WESTERLY — Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere is eager to continue advocating for the citizens of Westerly, Charlestown, and South Kingstown.
He pointed to two interrelated issues as being critical ones during a recent interview: the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the state’s economy. First elected in 1992, Algiere is running unopposed in an effort to continue representing the state’s 38th Senate District.
“There are health and safety issues that we have to address and we have to get people back to work and we have to help existing businesses, especially small businesses, to preserve them,” Algiere said.
The pandemic has worsened the state’s budget woes, pushing the budget deficit to an estimated $800 million.
“We have a very serious budget issue. We were looking at a deficit before the pandemic and we continue to have a significant deficit … the taxpayers can not afford to sustain significant increases in the budget,” Algiere said.
As a member of the state’s minority party, Algiere said he is comfortable working with his colleagues regardless of their political affiliation.
“I will reach across the aisle as I have in the past. I don’t care what party you are with I will work with you and I will continue to fight for the hardworking taxpayers of Rhode Island,” Algiere said.
The state’s economy, taxation, and the pandemic are the issues citizens have raised most often in recent months as he campaigned by attending events and visiting neighborhoods, Algiere said.
Algiere said he helped Westerly officials in their recent discussions with state agencies regarding a right of way to the shoreline at Weekapaug Breachway. The state Department of Environmental Management and Coastal Resources Management Council recently announced that work would be undertaken to clear the right of way which has been used for years by fishermen.
“When and if I am called upon in the future I will continue to work with DEM and CRMC … people have a right to pass along the shoreline and a right to access, without impediment, through designated rights of way,” Algiere said.
Regarding the state’s name and a ballot question asking voters whether “and Providence Plantations” should be removed from the name, Algiere said, he supported putting the question on the ballot. He noted that the General Assembly had previous removed references to “Providence Plantations” from its letterhead stationary.
“I will support the will of the voters. It is up to them to decide,” Algiere said.
Algiere said he also planned to work closely with fellow Republican, state Rep. Blake Filippi of Block Island to help ensure “transparency” in governmental operations in Providence. Filippi has called on the General Assembly to exercise its oversight duties and become more active in developing the state’s response to the pandemic rather than allowing Gov. Gina Raimondo to work independently.
Algiere said finds representing and working for the people of Westerly, Charlestown, and South Kingstown gratifying.
“I want to continue to serve. I enjoy helping people with many issues in my communities that I represent,” Algiere said.