We’re two Newport “social justice crusaders ” who have studied the District 13 candidates for RI Senate. Our decision is made;  we’re voting for John Florez.  In our book, he’s clearly the candidate best equipped to champion the way forward to the much stronger, year-round economy that we all have been seeking for decades.

John’s resume speaks for itself;  he knows how to build and grow thousands of high quality, tax-paying,  year-round careers that we need to fund our many social enterprise goals. While the other candidates tout their generic support for “good jobs,” Florez actually creates them!

Like many Rhode Island voters, we support fundamental social causes that enhance the quality of life for seniors, promote universal healthcare, advocate for a cleaner environment, buttress women’s rights, and deliver higher-performing public education.

Realistically, these important causes have hefty price tags. Clearly, in a state that’s been  hard-pressed to grow sources of revenue, electing leadership with proven entrepreneurial wherewithal is essential, if we hope to forge a more fruitful and resilient future.

The John Florez story is inspiring. A Columbian-born child, who at age 5 came to America, rose from poverty to build a successful technology business, which recently won Google’s  “Economic Impact” award. Now, he is giving back by sharing his strengths with others.

Our beautiful state, persistently cash-constrained due to a low-growth economy, is hobbled by a labor force that failed to keep pace with the tech revolution. Everything changed when Steve Jobs put the world in the palm of our hands. While many states rode the wave of the knowledge economy, the Ocean State was pulled under the tow of debt and an unwillingness to push past an antiquated status quo.

If your goal is to expand progressive policies, obviously, we must find new sources of cash that are not tied to fanciful federal funding, additional state borrowing, or worse, the hypnotic effects of gambling’s easy money.  Join us in voting for John Florez in the July 18th primary.

Florez is the only candidate, untethered by special interests, who is poised to use his insightfulness, energy, and experience to move our city and state ahead.

Respectfully submitted,

Beth & Mike Cullen


Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.