Voter Guide: Anthony Gemma Profile (1st Congressional District)
Monday, September 10, 2012
Candidate Profile: Anthony Gemma
Birth date: January 27, 1970
Education: Suffolk University; Roger Williams Law School
Bio: I was born the youngest of 9 children and lived in a three story tenement home on the north end of Providence. I began to learn the plumbing trade at the young age of ten. I worked full-time to put myself through college and law school. After my graduation, I returned to my family’s plumbing business and was appointed to Vice President & Legal Counsel.
In 2001, I was named President & CEO, where I remained until 2008. In 2004, after my mother passed away due to breast cancer, I co-founded the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation. In 2008, after years of mentoring local Rhode Island businesses on how to market their companies, I established Mediapeel, a full service marketing firm. Throughout the years, my family and I have spent countless hours of our time helping local non-profit charities including St. Mary’s Home for Children, The Rhode Island Special Olympics, The Autism Project of Rhode Island, The RlSPCA, The Rhode Island Veterans Administration, Boy Scouts of Rhode Island.
On the Issues
How can you create jobs in Rhode Island?
I am the only candidate who is a proven jobs creator and understands how to get Rhode Islanders back to work. This requires introducing a new system for economic growth. My vision is to create an integrated system of self-sustaining businesses and communities, and to facilitate collaboration among these communities. In order to accomplish this goal, we will use local knowledge to identify existing and potential businesses, grounded in the local economies of our cities.
Simultaneously, we will work to integrate these local economies, creating synergies to maximize their economic impact. I have identified two foundations; Tax Reform and Start-Ups, by which we can build eight pillars; health and wellness; education; advanced manufacturing; travel and tourism; the marine industry; infrastructure; alternative energy; start-ups and small businesses. It draws from the past and looks to the future as it restores Historic Tax Credits and brings cruise ships to our ports.
I will uphold the contracts made with our parents and grandparents. I will safeguard Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. If elected to Congress, I will support our seniors and never force them to choose between medicine and food. I will resist the Right-wing Republican Paul Ryan plan to turn Medicare into a Voucher program.
I support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because it will close the Medicare Part D donut hole and reduce the burden on our seniors. However, I want to take this to the next level. I will attempt to increase Medicare benefits in order to reduce supplemental insurance costs. I will also attempt to eliminate taxes on Social Security and protect our seniors from the increasing cost of prescription drugs. In Congress, I will fight to increase drug benefits and extend these benefits to all new drugs moving forward.
Affordable Care Act:
For the first time in the history of our country, insurance-based gender discrimination will no longer be an accepted norm. The Affordable Care Act ensures that prejudice against those with pre-existing medical conditions will no longer be tolerated. This Act is vitally important to the success of our nation. Children, many of whom would be saddled with medical costs, are now covered until the age of twenty-six. This legislation supports insurance exchanges to rein in costs and penalizes insurance companies for spending more money on salaries than medical procedures.
Most importantly, however, this legislation will end the “Medicare Part D Donut Hole” and will put Medicare on sound footing into the future. Mr. Gemma strongly opposes Republican members of the House of Representatives who are attempting to defund preventative care. Moreover, he will not stand for the Paul Ryan Budget plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system. As Congressman, he will rebuff these attempts because he knows that preventative care is the key to saving lives and reducing future costs.
We must protect women’s right to choose and protect women’s access to reproductive health. I respect Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. If elected to Congress, I will take an oath to safeguard the Constitution; to that end, women must be allowed to make their own decisions regarding their own bodies. I will protect women’s right to choose.
I have a firm belief that an investment in education is an investment in the future of Rhode Island. The Ocean State needs a 21st century education system to create a 21st century workforce. As your congressman, I will bring refined solutions and innovative ideas to educational reform. I believe that our valued educators are Rhode Island’s most valuable resource in the fight against educational apathy.
I support nationwide comparative education research that will help to determine the most effective teaching methods and curricula. I am dedicated to supporting education for all Rhode Islanders from pre-school to college. I will work aggressively in Congress for a bold new plan; providing all Rhode Islanders with the opportunity to pursue one year of community college - for free.
Same Sex Marriage:
This year has been a remarkable one for those who support marriage equality. The government ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the President refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, and states across the country have increased rights for our LGBT and questioning friends. I too support, and as a member of Congress will defend marriage equality. I understand that there are many who honestly disagree with me. I would remind them that marriage operates in two different spheres: legal and religious. As a legal matter subject to the state’s authority to regulate, everyone, irrespective of religion, color, creed, race, or sexual orientation, must be treated equally under the law.
I believe Afghanistan was a necessary US action because the Taliban – the government of this country during the 1990s – was harboring terrorists who acted against America. Currently, there are 90,000 US troops in this country, who I am hoping will come home soon. These troops have accomplished their mission of keeping the country from being a safe-haven for Al-Qaeda.
Energy & the Environment:
believe in clean energy, including wind and solar. Once elected to congress, I will join the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, a Congressional caucus that is working to put the clean energy technologies of the future in place today. Americans deserve to be free of the dependence on fossil fuels. I will do everything in his power to keep Narragansett Bay free of pollutants and protect our waterways for the next generation. We must also keep our fisheries healthy; protection of our fishing industry and nurseries are vital to Rhode Island’s success.
Immigration is an important issue in the 21st century. I support the President’s Cabinet level order to support those that are here as a result of no fault of their own. This will allow those who came here by no fault of their own to stay here and contribute to American society. I will fight for all segments of our population.
I support the DREAM Act. This Act makes the President’s cabinet level order permanent. If a person arrives in the US before the age of 16, lives in the US for more than 5 years, are in school, or are high school graduates, or are military veterans in good standing, we should be proud to have them in our country and do all that we can to give them access to the American dream.
Do you support right-to-work?
I believe that they can weaken union bargaining strength and will make it harder worker’s organizations. Also, as is noted by the Economic Policy Insitute, right-to-work states by no means shields against job loss.
You’ve made a lot of enemies within the Democratic machine in Rhode Island. If you win the primary, what will you do to win over some of David Cicilline’s supporters?
I don’t believe that I have made a lot of enemies within the Democratic machine in Rhode Island. I believe I have offered a strong alternative to the ineffective and deceptive practices of Mr. Cicilline and that the Rhode Island Democratic Party will be welcoming of someone who will walk the walk of Democratic values. I believe Mr. Cicilline’s current supporters will realize that I am a proud Democrat and I will serve Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Democratic Party in a hard-working and honorable fashion.
This is has been a contentious primary. What is your biggest regret of the race?
It is regrettable that Mr. Cicilline continues to skirt around the major issues that face Rhode Islanders and focus only on worn-out clichés that highlight how partisan he is. I had hoped we would be able to have substantive discussions in our debates that would more clearly show why I am the Democrat who is best for Rhode Island.
Who is your favorite member of the opposite party?
A member of the Republican Party that I would like to work with in Washington is Congresswoman Sue Myrick. She is a cancer survivor and a strong advocate for cancer research. As founder of the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, I believe her and I would be able to effectively collaborate as advocates for research to help those struggling with this disease.
In one paragraph, why should voters support Anthony Gemma?
I’m the Democrat you can trust and I’m going to create jobs. I give specifics while my opponents only offer broad clichés. My jobs plan will create ten thousand jobs in five years, and it’s based on eight pillars: health and wellness; education; advanced manufacturing; travel and tourism; the marine industry; infrastructure; alternative energy; start-ups and small businesses. I’m going to help preserve Social Security for the next 75 years by raising the payroll tax cap and creating jobs. I’m going to help preserve Medicare by strengthening provisions of the Affordable Care Act. I’m going to protect Roe v. Wade and women’s access to reproductive and preventive health care. I’m going to help provide jobs, access to health and human services, and education for veterans by revitalizing the G.I. Bill. Most importantly, I am a Rhode Islander for Rhode Islanders, and it’s time we have a voice in Washington that will bring positive change to our state. My Vision for the future is on my website.
- Voter Guide: Anthony Gemma Profile (1st Congressional District)
- Voter Guide: David Cicilline Profile (1st Congressional District)