It is disheartening that so many of the city’s seats in both the House and the Senate will go uncontested this year. Indeed, even in a state where elective offices are so dominated by Democrats, one would have thought there would have been dissenting views and party contests. That was the case in Senate District 29, where incumbent Michael McCaffrey faced a well thought out and executed challenge from Laura Pisaturo. But that level of campaigning isn’t being seen in the two all-Warwick General Assembly campaigns. The most spirited of contests is for House District 23 where Democrat K. Joseph Shekarchi and Republican John Falkowski are vying for the seat held for more than two decades by Robert Flaherty. Falkowski launched his campaign assuming Flaherty would seek re-election, but that changed quickly when Shekarchi declared his candidacy with Flaherty’s blessing. Falkowski has questioned Shekarchi’s residency and whether, if elected, he could impartially represent constituents since he acted as a lobbyist for the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. Shekarchi has answered both questions satisfactorily. Shekarchi knows local and state government. As an attorney, he has appeared before the City Council and the Zoning Board. He served as campaign manager for General Treasurer Gina Raimondo. We think Shekarchi is the best candidate for this seat.
The other wholly-Warwick General Assembly contest is for Senate District 30. Incumbent William Walaska, who has earned a reputation of representing business interests, is being challenged by Republican Keith Burkitt and independent Jack Groh. Walaska co-chairs the Rhode Island Port Study Commission and played a role in amending fire codes so they would be less onerous to businesses. He has made economic development a priority. This is Burkitt’s first run for elective office. One of his platforms is the need for political balance in the General Assembly. Groh opposes “career” politicians and believes there should be term limits on legislators. Groh and his wife, Susan, are no strangers to the community. They are involved in school and community activities and give back to the city. We congratulate Groh on his desire to carry such service to another level. Walaska has done a good job, however, and we would like to see him returned to office.