Michael Neary, who describes himself as a former national political strategist, is the fifth candidate to enter the race for the second district House of Representatives seat in Rhode Island, a position being vacated at the end of this term by Rep. James Langevin, who recently announced his retirement.

Neary worked for Republican John Kasich, the Ohio governor who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016. According to published reports, Neary works as a senior analyst at CVS Health.

In his announcement, Neary outlined his plan “to provide urgent assistance for millions of families. Chief among those proposals is to increase the federal minimum wage, now at $7.25 an hour, to minimally $20 an hour. Here’s his proposal:

  • Raise the federal minimum wage to at least $20 an hour.
  • Create an emergency one-year rescue plan for people earning less than $100,000: “housing, food, medicine, childcare and continued debt relief guaranteed for one year, to be paid out in the form of a People’s Bond to allow people the breathing room necessary to truly recover.”
  • Building on the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, Affordable Care Act and Pell Grant program to provide new green infrastructure jobs, alongside permanent public options for healthcare and higher education. 
  • Cancel $50,000 of student loan debt.

Neary joins a crowded field that includes General Treasurer Seth Magaziner; Ed Pacheco, a former state representative and chair of the state Democratic Party; Joy Fox, a former Langevin staffer; and Omar Bah, founder and executive director of the Refugee Dream Center.

Two Republicans have announced their candidacies – former state Rep. Robert Lancia, who lost to Langevin two years ago, and Rep. Jessica de la Cruz.

Democrats are going to have a busy primary season that not only involves the Congressional race but what promises to be a robust primary for governor. That race includes Gov. Dan McKee, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Munoz.

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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.