We all know how special the Jamestown and Newport environment is to our economy, our international reputation and our own quality of life. But, we need more than generalizations and platitudes to address the serious challenges facing our state. With federal politics run amok, we will surely see cutbacks to critical environmental programs and the rollbacks of the laws and regulations that keep these spaces vibrant and well. That’s why it’s so important to have strong environmental leaders with a track record of success at the state level and why I’m running for state senate to represent Senate District 13.
I’m proud to accept the endorsements of Sierra Club and Clean Water Action because of my commitment to creating a sustainable and resilient Rhode Island. As a 4-year member of the Newport Energy and Environment Commission and Project Manager for the Newport Open Space Partnership, I have dealt with environmental issues first hand. I understand the expense of municipal waste management, the continued problems with street flooding and the cost of energy to cities, towns, and the state. I understand the environmental impact of tourists in our communities.
Aging infrastructure is barely handling our storm water runoff and our open space is under constant pressure to be developed. We urgently need to reduce energy costs for commercial, municipal and residential users and replace our aging energy systems with robust 21st century renewable technology, which will reduce our carbon footprint and our costs. I will advocate with a clear understanding of the challenges that we face.
Jamestown and Newport roads and bridges have topped the list of Rhode Island infrastructure most vulnerable to sea-level rise and storm surge. That comes as no surprise to those of us who live here and have seen the increasing number of days that our roads are flooding. With sea level rise predictions climbing it is critically important that we engage in meaningful public planning efforts and green infrastructure and resiliency projects to protect our coastline, business districts and neighborhoods. This work is already happening, but we can and must do more.
Policies for the renewable energy industry are taking hold in RI and the job growth in that sector has been significant. As Senator for RI Senate District 13, I will always support smart development, open space and waste reduction. I will initiate a community conversation about the environmental urgencies we face with rising seas and loss of open space. I will serve as your Senator with a vision of protecting and conserving our fragile environment and plan for a future that is resilient against the rising tide and changing weather patterns.