• Alana DiMario

Student Loan Forgiveness 2 Ways, Energy Info, & Ways to Vote




Hello Neighbor -


In case somehow you have missed the relentless ads, candidates out knocking on doors, and the campaign signs that seem to spawn overnight and spread like tinsel after an 80s Christmas, Election Day 2022 is drawing closer! I know you might be reaching your capacity for politics, but there are a lot of important issues at stake from what's happening in your town, up to the State House, and down to Washington DC. Please take the time to consider your options and cast a vote for the future of our community (more info on how to vote below!)

This week I have information about the Federal Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program as well as the General Federal Loan Forgiveness Program (two separate things!) and energy and heating assistance programs up top, followed by everything you need to know about voting in this election, a great article about how we are saving Rhode Islanders money as we invest in our energy future, and a note on transparency and accountability in public officials.

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 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 to see if you qualify for any relief! General Student Loan Forgiveness: Federal Student Loan Debt Relief is a program that provides eligible borrowers with full or partial discharge of loans up to $20,000 to Federal Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 to non-Pell Grant recipients. Apply here today (but no later than Dec. 31, 2023). They will determine your eligibility and will contact you if we need more information. Your loan servicer will notify you when your relief has been processed. Energy and Heating Assistance Programs: When I'm not out campaigning, I have been spending a lot of time immersing myself in the world of our current regional energy grid and talking with colleagues about how we in the General Assembly can reduce energy costs in the face of the increases we are seeing in our region. There are some immediate actions put into place to expand assistance programs and help with energy efficiency to save you money, they can all be found here. In addition, there is a local assistance program in Narragansett which can be found here. This will remain a top priority going into the new session in January.

1. Voting in the 11/08 Election You have *3* ways to vote in the upcoming election!

1. If you have already requested a Mail Ballot, once it arrives you can complete your votes, complete the Voter's Mail Ballot Certificate, put it in the envelope, and either mail it (if before 11/01) or return it to any of the Mail Ballot Drop Boxes in front of Town Hall in Narragansett, North Kingstown, and New Shoreham. The steps are laid out here and once your Mail Ballot has been submitted you can track it here.

2. You can now vote Early, In Person at Town Hall in Narragansett, North Kingstown, and New Shoreham. From 10/19-11/07 you can bring your ID to Town Hall and vote on a paper ballot put right into the machine like on Election Day:

  • 8:30 to 4:30 M-F in Narragansett and North Kingstown (only until 4:00 on 11/07!)

  • 9:00 to 3:00 M-F in New Shoreham

3. You can vote on Election Day 11/08 from 7am to 8pm (9am to 8pm in New Shoreham) at your assigned polling place, which can be found here. St. Mary's voters in Narragansett take note: your polling place will be the Narragansett Community Center on Mumford Road for the 11/08 Election.


2. Working to Save Ratepayers Money on Energy One of the parts of improving our energy system that is important but doesn't get a lot of attention is the "bonus" payments, or remuneration, that get built into plans to procure energy from suppliers. This spring we passed the Affordable Clean Energy Security Act which allows for the procurement of new offshore wind energy, and in the Environment and Agriculture Committee we voted to take out the "bonus" payments for the utility company, saving ratepayers (all of us!) over $50 million. There is a great article about this issue here, and this change signals an approach that puts the people of Rhode Island over corporate profits when it comes to our energy sources.


I was proud to cosponsor this bill and proud to vote to remove the bonus payments.

There is no longer a risk associated with procuring energy from renewable sources, so companies shouldn't be getting these giveaways anymore. Ratepayers should see the savings that renewables will bring to our regional energy grid:

"State Sen. Dawn Euer, the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate and a staunch opponent of giving the utility what could have amounted to millions of dollars, applauded the decision. She described the would-be payments as 'unnecessary and harmful profits. As we transition to a clean energy economy it’s vital that we are not recreating systems that give windfall profits to corporations on the shoulders of consumers.'"

I agree!


3. A Note on Transparency and Accountability It is campaign season, and it's my job to make my case for why I think I have earned your vote for another term up at the State House. As someone who has only been in politics a short time, one of the things I have tried to bring into this job is transparency and accountability. The reason why I put so much time and effort into this newsletter and maintaining my website and social media updates on Twitter and Facebook is because not too long ago I was a member of our community who didn't really know how to engage with local and state politics. There isn't a lot of information or communication easily available about what is going on or how to get involved or make your opinion known, and I want to "be the change" I'd like to see in our local politics. What you see and read from me is what you get. I personally write the newsletters, I maintain the website, I write the things on my social media. I text you, I answer my own calls, I respond to my own emails. Not because I "just" want to be re-elected (though I do), but because I want more people to know they have a place and a voice in what happens in our district and state. And that starts with me being transparent and accessible to you. My campaign finance reports are publicly available. I don't fundraise often and I probably run one of the cheapest campaigns around. If you have a question, ask it! If I can help you, email me! I am here to serve our community, and you are our community. Follow me on socials, read my updates, come out to my public events. No issue too big or too small, I'm here for you.


Photo of the Week:


I may have been so stuck in Campaign Mode that I turned and waved back at these friendly skeletons greeting me by Bissel Cove as I walked the other day. A+ for styling this scene!








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