At a press conference earlier this afternoon at King Park, Michael “Mike” Smith officially announced his candidacy for the Senate District 13 (Jamestown, Newport) that was recently vacated by Teresa Paiva Weed.

Four democrats have announced that they will run for the Senate seat once occupied by Teresa Paiva Weed – John Florez, Dawn Euer, David Allard, and David Hanos. The Rhode Island Secretary of State has announced that the special election to fill Paiva Weed’s Senate seat will be on August 22nd, there will be a Primary on July 18th.

Paiva Weed, who had been the state senator of District 13 since 1992, announced on March 22nd that she would be resigning from the Senate and would be accepting the presidency of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to assisting member hospitals to meet the health care needs of Rhode Islanders.

Official statement from Smith;

Surrounded by his family and supporters Michael Smith officially announced his candidacy, as a Republican, for the election for Senate District 13, representing Newport and Jamestown. The seat 13 was recently vacated by former Senate President Theresa Paiva-Weed.

Smith ran for Senate against Senator Weed in 2014, and gave here her closest race ever, garnering 46% of the vote in his first attempt at elected office.

Smith stated: “Newport and Jamestown population continues 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 talked about the states continuing 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”.

In closing Smith stated: “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 some member of his Planning Committee which consists of:

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

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).