Rhode Island State House

This year will be among Rhode Island’s most active and fiery elections, from local races to crowded gubernatorial and U.S. House of Representative campaigns. 

Today, we begin a column that will appear regularly, wrapping up some of the top political stories of the day. 

Former Cranston mayor, gubernatorial candidate   Alan Fung enters Congressional race

Former Cranston Mayor Alan Fung, who twice lost gubernatorial races and was gearing up for a race for General Treasurer, today announced he was jumping into the race to succeed U.S. Rep. James Langevin, a Democrat who recently announced his retirement from Congress.

Fung, a lawyer with the Johnston firm of Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara, is the third Republican to enter the race, joining former state Rep. Robert Lancia and state Sen. Jessica de la Cruz.

Democratic Congressional candidate reacts to Fung’s entering the District Two House race

Democratic congressional candidate and Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner issued the following statement regarding the entrance of Allan Fung into the 2022 race for Rhode Island’s second congressional district:

“The very first vote Allan Fung would cast in Washington would be to turn control of Congress over to the Republican leadership who care more about doing Donald Trump’s bidding than they do about delivering results for working families. I am in this race because Rhode Island needs a representative who will fight for the middle class, and we cannot allow Allan Fung and the Republicans in Washington to undermine protections for workers, repeal Obamacare, roll back voting rights, and turn back the clock women’s rights.”

Treasurer candidate Diossa wins endorsement for former Treasurer Tavares

Former General Treasurer Paul Tavares has endorsed former Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, a Democrat, who’s running for Rhode Island General Treasurer.

“I know that James has exactly the kind of experience Rhode Island needs,” Tavares said. “Only a handful of municipalities in the country have gone bankrupt, and Central Falls became Rhode Island’s comeback story during James Diossa’s two terms as mayor. James has a track record in executive office and proven himself to be a strong manager and a steady fiscal hand…He understands the struggles families all across the state are facing. Seeing James run for General treasurer makes me excited for the future.”      

Diossa, 36, announced Monday that he’s running for Rhode Island general treasurer in 2022. General Treasurer Seth Magaziner is term limited and is running for the second Congressional House Seat. Diossa was term limited as mayor of Central Falls. Diossa works at The Policy Lab at Brown University. 

Foulkes Releases Healthcare Plan 

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Helena Buonanno Foulkes released her13-step action plan that she believes will immediately shore up hospital staffing and prepare Rhode Island’s healthcare system for the future. 

“Over the last few months, we’ve all read stories and heard from frontline workers about the horrific conditions in Rhode Island hospitals brought on by severe staffing shortages,” said Helena Buonanno Foulkes. “While this current crisis has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality is that we have failed to invest in our healthcare workers for far too long… We need to both create opportunities for Rhode Islanders looking to enter the healthcare workforce and do a much better job of retaining our incredible workers.” 

Her plan includes:

  • Expanding the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship to nursing students. Rhode Island should offer full tuition scholarship to first-time nursing students at the University of Rhode Island or Rhode Island College for all four years of a bachelor’s in science in Nursing (BSN) or two years of a master’s in science in Nursing (MSN) conditioned on four years of work as a nurse in the state of Rhode Island. 
  • Providing funding to expand enrollment. Provide state funding to entry level and graduate nursing programs to increase enrollment and expand clinical placement opportunities so students can complete training more quickly.
  • Increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates. Increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, which are significantly lower than that of neighboring states. 
  • Accelerating career advancement. Expand career ladder programs and provide more funding for certified nursing assistants and LPNs to become RNs.

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.