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PowerPlayer: State Rep. Jon Brien

Monday, April 23, 2012


This week’s PowerPlayer is State Rep. Jon Brien. The chairman of the House Municipal Government Committee, Brien was kind enough to chat with GoLocalProv about the Governor’s relief package and his future in politics.

1) You're the chairman of the House Municipal Government Committee. Give us the lowdown on the Chafee relief package. Does it stand a chance of passing?

Governor's Chafee's municipal reform and relief package is a strong attempt at providing cities and towns with the tools necessary to address fiscal crisis head on. The package provides more flexibility in cutting expenses and reducing pension liability. If enacted it will help municipalities avoid raising taxes or being forced into receivership. The concepts are strong, but in all honesty - the political will to move the entire package is still developing.

2) As a State Rep. from Woonsocket, how closely are you monitoring the city's fiscal problems? How can those problems be solved?

Very closely. My primary focus is my constituents - can they afford a supplemental tax increase? How might the Governor sending in a budget commission impact their daily lives? I'm not convinced that creating more of a tax burden on my constituents - many who are already struggling to make ends meet - will truly set the city on a path to solvency. Our city leaders need to take a hard look at the solutions they've presented to the delegation and the council - and make sure that those solutions are actually doable and that they address the city's fiscal instability as well as the needs of our residents and taxpayers. There is opportunity in this crisis and through it I will do all that I can to ensure that Woonsocket emerges from this turmoil a more livable, stable community.

3) Take us through a day in your life.

With two girls, 6 and 8, my days are all basically the same. Wake up, get them dressed, fed, make lunches, do ponytails, and get them out the door. The rest of the day is spent either at the office, at the State House, in court, in meetings, returning calls, or returning emails.

4) What's next for Jon Brien? Would you consider running for higher office?

I'm focused on ensuring that my constituents are well represented on Smith Hill and that our city emerges from this fiscal turmoil in a strong position. Beyond that, I would definitely consider higher office as I love Rhode Island and I will do whatever I can to serve the interests of the State and its citizens in the best manner possible. If that means higher office, then so be it.

5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.

One of my favorite nights of the week is “Jet, Set, and Style” night with my girls. This consists of a bath, blow dry, and hair style of their choice. I can do almost anything, except a French Braid.

Quick Hitters

Role Model – My Father. One of the best public speakers the RI House of Representatives has ever known and one of the best Reps. to ever serve Woonsocket.

Favorite Restaurant – Wrights Farm Restaurant. I can eat three whole chickens in one sitting.

Best Beach – Matunuck Beach. I’m always looking for an excuse to stop in at the Ocean Mist in the summertime.

Best Book You've Read in the Last Year – Tie: Kill Shot by Vince Flynn and 1984 by George Orwell (for the fifth time). That book was as relevant then as it is now.

Advice for the Next Jon Brien –  "Always remember where you came from and never stop working to get to where you want to go. As soon as you start to believe your own hype, it’s time to ask for the check.”


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