I am a registered nurse who has been at the frontlines of the Covid-19 crisis. I'm the son of an educator and a union leader and I've always known the value of strong schools and good jobs. In 2013, my partner of 28 years and I were married. Now, I am running for Senate in District 4 Providence / North Providence to fight for a government that works for all Rhode Islanders, not just the wealthy and well-connected up at the State House.
When I ran for State Senate in 2020, I ran in anger.
I ran thinking of my friends who had died from AIDS in the 1980s. Seeing them suffer transformed my life---I became a nurse. Knowing that no one cared about my friends because they, like me, were gay, soothed my knuckles, aching from knocking on so many doors in June.
I ran thinking of my father, who was a school teacher and gave his life to the state of Rhode Island. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when I was 19. My family was forced to pay thousands of dollars a month in medication to keep him alive. The memory of watching my mother write letters to drug companies, pleading with them for the life-saving medicine my dad needed, fueled my march down steaming streets in the blazing heat of July.
I ran thinking of the people in my community who were suffering because of COVID---the misplaced elderly, scared and confused, the parents being placed on ventilators taking their last glimpse at the world, the patients talking with their families on the phone, unsure if they would ever go home again. The fear on those faces energized me throughout the tiring days of August.
Walking door to door, wearing my mask, and standing six feet back, I brought a message and vision of a better world to my neighbors.
No one knew my name. No one had heard my message before. But as I spoke with hundreds of neighbors, I learned that their struggles were not so different from mine.
I talked with a woman who was struggling to pay for chemotherapy drugs, just like my father had. I talked with a single mother, raising a son, barely able to afford her apartment. I talked with a woman who’s health insurance stopped paying for a home aide to help her change her dressings. Seeing a need, I stepped in and changed her bandages for her.
I told my neighbors then, and I tell them again now, that education is an investment in the future. That healthcare is an investment in every Rhode Islander. That clean energy is an investment in jobs. And that a fair tax system for small businesses will help them invest in themselves and pay their employees a living wage.
And you all heard me. Our community heard me. The results in the Democratic primary on September 8, 2020 showed that you were listening and felt the way I feel about the political system in this state and the need for change.
You heard my anger. You heard my hope. You heard my vision for a better world. Those countless hours of marching across hot pavement and having conversations with neighbors were not in vain. It’s because of all of you that we took one giant step forward towards a Rhode Island that works for all people.
Because of you, because of the conversations I continue to have in the community, because of how our politicians continue to represent only the most well-connected, my red hot anger of 2020 has tempered into a strong steely resolve.
But my anger is not gone, and will not be gone, until we build a state that works for all of us.
I am ready to turn that anger and that resolve into victory, and so, I’m here to announce that I’m planning to run again against Senator Dominick Ruggerio for State Senate District 4.
And I’m not doing it alone.
All over our state a movement is ready to erupt. Again, the Rhode Island Political Cooperative is running candidates for office who believe that we can make Rhode Island work for the people. By sponsoring a slate of over 50 determined candidates--teachers, nurses, waitresses, and working people all across our state---we are running to ensure that our entire government works for us. And together, we will enact an agenda that works for the people of Rhode Island – not corporations.
Our state, and our nation, was founded on the very ideal of standing up for the weak against the strong. My campaign, and the collective effort of all the Rhode Island Political Cooperative candidates, will fight to turn those ideals into reality.
Like Bobby Kennedy once said, “There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why… I dream of things that never were and ask, why not?”
Together, all of us here, and all of the candidates in the cooperative, are drops in a mighty stream, rushing straight at the corrupt swamp that is Smith Hill.
My opponent has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from wealthy campaign contributors. I will never take money from corporations or lobbyists. I will always answer to you, the community, not the well-connected.
And most importantly, I’ll have you with me on the streets next summer, knocking doors, connecting with voters, turning this political vision into reality.