With less than three months to the General Election, and less than a month to the Primary Election, What’s Up Newp begins its comprehensive coverage of not only elections in Newport County, but also key statewide legislative races.

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Here we share an election profile for Deborah Ruggiero, who is seeking re-election as State Representative in District 74 (Jamestown, Middletown).

Deborah Ruggiero

Website: www.debruggiero.com

Government/political history

Current office:

Elected State Representative serving since 2009

Previous or current appointed government positions (including boards and commissions):

chair of House Small Business;  Defense Economy Planning Commission;  chair of Environment/Transportation Committee on House Finance; Jamestown Rotary; founding board member of Women’s Fund of RI; president of RI Lung Association.

Political Party Affiliation in 2020:    

Democrat

Previous political party affiliation if different from above _N/A_

Previous elective political positions sought, year and outcomes.  N/A

If applicable: As an incumbent, I am most proud of: (in no particular order)  

 As an incumbent, I am most proud of serving working families, seniors, and small businesses in our community and across the state. At the State House that means speaking ‘truth to power’ and standing up to corruption; in our community it means listening and being responsive to your needs.  Over the past five months as COVID-19 has turned the world upside down, many of you reached out to me for help with PPP business loans, unemployment insurance and senior services. When (not if) the virus hits again, know that I’m here for you.

As a small business owner, I’ve worked to eliminate regulations and champion affordable healthcare.  Our children deserve a safe healthy world with clean water and clean air. My policy work includes framing the state’s renewable energy laws to create solar and wind energy projects for municipalities, businesses, and homeowners to save on electricity costs; and sponsoring the Act on Climate 2020 to reduce carbon emissions. There is so much more that needs to be done at the intersection of the economy and the environment.

If elected my three top goals are:

There is so much more work that needs to be done to bring fiber-optic to Aquidneck Island and to the state for 21st-century economic development, distance learning, and telehealth. Rhode Island is one of only two states in the country that does not have broadband oversight and therefore is not accessing available federal dollars for municipal projects.  The lack of high-speed fiber-optic internet hampers competitiveness in the marketplace, leaving consumers and businesses paying high rates for inferior service. 

I would also re-introduce my 2020 enabling legislation that helps cities and towns handle the short-term rental crisis that is impacting many residential neighborhoods.   

Education is critically important to economic development. We need innovative programs so our students are trained in technology, advanced manufacturing, nursing, healthcare, and computer science.  RI is a leader in funding computer science classes (CS4RI) in grades K-12. Let’s get our kids excited about jobs in the digital world!  We all want a good job, a safe place to live, and a thriving economy. We need to support our local economy and resuscitate our hospitality and tourism industry. I will continue to be a strong, thoughtful voice at the State House.

Employment and Education

My current employment, including title, is:

President/ DR Communications Group, an advertising and marketing firm that helps business and non-profits with branding;  broadcast, social and digital media

Schools and degrees:

Boston College    Double Major  English/Communications

Clark University Masters Public Administration/Senior Leadership

Awards of recognitions associated with work:

Legislative Champion Award for Voluntary Extension of Care Act

Advocacy Award from Community Provider Network of Rhode Island for legislation and advocacy for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)

Legislative Partner Award from Rhode Island Parents Information Network


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