So I have been asked many times why I chose to run for State Representative of District 49 in Woonsocket. The answer isn’t one single thing but I’ll share a personal story that had a big impact on my decision.
One morning before school a little over 35 years ago I was rushing up the steps of Boston City Hall. Each day I met my dad and uncle on the 8th floor to help prep the coffee shop they ran together. Running late, which to be honest was typical for me, my backpack flap came undone with its contents spilling out all over the polished concrete floor in an explosion of papers, books (comic and text) and random school supplies. As I desperately started to pick up the mess, an older man with white hair in a wrinkled suit stopped to help me. He clearly noticed that I was having a minor panic attack because he half grinned and said “Don’t worry kid, nothing can be that important, take it easy”. I thanked him and moved on, hitting the elevators to head up to the coffee shop, not thinking anything more of it.
About a month or so later I was working the front counter of the coffee shop and handed a coffee to that same man. Again, with that crooked smile, he asked “No calamites today?”. I replied “No sir and thanks again”. He paid and gave me a two a dollar tip (not bad for 1984!). My uncle looked over and said “Its good you’re polite, especially to the Speaker”. “The Speaker?!” I asked. “Yes” he replied “That was Tip O’Neil, the Speaker of the House. He walks over here sometimes to talk to the Mayor”. As speechless as I was, I am fairly sure the significance of meeting one of the most powerful men in the country was largely lost on my teenaged self.
Over the years I have frequently thought of those interactions and realized a few things.
First and foremost, even the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives wasn’t too busy to help a gangly 13-year old when he needed a hand, only because someone did indeed need a hand. A simple lesson which I strive to live by and instill in my daughters today.
Second, after researching what he stood for, I think it’s clear he was able to put the needs of the country ahead of his politics when necessary. The greatest example, of course, is when he famously worked out the budget in closed sessions with Ronald Reagan time and again, despite their serious ideological and personality differences.
And finally, his famous saying “All politics is local”.
So, it is with those three things in mind that I am seeking your vote for District 49 in the RI House of Representatives. I truly feel that I have something to offer and if Tip O’Neil could take his time to help me back then, certainly I can make the time and put in the effort to work on behalf of Woonsocket in our State House. Following his example of putting aside partisan differences, I am running as an independent and will strive to be a moderate voice in the assembly as we work to ensure that Rhode Island is as socially and economically great as it can be as we head into 2021 and beyond. And lastly, as all politics truly are local, my voice is your voice and my first priority and obligation will be to you, the residents of District 49 and Woonsocket.
If you believe that these same principles are as important as I do, then I ask that you vote for me on November 3rd and put me to work, working for you and Woonsocket.