NEW: Aaron Regunberg Announces Candidacy for Fox’s District 4 Seat
Thursday, April 03, 2014
Regunberg is a community organizer, advocate for progressive causes, and former GoLocalProv MINDSETTER™
“I’m running for State Representative for the Summit, Mount Hope and Blackstone neighborhoods because we need new voices and new leadership in Rhode Island,” said Regunberg, who is one of the founders of the high school student advocacy organization the Providence Student Union. “I’m running to make sure that every one of our public schools is providing the high quality, empowering education our young people deserve. I have fought for education change that comes from the bottom up, with youth, parents, educators, and community members. My work advocating alongside students has shown me what a difference it makes to have leaders who listen to and stand up for our young people, which is what I will do every day as State Representative.”
Regunberg is a graduate of Brown University. While there, he founded the “Brown for Providence” group that helped to successfully pressure Brown to increase payments in lieu of taxes to the City of Providence.
“I believe that we’re all better off when we have a fairer tax structure,” Regunberg said, “and as State Representative I will continue to advocate for property tax relief for working families and small businesses by restoring state aid to cities and towns.”
Diana Jackson, an artist and longtime resident of the Summit neighborhood, said, “I am so excited Aaron is running for state representative. My husband and I have loved working with him on a host of projects in our neighborhood, and I am always inspired by his energy, honesty and commitment to making our community a better place. This is one campaign I can’t wait to volunteer for!”
James Monteiro, a community leader in Mount Hope and executive director of the Billy Taylor House, has announced his support. “I’m looking for somebody who is committed to getting our economy back on track and who I know will stand up for our community,” James said. “Aaron has proven that he’s got the right priorities. Even more important, he’s proven that he knows how to bring people together to get things done. I’m behind Aaron 100%, and I know he’s going to have a strong base of support here in Mount Hope.”
Jill Davidson, education columnist for East Side Monthly and member of Temple Emanu-El’s Board of Trustees, has signed on as Regunberg’s campaign treasurer. “I have seen firsthand the incredible work Aaron does to empower young people and to advocate for youth-led reform in our schools,” Jill said. “I am thrilled to support Aaron’s candidacy because I know I can count on him to fight for high-quality public education and to represent my values at the State House.”
Previously announced candidate Sam Bell also expressed his support for Regunberg after ending his campaign Thursday morning. “I’d like to thank everyone who supported my campaign. I’m proud to stand behind Aaron. I know he will bring new leadership and a strong progressive voice to the State House, and I’m very excited to support his candidacy.”
Difference of one
“I have heard people ask how much difference one representative can make in the General Assembly,” Regunberg said. “The truth is, getting things done in a chamber of 75 people is difficult, and one person can’t do it alone. But as an advocate and community organizer, I have learned how to research good policy, bring people together, build coalitions and work hard for real change. I will bring this same passion to the State House.”
Regunberg lives in Providence’s Mount Hope neighborhood with his longtime partner, Katie. Regunberg is on the Executive Board of the Young Democrats of Rhode Island, where he works to encourage more young people to engage in the political process. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Billy Taylor House, a youth enrichment and workforce development program on the East Side.
Related Slideshow: Fox Scandal: Winners and Losers
Peter F, Neronha, U.S. Attorney
The bold action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation coupled with Internal Revenue Service investigators raiding the Speaker of the House's office was a major statement by federal authorities.
The investigation tied to now-former Speaker Fox sets expectations of a far broader probe.
Neronha has also indicted developer Richard Baccari and was key to the http://www.golocalprov.com/news/9949/">Google Settlement that brought $230 million to Rhode Island.
Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed
Generally, the Senate President plays second fiddle to the Speaker of the House, but with a new Speaker to be voted on as early as Tuesday, Paiva Weed's influence will shoot up in the transition.
She will be more influential in the budget process.
Look for Paiva Weed to make a move on controlling the Joint Committee on Legislative Services - the proverbial legislative grab bag for jobs and grants.
Majority Leader Nick Mattiello
As GoLocal Tweeted on Friday, the Cranston Representative and Majority Leader has the edge to take control of the House.
Mattiello (as of Sunday Night) has approximately 40 votes and the momentum necessary to replace Fox.
Mattiello has strong support from former Speaker and lobbyist Bill Murphy. A Mattiello Speakership may cause a big shake up in Committee Chairs and senior staffing.
Former Speaker Bill Murphy
Murphy and Fox worked together for more than a decade and their relationship had both ups and downs. Nick Mattiello, if elected Speaker, is a close ally to former Speaker Bill Murphy.
Murphy had served as Speaker from 2003 to 2010. The former legislator has a successful criminal defense practice and is a lobbyist for notable clients (2013) for UTGR (Twin River), Advance America Cash Advance, and the Brotherhood of Correction Officers.
Murphy will emerge as an ever greater influencer with Mattiello as Speaker.
The resignation by Gordon Fox is a political hit to the General Treasurer who went big for Fox in his surprisingly tough re-election against story teller Mark Binder.
Binder hit Fox both for his role in 38 Studios and his legal work for PEDP applicants.
Raimondo decided to publicly support Fox and walk his district with the embattled Speaker.
It should be noted that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras also supported Fox, but Raimondo claims to be the reformer in this race.
Fox's Committee Chairs (if Mattiello wins)
Fox loyalists who have pledged their support to Michael Marcello will be in trouble as will their agendas if Mattiello is in fact elected Speaker on Tuesday.
Committee Chairs like Helio Mello, Edith Ajello, and Arthur "Doc" Corvese might all be replaced as they backed Marcello.
For the past decade, Providence could always count of Gordon Fox to help bail the Providence Budget out of trouble.
From Finance Committee Chair, then-Majority Leader and ultimately-Speaker, Providence Mayors knew that Fox -- the Mount Hope section of Providence Representative -- would increase aid to Providence in one way or another.
Providence always found an extra few millions from Fox. That access is likely to end in 2014 further impacting the City of Providence's budget issues.
Legalization of Marijuana
The pieces were falling together for the effort to pass legislation to legalize marijuana in Rhode Island. Speaker Fox was a social progressive. Judiciary Committee Chair Edith Ajello, who may lose her post in the power shift, was the legislation's sponsor and in command of the key committee.
In addition, Governor Lincoln Chafee has voiced support for the idea.
But, a shift to a more conservative Mattiello would throw a barrier in the way to a 2014 passage.
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