State Races Heat Up: Raptakis, DeSimone To Run For Senate Seats
Democrat Lou Raptakis says he will run for his old Senate seat — currently held by Glen Shibley — while newcomer Peter DeSimone said he’ll run for Senate District 35, the seat now held by Dawson Hodgson.
Democrats Lou Raptakis of Coventry and political newcomer Peter DeSimone of Narragansett both said they planned to run for state Senate during a "community dinner" Sunday night at Cole Middle School in East Greenwich hosted by U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
Raptakis said he will run for Senate Dist. 33, a seat now held by Republican Glen Shibley of Coventry.
DeSimone said he will run for Senate Dist. 35, a seat now held by Republican Dawson Hodgson of North Kingstown. Neither Shibley nor Hodgson has announced re-election plans.
Raptakis gave up his seat in the state Senate two years ago to run for Secretary of State. He lost in the primary against incumbent Ralph Mollis, who won re-election.
“The state’s not on the right track,” Raptakis said. “You can see the headlines every single day.... We’re going to be the Flint, Michigan, of the East Coast.”
He said he wants to return to the General Assembly to push for things like a container port, trash incinerators and desalination plants.
“I think Rhode Island is one of the only states on the East Coast without a container port,” he said. In addition, “we should have desalination plants to reduce our reliance on the Scituate Reservoir.… Massachusetts has done all these things.”
The old District 33 encompassed parts of Coventry, East Greenwich, West Warwick and Warwick. The new district includes Coventry, East Greenwich, and West Greenwich.
Peter DeSimone said he believes in “streamlining” local government. In particular, he said the state needed to encourage local consolidation through either mandates or incentives.
DeSimone grew up in Providence. He has worked as a lawyer and a high school history teacher, including a stint teaching in New York City. He returned to Rhode Island in 2008 and practices law in Narragansett.
“I’ve had a lifelong interest in politics and never done anything about it,” he said. “I’m very concerned that Rhode Island needs a lot.”
The new District 35 stretches from East Greenwich through the western half of North Kingstown into both South Kingstown and Narragansett.
“It’s a screwy district. It’s the second largest district in the state," said DeSimone. "In a way I'm an outsider to the district, but I'll make myself an insider. I love East Greenwich. East Greenwich is a lovely town."