As a city planner for the city of Woonsocket, Jennifer Siciliano believes she brings a unique perspective as a Democratic candidate for District 22 House Representative.
Siciliano faces Joseph Solomon Jr., the son of Councilman Joseph Solomon, in the Sept. 9 primary. The incumbent Representative, Frank Ferri, is running for lieutenant governor.
“I am not sure we need another lawyer in politics. I want to see change in Rhode Island. I can bring a new blood to politics and a different perspective to the position,” Siciliano said in a recent interview.
Siciliano said that Solomon Jr., at 30, is pretty young for an election.
“I see the reality of situations. We are desperate to get companies to come and stay in Rhode Island. Has he dealt with businesses? I have worked with developers all the time. I know the processes, the regulations. I have helped people get places,” she said.
Siciliano comes from an urban development background getting her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut and her Masters in Regional/Urban Planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
She became interested in planning and architecture after a sociology class that discussed “defensible space theory,” which is how neighborhood and city planning can actually help decrease violence and crime.
“I know the ins and outs of running a city,” Siciliano said. “I work with businesses every day. I know the issues they have and I am very familiar with what they need as corporations.”
She was asked by the Statewide Planning Technical Commission to look over a draft for economical development for the state and supply her input.
Siciliano wants to “push things forward to get more businesses interested in Rhode Island.”
She already has plans to better the state for businesses and hopefully bring more jobs to Rhode Island.
“We always look to Massachusetts and wonder what they are doing differently than us. I worked in a planning department there for a while so I know what they are doing differently that’s helping them be more successful,” she said.
One plan she wants to work toward is “streamline permitting.” This concept allows for certain designated areas to have a quicker permit process where everything can be done at once instead of consistently going to different sectors with different applications.
“Then we would market these areas to businesses from across the nation, even globally. Companies want simplicity when they are looking for a place to start or expand,” Siciliano said.
As part of the Warwick Historical Society, Siciliano believes that we should invest in historical tax credits.
Siciliano said, “I think 38 Studios left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, but we have beautiful historical buildings that showcase our history. It would cost more money to rehab these houses than they are worth, but it is important to cherish these old historic buildings.”
Siciliano would also like to see more environmental efforts to help clean up and preserve Narragansett Bay. She owns her own sailboat, the “Conqueress” and knows that the ocean is one of Rhode Island’s greatest attributes and selling points.
Siciliano calls herself a progressive Democrat, a “true blue,” and has been endorsed by the R.I. Progressive Democrats. She believes although she is a progressive, she is also very realistic.
She said, “I think I have a good balance of being both pragmatic and idealistic at the same time. I really want to listen to the residents, work with my colleagues to really solve problems. I listen; I process; I act.”
Being the first election Siciliano has participated in, she is excited to be running.
“The primary this fall will be the biggest hurdle, but I think I would really take the position to its full potential,” Siciliano said. “Rhode Island is a special place and I want to see it do better.”
For more information on Jennifer Siciliano or her campaign, visit her Facebook page, Elect Jennifer Siciliano, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is currently working on a campaign website and the link will be posted to her Facebook page once it is finished.