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PowerPlayer: Democratic Congressional Candidate Anthony Gemma

Monday, June 25, 2012


This week’s PowerPlayer is Democratic Congressional candidate Anthony Gemma. Mr. Gemma was kind enough to chat with GoLocalProv about his vision for Rhode Island and the country.

1) You're a successful businessman now running for Congress. Tell us what you can do for Rhode Island that you're opponents cannot.

You hit the nail right on the head. I am the only candidate that brings business experience into the race. As a businessman I know that when the middle class is successful, our society flourishes. We must encourage this. Having managed two businesses and having starting the non-profit organization (the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation), I understand business and non-profits in a way no one else in the race does. I know that this is important for understanding job creation and strengthening our national and local communities.

When a bill comes up in Congress that could affect how businesses and non-profits function, I will be the best voice for start-up businesses and non-profits. I can attest to the fact that starting up a small business is difficult, but few people realize how difficult it is for non-profits to begin. Creating jobs in this country will have to hinge on creating jobs in the public sector, the private and the not-for-profit sector. I will bring my knowledge and experience to Congress so businesses and non-profits can grow and be a successful part of our community and our nation.

2) Everyone knows job creation is the biggest issue in the country. Give us three other issues you'd like to fix in Washington right now.

After job creation, the next major issue on my agenda is to fight for preventative healthcare programs, specifically fighting for women’s healthcare. In comparison, the Republican Party continues to attempt to cut services which would prevent illness, saving money in the short term at the expense of growth and life expectancy in the long term. I know how important preventative care is; it saves people's lives. I see this happen every day at the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, giving women hope by helping women detect the disease at the earliest possible stage.

Another important issue I want to work on in Washington is helping our veterans. I am appalled by the manners in which, we as a nation, have abrogated our responsibility to defend those who risk their lives to defend us. Federal and state services currently offered to veterans take little if any advantage of cutting-edge technological resources that are routinely utilized to support commercial ventures. I want to help change this atmosphere, and give hope to our veterans.

I am an ardent supporter of programs for our senior citizens. I believe we must preserve, protect, and strengthen Social Security, and Medicare. The social contract we have made with our parents' and grandparents' generations must be upheld. They must not have to make the impossible choice between medicine and food. When I hear discussions from the Republicans in Congress of turning Medicare into a voucher, I cringe at the idea. If elected I will use my vote to prevent dishonoring the promise we made to our seniors.

3) Take us through a day in your life.

Perhaps “lives” is the more accurate word. I work, on average, 18 hours per day. This campaign, from countless public appearances, through internal planning sessions, to private study and writing, consumes most of that time. Meeting my responsibilities to family account for the balance.

4) Rhode Island seems to suffer from that first in, last out dilemma whenever the economy goes in the tank. Give us three ways to improve Rhode Island's economy.

  • Create sustainable, well-paying jobs in ways detailed in my “21st Century Congressional Jobs Plan.”
  • Make higher education affordable and accessible to all, eliminate the need for prospective degree seekers to choose between learning and earning, and as a result create a skilled workforce to support both traditional and cutting-edge industries.
  • Develop industries and resources unique to Rhode Island (our concentrations of educational and health-and-wellness centers, and Narragansett Bay, for examples), create strategic/symbiotic relationships among them, and offer the resulting models for national applications.

5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I’m a Patriots fanatic and have been all my life. I love football, and hope to one day find the time to couch a youth football team.

Quick Hitters

Role Model: My mother

Favorite Restaurant: Too many to mention

Best Beach: Newport and Narragansett

Best Book You've Read in the Last Year: Profiles in Courage - John Kennedy

Advice for the Next Anthony Gemma: Live, Laugh and Love


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