NEW: Cicilline Hires 2 Rhode Islanders to Congressional Staff

Monday, January 06, 2014


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Congressman David N. Cicilline has announced the hiring of two native Rhode Islanders to work in his Washington, D.C. office.

Former Deputy Press Secretary for Senator Jack Reed, Andrew Gernt will serve as his new Communications Director; and former Deputy Scheduler for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Katie Spoerer will serve as his new Washington, D.C. Scheduler and Administrative Assistant.

“I’m excited to welcome Andrew and Katie to my office and I look forward to working with them. Katie brings many years of hard work and experience on the Hill and her understanding of Rhode Island will be invaluable to me,” said Cicilline. “Andrew brings a wealth of knowledge and communications expertise to my office. As a Rhode Islander and former Deputy Press Secretary to Senator Reed, Andrew understands the challenges facing our state and the needs and concerns of Rhode Islanders.”

Gernt begins his new position in Congressman Cicilline’s office after working for Senator Reed for nearly five years where he served in several different positions including Staff Assistant, Special Projects Aide, and Deputy Press Secretary. A native Rhode Islander, Gernt attended the Wheeler School before receiving a degree in English from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Gernt is currently pursuing an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies at the Naval War College.

"I have long admired David Cicilline and am honored to work for my hometown Congressman," said Gernt. "Congressman Cicilline is a dedicated public servant with a strong record of service to the Ocean State. I look forward to helping him as he continues to fight for the issues most important to Rhode Islanders."

Spoerer grew up in Cumberland and attended Cumberland High School. She graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and graduated with Bachelors and Masters in Criminal Justice and worked as Deputy Scheduler for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for two years.

“Every day Congressman Cicilline works tirelessly to improve the lives of his constituents and because of that I am thrilled to be part of his team,” Spoerer said. “The only greater feeling than working for a passionate and dedicated Member of Congress is working for one who also represents where you grew up and where your entire family resides.”

Cicilline also promoted Alex Macfarlane from Press Assistant to Deputy Communications Director in his Rhode Island office. Macfarlane, a Brown graduate from Utah, joined Cicilline’s Pawtucket District Office in August.


Related Slideshow: RI State Report: More News of the Week - 1/4/14

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Lawmakers to Reconvene

The General Assembly will open its 2014 session on Tuesday, January 7. The House of Representatives and the Senate will convene in their respective chambers at 4 p.m. to begin the work of the new legislative year.

Speaker of the House Gordon D. Fox (D-Dist. 4, Providence) and President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) will gavel their chambers to order. Opening day of the General Assembly is, per Rhode Island Constitution, the first Tuesday in January. House and Senate floor sessions are typically held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

General Assembly sessions are open to the public and are also televised by Capitol TV – Channel 15 for Cox Communications and Full Channel, Channel 34 for Verizon.

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Small Business Creation

On Friday, Secretary of State Ralph Mollis released fourth quarter data for new business entity creations, which illustrated that businesses continue to file at the same rate as last year.

According to the data, nearly 1,616 new business entities registered with the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division for the fourth quarter, which runs between October 1st through December 31st, 2013.

From January 1 through December 31st, 2013, there were a total of 7,199 new entity filings processed by the Business Services Division, which is an increase of 1.015% from last year’s year-end totals.

“I am pleased to see that we are continuing to grow new business opportunities here in Rhode Island. This is positive news for our business community,” said Mollis.

In 2007, Secretary Mollis implemented an online filing system designed to improve customer experience and make the process more efficient.  As of year end 2013, 58% of all annual report filings were filed electronically, as opposed to a paper filing.

Most newly formed business entities in Rhode Island choose a corporate structure that requires registering with the Secretary of State. More than 70,000 limited liability companies and for-profit and non-profit corporations are currently registered.

The Secretary of State’s Business Services Division also works with start-ups and oversees recording commercial liens, registering notaries public and protecting corporate trademarks.

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Autism Commission

The Special Joint Commission to Study the Quality of Life and Create Positive Outcomes for Individuals with Autism in Rhode Island will meet at noon Thursday, January 9, in Room 135 of the State House.

Thursday's gathering will be an organizational meeting that will include electing a Chairperson, reviewing legislation, discussing goals and objectives, and setting a next meeting date.

In related news, Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) recently called upon local artists and members of the public to submit designs for a special license plate supporting the Autism Project of Rhode Island.

The senator, whose bill authorizing the creation of the special license plate passed the General Assembly this year, said he is excited to offer local artists a chance to compete for their own unique designs for a good cause.

The submission deadline was Jan. 1 and submissions are currently being reviewed. For more information visit the project's Facebook page.

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Firearms Task Force

The Joint Behavioral Health and Firearms Safety Task Force is scheduled to meet next week with a representative of the federal Department of Justice and a Connecticut State Police official in charge of firearms licensing.

The task force is scheduled to meet Thursday, Jan. 9, at 4:30 p.m. in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House.

Scheduled to make presentations are Jeanne E. Miller, senior attorney for the United States Department of Justice; and Lt. Eric Cooke, commanding officer, special licensing and firearms, for the Connecticut State Police.

Created by legislation sponsored by its co-chairwomen, Rep. Deborah Ruggiero and Sen. Catherine Cool Rumsey, the task force is a key element of the package of legislation introduced this year in the General Assembly to address gun safety following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The 20-member task force is to weigh the rights of those with behavioral health problems to own guns with the risks. The panel is to conduct a review of current law and make recommendations on legislation to improve public safety by developing a more comprehensive approach addressing the nexus between behavioral health and firearms safety.

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Fox Fundraiser

House Speaker Gordon D. Fox will hold his first fundraiser of the year on Wednesday, January 22 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm at the Providence Marriot.
Fox (D – Dist. 4, Providence) has confirmed his intentions to run for re-election in 2014. The Speaker won re-election in 2012 when he defeated Independent Mark Binder.
Fox is serving his third term as Majority Leader, as elected by his Democratic colleagues. He has served as a member of the House of Representatives since January 1993.
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Johnston Groundbreaking

On Monday, Sen. Frank Lombardo III (D-Dist. 25, Johnston) joined town officials for a groundbreaking ceremony of the new 28,000-square-foot complex, located adjacent to TD Bank North and Walgreens.

According to Lombardo, the groundbreaking of the new mixed residential-commercial building on Atwood Avenue is just another example of the economic revival occurring in Rhode Island.

“I think there is a feeling, particularly in Johnston, that we are finally turning a corner,” said Lombardo. “The town has drawn in about 140 new businesses this year. People are excited to get back to work and explore new possibilities in development and entrepreneurship. We are getting back on track.”

Lombardo is the deputy majority whip of the Rhode Island Senate. He is also the secretary of the Senate Committee on Labor, and a member of the Senate committees on commerce and rules.


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