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.
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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