utilities. This year I was proud to cosponsor the Ocean State Climate Adaptation and Resilience Fund, which creates a way for municipalities to access state funds for taking preventative actions against climate change. As we move toward increasing renewable energy sources our costs for power will stabilize - just ask Block Island, which gets its electricity from the Block Island Wind Farm and no longer experiences rate fluctuations due to volatile fossil fuel markets! As we make this transition, I am committed to making sure that the ratepayers (all of us) are protected. What we are seeing with projected costs for this winter make it even more clear that we must move away from costly and polluting fossil fuels as our energy source. We are bracing for what's coming, but we also need to do our part to prevent further damage. Continuing to create incentives for reducing transportation emissions by improving our public transportation and infrastructure for walking and biking along with other efforts will be key, and I am looking forward to continuing work on this issue in the coming session. Finally, I am committed to conservation of our natural resources here in Rhode Island. Keeping our air and water clean, and ensuring the preservation of lands for protection of biodiversity and public use and enjoyment are also key issues this session.
2. Governor's Council on Behavioral Health
I attended my first meeting as a member of the Governor's Council on Behavioral Health this week, here are some highlights:
We received briefings regarding the data from substance abuse prevention efforts in Rhode Island middle and high schools, as well as the results of the most recent Rhode Island Student Survey (RISS) regarding substance use, bullying, depression, suicide, and violence. This data helps us set priorities of what the priority needs are for Rhode Island's youth
We had a robust discussion about how best to engage in workforce building efforts to meet the mental/behavioral health needs of our communities through the lifespan
All the key departments at the table gave updates on their current initiatives and needs
To address the mental health needs of Rhode Islanders it is going to take exactly this type of data-driven, coordinated effort and I am so grateful for the chance to be at the table with all of these stakeholders to both give my input as a provider and understand how I can best support these efforts with legislation in the General Assembly.
3. Campaign Updates The changes in District 36 due to redistricting means I have several thousand new households to reach in my campaign before 11/08. While I can cover a lot of ground on foot going door-to-door, having a letter land in their mailbox to introduce myself and let them know about the work I have done in the Senate is helpful. In addition, I need to update the people I have been representing for the past two years on how I have been working for them up at the State House. All these things take money - for informational cards to hand out at doors, for printing letters, and for the postage to send them ($.60 X thousands of letters = quite a lot!) I run a lean campaign and do as much myself as I can, but there are still necessary costs to communicating with voters so they can make an informed choice on Election Day. If you are receiving this and want to make sure to keep a champion for Rhode Islanders through their lifespan, clean air and water, education, safe communities, and access to healthcare representing District 36 in the Rhode Island Senate, please consider making a donation of any size through this link or by sending a check to: Friends of Alana DiMario 47 Tupelo Trail Narragansett, RI 02882 It is so appreciated, and I will put it to good use. It has been an honor to represent our community, and I am eager to have the chance to continue working for us for another term! If you live in District 36 and would like me to come by and put up a yard sign to show your support, please fill out your information through this link and indicate that you'd like a yard sign. (I promise if you don't want to volunteer in another capacity that no one will contact you!)
Photo of the Week:
This week I had the chance to tour some of the 44% of Block Island that is conserved land with representatives from The Nature Conservancy and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Part of this educational day included a demonstration of a joint effort between TNC and RIDEM that tracks marine life in the Great Salt Pond and other locations on Block Island. This multi-year tracking provides the data that is crucial to understanding the effects of climate change on marine life, both on the ecosystems themselves and also our food systems as they relate to our native seafood populations. The dedication of these researchers is impressive, on this day we watched them catch, measure, and catalogue hundreds of fish!