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We Need Your EG Debate Questions!

The Great Debates (between candidates for state Senate (Dist. 33) and House (Dist. 30) take place this Wednesday!


The presidential debates have certainly been gripping, but on Wednesay, we in East Greenwich get a chance to be part of our own Great Debate. 

The debate will feature candidates Dawson Hodgson and Winters B. Hames for state Senate District 33 and candidates Kevin McDonough, Mark Schwager, and Anthony Giarrusso for state Representative District 30, at the Varnum Armory, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Mark Curtis will be moderating the House debate and I will be moderating the Senate debate. But we need your help – what issues do you want to hear the candidates address? 

Are you concerned about pension reform? Do you want to hear how the candidates will try to improve the jobless rate in R.I.? Should the candidates talk about how to make the state more attractive to business? How do the candidates feel about passing same sex marriage legislation in the next session?

There are lots of possible questions. The best debate will be one with a wide variety. 

If you have a question, either leave it here as a comment or send it to me via email: elizabeth.mcnamara@patch.com.

And thanks!

Profiles of the three state House District 30 race are here: Kevin McDonough, Anthony Giarrusso, and Mark Schwager.

Bob Hartman October 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Rhode Island was recently ranked number 50 in an MSNBC poll as to business friendly climate. What specific legislation will you introduce or support to improve our business climate ?
Tommy Mahoney October 21, 2012 at 01:22 PM
In a state that is overwhelmingly democrat in representation at the state house, making it obvious from the state's ranking in unemployment and un-friendly business environment, that single party rule doesn't work, what do you plan to do to reach across the aisle and find solutions to ending what has been generations of our state failing whenever it is ranked against other states. Even in good economic times we still don't rank well with other states in comparison.
Kevin McDonough October 21, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Bob & Tom: Your questions are related & I'm happy to provide you & others my plan to move RI from the bottom of the rankings. Government should facilitate business growth by fostering a climate that encourages investment of economic capital by existing and new businesses. The approach RI needs to take requires immediate action with long term results. There are no panaceas or silver bullets that will get instant results as was clearly demonstrated by the 38 Studios approach. Imagine if instead of risking $75 million on this one venture the state had offered 1% or $750,000 to 100 RI companies that are struggling in this economy. How might our economic prospects look today? What I recommend is not government handouts however. Our state government needs to reduce the tax burden on individuals and companies. In order to do that we must control state spending. I see three major targets of state government that need to be reigned in on the spending side. One is quasi-governmental agencies (or what I like to refer to as queasy-governmental agencies because how they operate makes me ill as a taxpayer!) There are over 20 of such agencies in our small state with a combined budget in excess of $577 million. Some stellar examples of these entities that have been in the news recently are EDC & RIPTA. A second target is our state Judiciary Branch where excesses exist in salaries & benefits & the operating budget. A third is unfunded state mandates on towns. Learn more at: ABetterRI.com
Carl I. Hoyer October 21, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Questions for the Debate: Your position on the presence of the Master Lever? Your position on term limits?
William P Macaux October 21, 2012 at 08:26 PM
It can be very difficult to find a primary care physician (especially male physicians) whose practice is taking new patients. This is problem nationwide. What can Rhode Island do to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in Rhode Island?
Chuck Newton October 23, 2012 at 06:05 AM
There is no shortage of issues to consider: 1) What is your position on the Fire District consolidation with the Town of East Greenwich? 2) If the Fire District referendum passes, what is the liklihood that the General Assembly will disapprove, and what can/will you do to prevent that? 3) Do you find it at all disconcerting that tourism and healthcare are the state's two largest employers? How do we broaden the economic base in RI? 4) What limits, if any, should be placed on Legislative Grants? 5) How can communities such as East Greenwich build an effective firewall against new state mandates? How can we force a review of existing mandates? 6) Given the 38Studios failure, what strictures could be put in place to limit the powers of the Speaker of the House and Senate President. Are such limits a good idea? 7) What would you propose to avoid or eliminate the un-transparent practice of passing or rejecting literally hundreds of bills days/hours of the legislative session? 8) What is your position on Same Sex Marriage? 9) Cronyism is sapping the life out of politics in RI, and is a major reason voters are so disenchanted about government in this state. What measures would you propose to prevent the appointment/employment of family members or business associates to positions within RI Government? 10) Do you favor changing state laws requiring Voter ID at the polls, as some legislators have suggested? The list goes on...
Jen C. October 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM
With all of the federal holidays which close school and prevent 5 day school weeks (there are only 7 weeks between the start of school and 2013) would you support repealing the legislation that requires closing all schools for primary Election Day even in towns that can host voting in non-school facilities?

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