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PowerPlayer: State Rep. Chris Blazejewski

Monday, March 05, 2012


This week’s PowerPlayer is State Rep. Chris Blazejewski. Rep. Blazejewski was kind enough to chat with GoLocalProv about life on Smith Hill and the most pressing issues facing Rhode Island.

1) You're now in your second session as a State Rep. What was the biggest learning experience you had in your first year in office?

Voter contact makes you a better legislator. When you work on controversial issues, your voters are a tremendous resource. As they contact you on one side or the other, you can explain your views, listen to theirs, and try to work through any differences in opinion that might exist. Your voters can help you develop a more sophisticated, nuanced view of an issue and also help develop ideas for bills that could make things better in our state.

2) What do you see as the three biggest issues facing the state right now?

We need to work to build a stronger economy for working men and women, strengthen our public education system, and ensure that our government protects civil rights and the environment and is efficient, open, accessible, and responsive. We need to focus on these goals in order to make Rhode Island competitive in the 21st century global economy.

3) Take us through a day in your life.

I'm up at 5:30am and start working on matters for my clients by 6:30am. On days when the House is in session, I head to the State House for the floor session at 4pm and then head to House Judiciary or Environment committee meetings until 7pm and sometimes later. After committee meetings, I go to neighborhood, community, or other events, usually getting home at 9pm or so. On days when the House is not in session, I get home earlier for dinner with my wife Ami.

4) You're considered a progressive leader in the state. How difficult is it to mix ideology and politics on Smith Hill, especially when you're in Party that has so many different factions?

In the House, you need 38 votes to pass a bill, and that means that you need to work with legislators who do not agree with you on 100% of the issues. There are certainly big differences in political ideology, but that doesn't mean you can't work together, build compromise, and pass worthwhile legislation to help turn things around in Rhode Island.

5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I spent the first eight years of my life growing up on a dairy farm in North Smithfield.

Quick Hitters

Role Model: My mom and dad. They worked so hard as I grew up - my dad on a loading dock and then for a lumber company, my mom raising my siblings and me and also working in retail - and yet always found time to teach us the value of education and to be there for us. I also admire my wife Ami's work as a public school teacher - she teaches five classes of nearly thirty students each and manages to treat each student with attention, care, and respect.

Favorite Restaurant: The latest favorite is Taste of India on Wickenden Street - they have delicious papri chaat and pakoras - though Providence is blessed with great Indian food including Kabob and Curry, India, and Rasoi as well.

Best Beach: Easton's Beach, Newport.

Best Book You've Read in the Last Year: Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville

Advice for the Next Chris Blazejewski: Work hard at what you're doing, and people will notice.

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"...my wife Ami's work as a public school teacher"
We know his priorities and the non-union taxpayer ain't one of them!

Comment #1 by Odd Job on 2012 03 05

I'm as conservative as it gets on many issues but Chris is a really nice guy even if he's a liberal-I may not agree with him but he's a gentleman-his wife is also a very nice person and I get the impression that she earns her pay as a teacher.
Chris is smart enough not to rely on narrow doctrinaire arguments all the time like most progressives.

Comment #2 by Joseph Bernstein on 2012 03 05

Isn't she some kind of specialists with no kids in front of her? These are the kind of jobs that need to be cut!

Comment #3 by buddy cianci on 2012 03 05

I believe she teaches history in high school-she was pursuing an advances degree at Harvard so maybe she has moved to another job-what's wrong with that?
My daughter taught bilingual special ed at Perry and Roger Williams for about 7 years and then was a literacy coach/trainer for 2 more years before leaving the Providence School Dept.to study for her doctorate.People move on in their careers-I just thought that having met Ami a few times she seemed like a committed teacher that I'd be glad was teaching my grandchildren if they lived in Johnston.
That's all-no politics involved because I'm sure I agree on very few things with either Chris or his wife.
It's easy to despise a Cicilline or an Art Handy-Chris is just a decent guy who is way too liberal.

Comment #4 by Joseph Bernstein on 2012 03 05

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