Quality of life for all Rhode Islanders.
Issues I Support
Public education is the foundation for good jobs and a high quality of life. Smaller class sizes, more educational opportunities, high quality school buildings, and school safety are absolutely essential.
As a public high school science teacher for over 20 years, I am committed to quality education for our students. To get the best education our students need high quality school buildings that are warm, dry, and comfortable learning environments. With the rise in temperatures we are experiencing we also need to provide adequate cooling for our students as well. Learning is never at its best when the students and teachers are sweating it out in a sweltering concrete hotbox. Our students need current textbooks and up to date computer resources. Our teachers need the resources to educate and innovate without having to beg for the funds they need to provide their students with a quality education. As Lieutenant Governor I will support our students, teachers, and public schools.
The safety of our students is paramount. With the school shootings that have taken place we need to protect our students and schools like we protect our airports and government buildings, without making them resemble prisons. Controlled single points of entry to our schools, video surveillance, and rapid response plans need to be in place. I support the use of school resource officers to serve both as on-site first responders and helpful liaisons between the students, community, and police. Trained threat assessment teams comprised of teachers, administrators, mental health professionals, and law enforcement should be established for every school to help prevent situations before they happen. We need to do all we can to ensure our schools are safe places for our children.
Protecting our environment is essential. Regardless of political orientation, we all breathe the air, drink the water, and eat what the land provides. I support work to keep our air, land, and water clean. I support green spaces, bike paths, land trusts, and keeping Rhode Island a beautiful place to live.
We need to seriously address the very real threat of climate change. Getting away from fossil fuels and increasing our use of renewable energy will decrease carbon dioxide emissions and help prevent rising temperatures and rising sea levels. As sea levels rise our Ocean State has a lot to lose and we need to take action to prevent this.
I am proud to say my work in environmental and energy education has earned recognition with the Earth Day Environmentalist award, one of RI Monthly’s 2016 People of the Year, Attorney General’s Justice award, and the Outstanding Conservation Project award from the Environmental Council of RI. My responses to ecoRI’s questions for the candidates on Rhode Island’s environmental issues can be found on their website.
The widespread use of renewable energy can create jobs, reduce our reliance on foreign oil, protect the environment, and address climate change. I am a huge advocate of clean, renewable energy and I have spent two decades teaching this to my students and demonstrating renewable energy technologies across the country. I remember the 1970’s when OPEC’s oil embargos hammered the United States. Relying on imported petroleum to keep our country rolling is not a wise course of action for our economy or national security.
The good news is that renewable energy is becoming more and more mainstream. Solar panels are becoming common and it makes me proud that Rhode Island built the first offshore wind turbines in the nation. This is a great start and I support further growth. Renewable energy is good for our economy by creating jobs and keeping money here at home. Renewable energy is also good for the environment and a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
I am glad to talk about renewable energy and even happier to use it. My home is heated with locally produced Newport biodiesel and equipped with solar hot water panels. My students and I have demonstrated many renewable energy technologies including a hydrogen fuel cell powered rock and roll band, fuel cell Model T hot rod, electric bikes, and a 7,000 mile Coast to Coast road trip (there and back) using biodiesel made from waste cooking oil. These projects led to a transcontinental flight using aviation biofuel made from Camelina plant seed oil and a record setting fuel efficiency flight using aviation biofuel. www.bioplane.us and www.protium.us have more information on these renewable energy projects.
I am committed to Rhode Island being a national leader in renewable energy.
A strong economy with good jobs for all Rhode Islanders is vitally important. Good jobs mean good housing and food on the table. These essential needs must be met before people can tackle other important issues. Developing our renewable energy infrastructure will create many good jobs in construction, manufacturing, shipping, and other areas and has enormous potential for growth. The US industrial revolution began right here in Rhode Island and we are continuing that spirit of innovation with the first off-shore wind turbines in the country. We need to continue this work and more to build a strong Rhode Island economy we can all be proud of.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. The Lieutenant Governor serves as chair of the Small Business Advisory Council (SBAC) to help small businesses thrive. I support small businesses and legislation to help keep them up, running, competitive, and prosperous.
I support tax cuts for the middle class and working families.
I fully understand the challenges faced by today’s working families. With four school age children myself, believe me, I get it. The recent changes in the tax code favor the wealthy and left working families and the middle class in worse shape than before.
Trickle-Down Economics is garbage. This is a feeble justification used by the very rich and their political lackeys for rigging the system. It is pathetic to give tax breaks to the extremely wealthy and justify this by saying some golden crumbs will eventually drift down to their economic underlings.
I advocate for Trickle-Up Economics. When the middle class are given tax breaks they will either spend the money, thus helping our economy, they will save it which is generally wise, or they will invest it. Basically the non-super-rich will do the same as the super-rich and the economic benefits may eventually trickle up to benefit the very wealthy. If the economic benefits don’t quite trickle up there is no loss as the very wealthy will still be very wealthy.
Campaign Finance Reform
The system is rigged by big money and this needs to be fixed. When political candidates are literally spending millions of dollars here in Rhode Island on their campaigns the big money will rule. There is no free lunch; when a candidate gets over four million dollars in campaign contributions, much of it from out of state, they owe four million dollars in political favors. Getting the big money out of politics through Campaign Finance Reform is the only way our democratic system will truly be the voice of the people. The system is rigged to favor the extremely wealthy and large corporations who can write the big checks to buy politicians to do their bidding. I propose limiting campaign contributions and campaign spending of political candidates to no more than the yearly salary of the particular political office.
Multiple Political Parties and Choice in Candidates
Rhode Islanders deserve better than a polarized two party political system. We have all seen elections where we unenthusiastically vote for the candidate who seems to be the lesser of two bad choices. Rhode Island and the United States should have more than two viable political parties and we need more good candidates to run for political office. Your vote can help make this happen.
I support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
The Constitutions of the United States and the State of Rhode Island are the ruling documents of our democratic society. I support the First Amendment: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of the Press, Freedom to Peaceably Assemble, and to Petition the Government.
I also support the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
The Rhode Island Constitution is even clearer:
From the Rhode Island Constitution: Article I Section 22. Right to bear arms.
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
I support this as I support the rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.