Friday, August 3, 2012

Interview with Providence Monthly

photo by Corey Grayhorse Photography
Tell me a bit about your background. Did you have a preexisting interest in politics?

I'm interested in policy. The first time I went to the State House, in 2006, I was there to support a bill that would create a system of public financing of elections for our legislature. The issue resonated with me because I had always been so turned off by politics as usual. I wanted to see barriers to access removed, so that the group of people with power would look more like the general population. Too often, politicians are just trying to accumulate power and prestige, without thinking about how that power can be used to create a more fair and beautiful world.

Speaking of interest in politics, I get the impression that you're running not because of that, but because of genuine concern for your community. Can you comment on that?

The stakes are too high to sit on the sidelines. In my job at Capital Good Fund I work with parents and entrepreneurs looking to improve the situation for their families and businesses. Every day, I see how we are all affected when there are cuts to the bus lines, when property taxes rise because the state has shrugged off its responsibility to support cities and towns. I had been frustrated that my sitting representative wouldn't take a stand on something as fundamental as eliminating tax breaks for multistate corporations, or extending the rights of marriage to all his constituents. 

You're not shy about saying this will be a close race. How do things change now that Lombardi announced he's running?

They don’t change. This race will not be determined by yard signs, but by people voting with their heart in the voting booths. I will continue to outwork my opponents, talking to every voter, learning their concerns and what they expect of an elected official.  I will be the accessible, responsive representative they deserve.  The amazing support I’ve been receiving from people in the district, from friends and family and community groups, tells me we will win this race.

Why do you think you've got a good shot at winning?

The votes are there – and I will go out every day, work hard, and earn them. These three neighborhoods that I'm running to represent are full of young people and immigrants and artists and families - my team and I are out there every day talking to all of them. We've raised the money we need to get out the mail and the signs, and the rest comes down to people power, our networks of engaged neighbors committed to new leadership.

What has surprised you about the process as a first-time candidate?

The team I work with is amazing and growing every day - teachers and nonprofit workers and business owners and parents with a few extra hours a week to dedicate to progress. I’m so lucky to have such talented and dedicated allies. Running for office has been more challenging than I expected, but not once have I doubted how important it is to build a legislature dedicated to equity, to equal access to opportunity. Inconvenience is not an excuse not to participate. Some of your readers should consider running for office themselves, the world needs you, and needs you now.