Letter to Jamestown & Middletown Voters

September 28, 2010

Deborah Ruggiero
78 Columbia Avenue – Jamestown, RI 02835 – 401-423-0444
www.debruggiero.com

Sept 18, 2010

Dear Neighbor,

A year and a half ago, when I knocked on your door and asked for your vote, I promised to be accessible, responsive, and accountable.

I am writing today to tell you about my first term in office, and how I believe I have fulfilled those promises.

I am honored to serve as your State Representative in Jamestown and Middletown.

As I thank you for your support and confidence, I want to share some of the most important things I’ve learned over nearly two years and— with hopes that I can count on your vote again—what I would like to accomplish in my second term.

I came into office committed to listening, being responsive, and working hard.  It has helped me do a great deal in my first two years in office.

As a freshman legislator, my top priority was making sure that the voices of Middletown and Jamestown were heard on Smith Hill.

That’s why I worked with the Jamestown Town Council and Town Administrator to pass into law a Juvenile Hearing Board in Jamestown. I worked with the Middletown Town Council and Town Administrator to pass into law a property tax exemption for Middletown residents over 65 with income limitations.

It’s why I’ve worked with community stakeholders to oppose the HESS/LNG offshore facility in Mt. Hope Bay.  It’s clear that this ill advised plan will be detrimental to our local economy and environment.

And it’s why I made it a priority to meet with, listen to, and work with local business owners about jump starting the economy and creating more jobs, especially within the key economic engines in Jamestown— tourism,  retail, and the marine industry.

Over the past 2 years, I’ve been focusing on ensuring that the development of the Navy’s 225 acres of surplus property achieves the greatest possible economic opportunity for Aquidneck Island.  This reuse project is the most significant disposition of federal land since Quonset Point. How this land is developed is critical to Jamestown’s economy as well economic development for Aquidneck Island and all of Rhode Island.

Finally, education is fundamental to economic development. Young people need to know that we care about their future. It’s why I make sure to take the time to work with young people.  I speak with students at the Lawn Avenue School and at North Kingstown High School about the importance of education, career choices, civics, mentoring, and the value of public service.

I am honored to serve. I take the time to read every bill asking myself three key questions which guide my analysis: “Who will this bill benefit? What will it cost my neighbors in Jamestown or the state of Rhode Island? And who, if anyone, will this hurt?”  And I so appreciate hearing from my constituents on a regular basis so that I know where you stand on these important issues.

I know that the most important task I have as a legislator is to make sure that Rhode Islanders can get back to work. For the past two years, I’ve been working with the Small Business Association of New England so we can make it easier to do business in this state.  We don’t need more taxes, we need more taxpayers.  And that means we need more jobs.

I’m a native Rhode Islander, a businesswoman, and a community leader, and I love this state.  That’s why I see my role in government as creating policies that help business—especially small business— create jobs.

Because small business employs 60% of our Rhode Island workforce, I am honored to serve on the House Committee for Small Business.  My role is to be a voice at the table for these critical economic generators and to make sure that we are best positioned for growth when we come out of this recession—and we will indeed come out into better economic times.

We can make economic strides using good common sense. For example, when I attended the Small Business Expo. I learned in one of the workshops that two Rhode Island companies had always competed for a state contract and one of them always won. But last year the bid went to a Massachusetts company.  This angered me. How could the State of Rhode Island give a project with a large number of jobs to another state?

As a result, I sponsored legislation that requires the state purchasing office to select a Rhode Island business when it considers state contracts, all things being equal, when the company is headquartered in Rhode Island, paying taxes, and employing our neighbors.   The bill is now Rhode Island law, and now our residents will have more job opportunities.

I must tell you that this job is about tough challenges and making very hard decisions.  These are unprecedented economic times.

For over 40 years, people talked about Rhode Island’s 9.9% income tax being a deterrent for businesses to relocate here.  I am proud to have voted to reduce the 9.9% to 5.9% putting Rhode Island in line with Massachusetts (5.3%) and Connecticut (6.5%), and improving our national rank and competitiveness. It means new jobs for our families, and new college graduates who want to stay here and make Rhode Island their home.

And there are other things that government can do to help businesses get access to the capital they need to grow. That’s why I supported the Industrial Recreational Building Authority (IRBA), which allows the state to guarantee up to $60 million dollars in loans to help companies get the money they need to expand and grow business.  And I co-sponsored the business bill that increased the Economic Development Corporation’s board to include four small business members instead of just one.

Besides the importance of creating jobs, the state also has a role in ensuring that all Rhode Islanders get the health coverage that we need.  This year, I played a key role in re-instituting the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner when it was cut from the 2010 budget. The Health Insurance Commission is the only office to truly scrutinize rate increases from health insurers and hold the insurers accountable— before we get charged more.

And of course, my other top priority is “Environmental Economics,” putting renewable energy, biofuel, and wind energy at the forefront of economic development. This creates green energy jobs in emerging new industries, and makes us less dependent on fossil fuels.

I am pleased to have co-sponsored the net metering law in Rhode Island. When a town has a surplus of wind energy they can use the credits to cover other accounts or sell it back to the grid for a profit. Using wind energy is the future because we can’t continue to deplete our precious natural resources with irresponsible behavior.

Just like the rivers helped Rhode Island lead the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, the wind off of our cost can help our great state lead in the 21st century.  Rhode Island has an opportunity to be a leader in the wind power industry.  I will do whatever I can to help those manufacturers who are eyeing Quonset as a prime area for staging and manufacturing for turbine parts to create over 800 jobs in skilled manufacturing.

This job is also about helping people like you— my neighbors. I respond to your calls, emails, and concerns. That’s why I worked hard helping over 25 constituents (perhaps your neighbor or family member), navigate the Department of Labor and Training to help them secure their unemployment insurance so they can pay their bills.  It’s about helping an elderly woman secure her handicapped parking sticker from the DMV; and working with the DOT so the damaged stone wall along Helm Street could be repaired because it was a priority for a Jamestown constituent. Your concerns are my concerns.

Finally, all of these efforts need open and transparent government to help them succeed.  To that end, I sponsored a bill to put all committee votes online at the General Assembly so that you can know how I vote.  While House Leadership did not support my bill, I will keep fighting until we have the open government we deserve.

My parents and grandparents worked hard, saved, and sacrificed their ‘today’ for my ‘tomorrow.’  I’m sure it’s true in your family, too. I am proud to be guided by the values of hard work, honesty, integrity, and perseverance. I promise I will do my part to lead our state and help us get out of our economic crisis.

I am honored to serve as your State Representative. It’s a remarkable experience to be a steward of our great state’s history.  I’ve worked hard my first term in office so your voice could be heard.

As the campaign season moves forward and I continue to visit door to door, I look forward to seeing you again, or meeting you for the first time.

I also respectfully ask for your vote on November 2nd. Until then, please call me at

423-0444  with any ideas, questions, or suggestions. You may also visit my website at  www.debruggiero.com. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.

Sincerely,

Deb Ruggiero

P.S. Please remember to call me at 423-0444 with any questions, or to get involved in our campaign to create a better Rhode Island.

Filed under: News


Rep. Deborah Ruggiero named 2012 LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR by the RI Nurses Association

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Call Deb at 401-423-0444 or email her at rep-ruggiero@rilin.state.ri.us..

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