Surrounded by his family and supporters at King Park, with the Newport Bridge in the background, Republican Michael Smith officially announced his candidacy for Senate District 13 (Newport, Jamestown). The seat recently vacated by former Senate President Theresa Paiva-Weed.
Smith ran for Senate against Senator Paiva-Weed in 2014, giving the senator her closest race ever, garnering 46% of the vote in his first attempt at elected office.
“Now is the time for change,” said Smith. “Newport’s and Jamestown’s populations continue to drop, as we have become too dependent on tourism. This has made our economy vulnerable to economic downturns and our future far to unpredictable.”
“When elected I will work in a bi-partisan manner to help our local leaders create a diverse year-round economy, and year round jobs. I will then take that message upstate to ensure we get the support we need from the state to begin putting the pieces together that will create a healthy economy that provides for both the good paying jobs and the social programs we need to support both our businesses and our neighbors.”
Smith also spoke of Rhode Island’s dismal ranking as the worst state in the country for business. “We must create partnerships between our businesses, our neighborhoods and our leaders that will seek ways to make our state business friendly , especially to small business, who overall are our largest employer. We can no longer work at the expense of one to serve the other. We must develop win/win strategies that serve the needs of our entire community. When elected that is exactly what I will do.”
Smith also discussed education. “ We pay more in taxes each year, yet our school scores and rankings are continuing to fall. We must adopt practice similar to top education states like Massachusetts, so that we can equip our kids for the challenges of the future.”
“We can no longer continue the divisive party politics that has held this state and our region back for so many years. We must embrace a new political approach that focuses upon leading with authenticity, integrity and respect for one another. When elected I promise to lead that effort so that we spend our time moving forward, creating a future that has promise for the future while addressing the pressing needs of our present.”
Smith also named members of his Planning Committee:
Chair: Former State Representative Daniel Riley.
Co -Chairs: Cranston Mayer Alan Fung, and Former State Senator Edward O’Neil.
Jamestown Chair: City Councilor Blake Dickenson, and co-chair Rebecca Shiff.