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Meet the Candidates: General Assembly

October 28, 2010

The following are Meet the Candidate candidate profiles from local candidates running in the General Assembly races on the ballot in North Kingstown and Exeter.

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Senator in General Assembly, District 34

* Francis Maher
Name: Francis T. Maher, Jr.(R)
Address: PO Box 677, Exeter, RI 02822
Home Phone #: (401)294-9819
Cell Phone #: (401) 932-3900
Email: electmaherfor34@yahoo.com
Campaign website: www.electmaherfor34.com
Office sought: State Senate (Incumbent); District 34: Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond, West Greenwich
First elected: 2008
Birth date: February 28, 1966
Age: 44
Married: 16 years
Spouse’s name: Kathleen
Father of: Patrick
Religion: Christian
Occupation: Self Employed/Furniture Restoration
Education: Associate in Electronics;URI Master Gardener Course; URI-911 Programs: EMS/EMT
Political Experience: Rhode Island State Senate: 2008-present; Health & Human Services Committee; Agriculture & Environment Committee; Exeter/West Greenwich School Committee: 2004-2008; Exeter Republican Town Committee: 1999-present; Secretary: 2000-2004
Organizations/Memberships: Exeter/West Greenwich Little League; West Greenwich Elks; RI Saltwater Anglers Association; Warwick Sportsman Club; Marine Corp League; Boy Scouts of America; URI Master Gardener Association; Pontiac/Oakland Automotive Club

* Information was not submitted to the Standard Times on behalf of candidate Jon Sawyer

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Representative in General Assembly, District 39

* Larry Valencia
Name: Lawrence M. (Larry) Valencia
Address: 2 Oak Hill Drive, Wyoming, RI 02898
Date of Birth: July 29, 1958 (age 52)
Daytime Phone number: 401 539-3420
Email: larry13131@hotmail.com
Office Sought: State Representative, District 39 (Charlestown, Exeter, Richmond)
Occupation: Commercial Lines Salesman, Woodmansee Insurance, Wyoming, RI
Education: B.S., Chemistry in 1988 from Charter Oak College, Farmington, CT; M.S., Pharmaceutical Science in 1997 from St. John's University, Jamaica, NY
Political Background: Clerk, Richmond Zoning Board of Review 2000 – 2002; Member, Richmond Zoning Board of Review 2002 to present; Chairman, Richmond Economic Development Commission, 2007 to present; Elected to Richmond Home Rule Charter Commission in May 2007 special election; served as Chair until the Charter was completed and approved by voters (Nov. 2008); Ran unsuccessfully for State Representative, District 39 (Charlestown, Exeter, Richmond) in 2008
Community Activities: Coach, Hopkinton Recreation: T-ball 2005; Girls Basketball 2007 to present Coach/Manager Chariho Girls Softball League: 2007 to present President of Operation Clean Government (nonpartisan grassroots good government group www.ocgri.org : June 2009 to June 2010 co-creator of Richmond Live, a summer series of free concerts at the Town Hall green (summer 2010)
Personal Statement: I ask the citizens of District 39 for their vote. I’ve demonstrated through my
public service and community activities that I care greatly about our part of South County.
The most important issue is jobs. Unemployment is still over 11%, and that’s much too high. Suffering on this scale magnifies all of our other problems. We can turn this around through more and better job training. Let’s reduce red tape for small business. Let’s support local small businesses by helping to make credit more readily available.
Next year’s budget deficit, projected at $300 million+, is a huge concern. First, let’s create an Inspector General’s office to root out waste, fraud, and corruption – plug the leaks in our ship of state. Then look at revenue and try to reduce spending in ways that make sense. For example, company cars are no longer in vogue in the private sector. Let’s reduce the huge vehicle fleet that state employees use.
Let’s get off the grid. We need renewable energy. We can use solar and wind power to become more energy efficient and self-relian. Let’s encourage renewable energy through state and local residential ordinance changes and tax credits. And let’s promote biodiesel use.
I care about the terrible unemployment situation and our state’s dire fiscal problems. I’m the best equipped candidate by far to tackle these important issues.
And I‘ve worked hard for clean, open, and transparent government as President of OCG. Again, I ask for everyone’s support on November 2nd. Thank you.

* Information was not submitted to the Standard Times on behalf of candidate Michael Picillo

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Senator in General Assembly, District 36

* James Sheehan
NAME: James C. Sheehan
ADDRESS: 40 Blueberry Lane, North Kingstown, RI 02852
DATE OF BIRTH: 1/27/66
PHONE: 885-1988
E-Mail: senatorsheehan@aol.com
OFFICE SOUGHT: RI State Senate in District 36
PROFESSION: Educator (High School History)
EDUCATION: Graduated from North Kingstown High School in 1984, the University of Rhode Island in 1988 with a B.A., and Catholic University in 1992 with a M.A., and received his Teacher’s Certificate from Rhode Island College in 1995.
POLITICAL BACKGROUND: Board Member (2000-2004): Quonset Davisville Management Corp.; State House Security Commission (2001); North Kingstown Democratic Town Committee (2000-2010); State Senator, Currently Secretary: Government Oversight, Member: Corporations Committee, and Vice Chairman: Health & Human Services.
COMMUNITY/VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Smith Castle Historical Association; Co-Chair of the William H. Sheehan Scholarship Fund; Save the Bay; Knights of Columbus; and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.
Personal Statement: “Why I am running for office."
For the past two years, our state and nation have been experiencing difficult economic times. I have worked diligently to address the problems confronting the residents of our state.
The core values of my tenure in the State Senate have been good government, making healthcare affordable and accessible and improving our citizens’ quality of life. In the past, I have championed various issues ranging from Separation of Powers, ethics laws, re-importation of prescription drugs from Canada, bay water quality, campaign finance reform, and eminent domain reform. This session, I have supported renewable energy; opposed the hiring of illegal workers (E-verify); and have worked to regulate usurious banking practices.
Most notably, frustrated with a lack of governmental initiative on getting our economy back on track, I led a group of state policy leaders to develop an economic action plan to help rebuild our economy and begin to generate good-paying jobs for RI residents. I am proud to say that a number of our proposals were embraced and implemented!
Of course, there is much work to be done. If honored to serve again, I will continue to work toward making RI more business friendly. I will sponsor an amendment to the RI Constitution to have ethics rules apply to state legislators. I will sponsor legislation to establish an office of Inspector General in RI to make our government more accountable to the people. Lastly, I will work to make sure that education remains a top priority in the state government.

* Information was not submitted to the Standard Times on behalf of candidate William Connelly

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Representative in General Assembly, District 32

* Richard Welch
Name: Richard A. Welch
Address: 8 Arrow Lane, North Kingstown
Date of birth: 10/16/45
Phone #: 641-5576
email: rwelchnksc@gmail.com
Office Sought: State Representative in District 32
Occupation: Owns Apple Construction Corporation
Education: BS in Business Administration
Political Background: Current member of the North Kingstown School Committee
Community Activities: Bayside Family Healthcare, past board member; North Kingstown Fraternal Order of Police, member; North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce, past Chairman; St. Francis Council Knights of Columbus #2011; Rhode Island Builder’s Association, Board of Directors; Friend’s of North Kingstown, co-founder; and Rhode Island Contractors Registration and Licensing Board, member.
Personal Statement: I am not happy with our state government and what it is failing to do for our citizens. We are now 49th in the country when it comes to the best places to do business and we are 2nd in the nation in unemployment. There is a direct correlation to be 49th and 2nd in unemployment. We are not a business friendly state,
Textron has approximately 50,000 employees worldwide and the only employees that are in Rhode Island work at their corporate headquarters, why? We need to do a better job in retention of employers and the jobs they provide. We need to take care of our employers the same way that we would take care of a newcomer like Curt Shilling's company.
We need to hold the governor to the budget that is approved by the General Assembly. The governor and his staff spend your tax dollars, not the General Assembly, and they have consistently over spent the budget for the last 16 years without recourse. This has got to stop.
The state's health insurer, United Health, has just announced a 27% increase in profit for the last quarter and they had a 30% profit last year but they are still getting a rate increase, why? Why is the Department of Business Regulation allowing this to happen?
We have the Airport Corporation executive director making almost $300,000 and getting a bonus when traffic is down and he laid off 21 employees. What is god's name is the bonus for and why can't we find out the amount of the bonus?
We need to give better direction from the General Assembly and be far more efficient with how we conduct business of the people. Both management and the governor need to be accountable for keeping to the budget and making sure that Rhode Island is the best that it can be for all of its citizens. Electing me on November 2nd will be a start toward that direction.

* Laurence Ehrhardt
NAME: Laurence W. EHRHARDT
ADDRESS: 49 Main Street North Kingstown, RI 02852
DATE OF BIRTH: May 20, 1940
DAYTIME PHONE 295-4352
EMAIL: Rep-Ehrhardt@rilin.state.ri.us
OFFICE SOUGHT: State Representative in the General Assembly, District 32
OCCUPATION: Corporate Treasurer (retired)
EDUCATION: Yale University, BA Economics; Harvard Business School, MBA
POLITICAL BACKGROUND: Republican, State Representative since 2005, member House Committee of Finance, Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Committee on Municipal Government.
COMMUNITY SERVICE: US Navy veteran, served on Quonset Point Advisory Committee and Coastal Resources Management Council
Personal Statement:
Why I am running for office:
A recent survey found that two out of three voters are unhappy with the state of affairs in Rhode Island. I agree with them. That’s why I voted against this year’s budget and many other pieces of bad legislation. They were taking us in the wrong direction.
With the election of a new Governor and the retirement of many veterans in the House, the state’s leaders will be exploring new roads in January. I believe my six years of experience in office, including two as a member of the House Finance Committee, will be a valuable resource in helping steer their efforts in the right direction.
The extended recession has exposed the fundamental weakness of RI’s economy. Spending cuts and huge amounts of stimulus money have not solved the problem. We still face deficits, high unemployment, and ever-higher property taxes. Rhode Island continues to rank in the bottom 10 in most national surveys of local business climates. It’s true that a few reforms have been made but we need to do much, much more.
It has been stated that voters should choose as their representative someone who has shown an interest in our community and has the understanding and knowledge to represent our community’s interests. I suggest that as someone who volunteered for active duty in our armed forces and, most recently, has devoted 6 years to hard work in the General Assembly, I have proven my commitment to public service many times over.
I am prepared to continue that service if the citizens honor me with their vote on November 2nd.

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