Five out of eight House races have already been decided, since many of the candidates are unopposed this year. Incumbents Joseph McNamara, David Bennett, Eileen Naughton, Frank Ferri and Joseph Trillo will all retain their seats at the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Because they will automatically return to the General Assembly in January, we asked them what single piece of legislation they would champion this session.
State Rep. Since 1994
Director of Pawtucket Alternative Learning Program
One of the major pieces of legislation that I will be championing this session is the Rhode Island Return to Work Act. This legislation would allow Rhode Islanders who are receiving unemployment compensation to participate in on-the-job training programs without jeopardizing the loss of their unemployment compensation benefits. It accomplishes two objectives. First it enables Rhode Islanders who have been laid off and out of work to participate in a training program that may possibly be a new career or profession without the fear of loosing income. Secondly, it allows employers to train and evaluate a potential new employee without having to make an immediate hiring decision. Similar legislation has been very successful in New Hampshire. This bill is aimed at giving both potential employees and employers kind of a test drive to see if an individual is suited for a particular career or profession. It reminds me of a quote by Muhammad Ali, he stated, "Inside or outside of the ring there isn't anything wrong with being knocked down, it's not getting up that is wrong." Many Rhode Islanders feel as though they have been knocked down by this economy, this legislation is about helping them get up and get back on their feet.
State Rep. Since 2010
Registered nurse at Butler hospital
My top priority as state representative is to help working families in these tough economic times. Last February, I introduced HB7641, which would encourage business growth in the Pontiac Mills area of Warwick by designating it as an “Enterprise Zone.” While the NYLO hotel has rebuilt, and new investors are showing interest, this area has still not recovered from the 2010 Pawtuxet River flood. Warwick is not currently among the 13 cities and towns in Rhode Island receiving Enterprise Zone tax credit benefits. These tax credits, available only to new and expanding businesses, provide up to $2,500 for each new full-time Rhode Islander hired, or up to $5,000 for new full-time employees who live in the Enterprise Zone. The precise area targeted would be determined by the Warwick City Council. I look forward to working on this and other bills to help people in Warwick and across Rhode Island.
State Rep. Since 1992
I love helping people – listening to them and making Rhode Island a great place to live, raise a family and work. Helping business retention and assisting expansion into new areas are the best economic development investment. Rather than taking high risk chances – we should be concentrating on serving the businesses and the cluster businesses that are supporting them already here, and developing a culture that supports new initiatives and ideas for their growth and attract supporting businesses. Several initiatives where I brought people together have created new successful thriving partnerships that built on resources readily available – now ready to expand and add more jobs to the Rhode Island economy such as the RI Public Cord Blood Bank. I hope to continue energizing their growth and bring others together to create partnerships for job growth. By working together, we can make R.I. the best place to work and live for us all!
State Rep. Since 2007
Owner of Town Hall Lanes in Johnston
I look forward to working on legislation that addresses our education structure and skills gap, help our economy grow and get Rhode Islanders back to work.
I intend to work on the issue of Adult Bullying, which was brought to my attention this past year from a resident of a housing complex in my district. A group of interested parties and me, including the Warwick Housing authority, Department of Elderly Affairs, YMCA, city of Warwick and others, have started a committee to explore ways to address the problem.
One of my priorities, for the third consecutive year, is to cap interest rates on payday loans. Rhode Island is the only state in New England that allows predatory payday lenders to charge up to 260 percent interest (APR) on short-term loans. Payday lenders want policymakers to believe that people need these loans to weather emergencies and unanticipated expenses, but a recent study by the reputable Pew Charitable Trust suggests otherwise. Close to 70 percent of payday borrowers surveyed claimed to be using these loans to just cover basic expenses – not an unexpected financial emergency.
State Rep. Since 2000
President, AAA Custom Alarms
Representative Trillo chose not to participate in the candidate survey.