November 6, 2014

"There she goes again... " Representing District 34 for two more years!!!

 It is an honor and a privilege to have the support of my community so I can return to the General Assembly and continue my work as a voice for South County.
Thank you to all of my wonderful supporters and tireless volunteers who made this all possible!!!!
With gratitude,

October 24, 2014

Restore power to the Ethics Commission

            As a state representative and a candidate for re-election, I have long prioritized the fight for accountable and ethical government. From placing General Assembly votes online, to tax expenditure accountability, I have led the way. Lately, too many people have expressed their concerns about elected officials profiting from holding elected office. It is clear that this self service over public service has to end if we want to be an attractive place to start, move or expand a business. Ethics and transparency are key to creating a level playing field and a fair business environment.
            Ethical government starts during campaign season. Financial disclosure reports show where a candidate’s financial interests lie, and where his or her business ties are – so that there can be true accountability when that candidate becomes a representative introducing bills or asking questions in committees. Legislators must recuse themselves from voting and debating based on these self interests, and accountability for that responsibility can only happen when candidates disclose their financial interests.
            Who can we rely on to hold legislators accountable? Unfortunately, right now, no one. Our state Ethics Commission does not have the power it needs to be a pro active force for accountability instead of merely being reactive, if someone files a complaint. For example, it took a complaint filed against Stephen Tetzner, my opponent, to get him to fill out his financial disclosure report.
            This is why I support the full restoration of powers to the Ethics Commission, and will continue to fight for that no matter how long it takes.
            Once the commission has its power restored, I’ll fight to ensure it has the ability to stop candidates from filing to run if they have not met the basic requirements of paying off previous campaign finance violations, or filing the appropriate ethics disclosure forms. Providing a “clean ethics bill of health” before candidates can run will be an important first step n restoring the public’s trust, and ensuring voters have all the information needed to make the right decision in the voting booth. But that is not the end of it; we must make certain those who have been entrusted to represent the people’s interests cannot profit from state contracts or otherwise use their position to make financial gains for themselves. In the most recent case of David Caprio, a past opponent, being forced to step down from his position as state Democratic Party chairman, it was again someone from the public who discovered the potential conflict.
            My bottom line is this: More information about government and the people who want to serve in it is better. That’s why I worked with the non partisan, good-government group Common Cause to get legislator’s votes online, and will continue my work to have the search available by keywords. I am proud of the fact Common Cause gave me the second-highest ranking of all 113 reps and senators in Rhode Island.
            Cleaning up our government is crucial for our democracy and to improve our economic future. If you agree, then I respectfully ask for your vote for state representative in House District 34 Nov.4. Thank you.

Teresa Tanzi

Tanzi has ‘widely varied’ experience

Representative Teresa Tanzi’s record is full of action for House District 34 of Narragansett, Wakefield and Peace Dale: Legislative bills, experience, awards and recognition of her devotion to her constituents. This is in the public record and provides all the information a voter needs to know in order to make a choice.
            Space allows only a few facts of many to be noted here about Tanzi’s two terms. Tanzi ranks second highest in the General Assembly on the Common Cause Score Board and 100 percent for Ethics and Elections/ Campaigns. Northern Rhode Island YWCA named her a rising political star in 2012.
            At the invitation of the White House, Tanzi was chosen as a delegate to the first White House Summit on Working Families. Just last week, she was again invited by President Obama to meet and discuss policy initiatives they both champion, such as the newly passed legislation in Rhode Island allowing working families up to four weeks paid leave for family crises.
            In May, she introduced a bill to offset fisheries and farming loss resulting from renewable energy projects like Deepwater Wind. The fishing industry, already highly regulated, stands to lose access to fishing areas that have been guaranteed since the 1600s. Advocates of both the energy and fishing industries support the legislation.
            She introduced legislation that requires Rhode Island health care laws to comply with the Affordable Care Act, the national law, to make the system easier to use in Rhode Island.
            Her highlight legislation was the “good time” bill, which prevents criminals convicted of serious offenses from being released early for merely good behavior.
            Her concern for over testing led to her earlier introduction of Bill 2014 H-7256. The General Assembly later passed similar legislation, eliminating NECAP as a requirement for high school graduation until 2017. Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, long a proponent of NECAP, recommended extending the date until 2020 and acknowledged the need to study and quantify the amount of student and teacher time spent on testing in each school.
            Bills Tanzi introduced or championed include marriage equality, forming a task force to review gun control legislation, lactation consultant licensing to help new mothers and babies, closing a corporate tax loophole that hurt small businesses and urging the Student Loan Authority of Rhode Island to consolidate student loans, among many others. Experience is an essential component, and Tanzi has amassed that experience in widely varied aspects of government.
            It so often said that qualified women should participate in government. Here, we have Teresa Tanzi, wife, mother and experienced legislator. We are fortunate she is working for us here in House District 34.

Nancy K. Bivona

Tanzi has ‘solid record’

            Re-elect Teresa Tanzi – that would be my advice to Wakefield, Peace Dale and Narragansett residents in House District 34. Here are a couple of reasons why.
            She has a solid record in voting for important government reforms – a record that displays considerable integrity, something sorely missing in Rhode Island. She received the second-highest score in the General Assembly on the 2014 Common Cause Legislative Scorecard. Tanzi sponsored a measure that was signed into law to increase accountability and transparency in tax credit programs and for state agency reports.
            She’s proposed legislation to protect fishermen when energy efficiency programs – also a state priority – threatened part of their livelihood. She has compassion and finds solutions that meet many people’s needs.
            Tanzi’s been active in a number of local efforts that have a direct impact on the quality of our lives. She’s brought needed legislative grants to South Kingstown C.A.R.E.S. and the Healthy Places by Design subcommittee on walking and biking. She rolls up her sleeves and gets things done. She’s engaged and always available.
            In closing, a demographic point: Tanzi is one of a handful of women legislators. Only about a quarter of the Rhode Island General Assembly’s members are women. Let’s make sure she stays.

Susan Marcus

Gun and ammunition donation was ‘irresponsible’

I was surprised to read Barbara Tetzner’s letter to the editor, (“Candidate’s spouse is off-limits,” South County Independent, Oct. 9) in which she objected to being mentioned in a fundraising invitation for Representative Teresa Tanzi (D-District 34) of Narragansett, Wakefield and Peace Dale, that I sent to a small group of friends. To be clear, I am not an employee or spokesperson for Tanzi’s campaign, just a Rhode Islander who’s been continuously impressed by her passion and integrity.
            Tetzner felt she should not be part of the public discussion surrounding her husband’s campaign, because someone shouldn’t assume that she is in lockstep agreement with her husband. Of course, this is true but I was making no assumptions at all. In fact, it is a matter of public record that both Barbara Tetzner and her husband, Stephen, have taken actions that I believe are inappropriate and that display extreme views on guns. According to public state campaign finance filings, last year Mrs. Tetzner donated $1,200 of ammunition to a Rhode Island Republican Party fundraiser as a raffle item, alongside an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle that her husband donated. At the time, I was appalled the Republican Party would be so callous in its fundraising efforts, particularly following so closely on the heels of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which a similar AR-15 rifle was used to kill 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
            Whatever your opinion on gun control might be, raffling off an assault rifle for political gain is irresponsible. In my opinion, those extreme views do not belong in the General Assembly. That is one of the many reasons I am proud to support Teresa Tanzi for state representative. She has proven to be one of the most effective and committed legislators in the General Assembly, and I know she will keep working hard to protect our neighborhoods, support our schools, clean up our environment, fight for cleaner government and level the playing field for our small businesses.

Patricia Smith

Tanzi knows how to ‘bring people together’

            Teresa Tanzi knows how to bring people together to form a consensus from divergent opinions and follow through until the group’s objectives are achieved.
The route for phase IV, the final leg of the William C. O’Neill Bike Path, became a contentious issue for the Narragansett Town Council to decide, since several different alternatives were proposed by town administrators, state Department of Transportation contractors, private citizens and interested groups. At stake was the $1.2 million dollars remaining in the Federal DOT bike path fund. Tanzi facilitated the meetings of a group of nine people, with representatives from four independent, local organizations..
            Tanzi suggested a rational procedure for creating a route, which entailed field trips for each proposed segment. As a neutral facilitator, she did not vote. Over a period of several months, Tanzi and the group walked various proposed routes and finally settled on a plan that was mapped and presented to the Narragansett Town Council. This was one of the three routes presented to DOT for final consideration. Tanzi followed up by attending periodic DOT progress meetings.
            This is but one example with which I am familiar, since I was one of the nine participants. If you look at her legislative record, you will see constant effectiveness. She deserves to be returned to her position as our highly successful representative.

William A. Bivona

October 21, 2014

BBQ Beer Bash!!!

The FINAL event to support Teresa Tanzi for re-election!

Sunday, October 26th
Whaler's Brewing Company
Palisades Mill

Bring your families
Bring your neighbors

Saddle up the Chicken will be playing music
Eric & Delia will be serving their famous pulled pork w/ 
Carolina Vinegar Sauce

Suggested Contribution Levels:
$34 Hobby Brewer
$68 Two-Stepper
$136 Fiddler
$340 Pit Master
But any amount is always welcome!!!

(Location is across from Simpatico, park on side where Codac is.
Corner of Columbia and Kingstown Road.)

Tanzi to host info session on student loan refinancing options

STATE HOUSE – Rep. Teresa Tanzi will host a constituent event next week to provide information on the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority’s new education loan refinancing options.

The event is scheduled Thursday, Oct. 30, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library, 35 Kingstown Rd., Narragansett. A representative from the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) will be available to explain the educational loan refinancing and consolidation opportunities the authority offers to help Rhode Islanders save money on their state-based, private and PLUS student loans. The event is free and open to all.

“Student debt can be crippling for many, severely limiting future options long after a person has graduated. The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority is there to help and has created new refinancing options at the behest of the General Assembly to help people take advantage of lower interest rates. More people need to know about these programs in order to take advantage of them, because these programs can save them a significant amount of money over the course of the loan, which is why I invited RISLA to come directly to our community to answer questions and help spread the word,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett.) “Ours is the first community to have this important opportunity and I hope many people are able to come and take advantage of it.”

October 18, 2014

High school debate sparks House District 34 controversy

By Stephanie Turaj Staff Writer, South County Independent, 10/16/14
South Kingstown High School canceled a planned civic forum between House District 34 incumbent Democrat Teresa Tanzi and Republican challenger Stephen Tetzner, after controversy erupted over the date, the proposed moderator and the Tetzner campaign’s treatment of a student planning the forum.
The move comes weeks after Tetzner sent out a campaign mailer using a body double of Tanzi, alleging she “broke her word” regarding a plan to hold a series of debates.
In July, Tetzner sent out a press release challenging Tanzi to a series of five debates. He said he sent the challenge to Tanzi by registered mail July 15. In September, he sent her a second challenge for a debate, this time using a registered courier to serve her the paperwork.
“Tetzner had said he wanted to have a series of five debates,” Tanzi said. “I said we would have the League of Women Voters [forum] and we would plan this debate at the high school. I thought that would be a bit much, but we would have one in September, one in October, and see how things went. So I started planning for the one in October. I approached the high school about having this there.”
“We kept trying to book with her, book with her,” Tetzner said in an interview this week. “She talked about having a ‘civic event’ at the high school with the students asking questions, and the teacher being a moderator, which I agreed to.”
His postcard mailer went out Sept. 15 to residents of the district, which includes Narragansett, Peace Dale and Wakefield. It depicted a model – with hair similar to Tanzi’s – with her back turned. The postcard said Tanzi had been challenged to a series of debates “for two months” and alleged she “broke her word” after agreeing to participate.
“Instead of additional debates, [Tanzi] proposed a ‘civic event’ at South Kingstown High School,” the postcard read. “She wants to take questions from high school students – non-voters – instead of the taxpayers, homeowners and business people affected by our critical issues. She would rather a high school teacher conduct ‘the event’ rather than an experienced moderator!”
“We did this piece to call her out on the fact that she is avoiding the debates,” Teztner said. “It was delivered to people’s doors on Sept. 17.”
Tetzner had a graphic designer, ScanlonDesign of Massachusetts, begin laying out an advertisement on Sept. 1, he said. The final advertisement was mailed Sept. 15, according to an Oct. 14 letter from art director Franis Scanlon, which he provided to the Independent.
“Tetzner was accusing me of refusing to have debates,” Tanzi said in an interview. “I don’t have the thousands of dollars to send out mailers to contradict the things he has asserted. I’m concerned people will think I’m not willing to debate him; which couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Tanzi said in mid-September, a “civic event or debate” was tentatively scheduled – and promoted on the school’s website – to be held Oct. 8 from 3 to 6 p.m. University of Rhode Island Political Science Professor Maureen Moakley was scheduled to moderate. Tetzner later said he was not contacted before the planning had begun to confirm and was not available at that time.
“The idea was to engage the students, and everyone at the school seemed to like the idea,” Tanzi said in an interview this week. After the students met with us [in a classroom setting], they were supposed to come up with some questions to get a debate going.”
Tanzi confirmed high school senior Glenn Yu took the lead in the planning. In a letter to the editor sent to the Independent (see page A7), Yu alleged Tony Pesaturo, Tetzner’s campaign manager, “ridiculed” him when he tried to set up the forum.
“On September 17, I called Tanzi who was eager to debate Tetzner,” Yu wrote. “The date seemed set; all that was needed was confirmation from Tetzner. That night, I called Tetzner’s campaign adviser, Tony Pesaturo; I explained to him I was calling on behalf of the school and I was trying to plan a debate for Tetzner and Tanzi, something that Tetzner has continually asked for.”
“Upon calling Pesaturo, it seemed that Tetzner did not want a debate,” Yu continued in his letter. “[Pesaturo] told me how demeaning it was that a student “would have the nerve to call [him].” To this, I reacted calmly and told him that there was no need to be rude, to which he laughed at me and ridiculed me further.”
Yu maintains Pesaturo called him back mistakenly, and was again rude.
“I told him that he was alienating his own voters by disrespecting me,” Yu wrote. “He responded I was only in high school and could not vote. To that, I responded “I’m not an orphan. I have parents that can vote.”
Yu contacted Tetzner the following evening, and the candidate apologized for Pestaturo’s actions, Yu wrote.
“[Pesaturo] said when [Yu] called [him], he never identified himself as being a high school student,” Tetzner said in an interview with the Independent. “He just said [Yu} called me and said ‘I’m calling you about the debate Oct. 8.’ And Tony said, ‘What debate? What are you talking about.’ He thought it was a prank call.”
In his letter, Yu said he received Tetzner’s campaign mailer Sept. 19, two days after Yu had contacted Pesaturo.
“Two days after the call, I had made to Tetzner, a flier was sent to my house,” Yu wrote. “[I]n his defense, he had sent the flier before he had all of the details of the debate and believed that the debate was to be hosted by a high school civics teacher. Yet, Tetzner, since sending the flier, has not made an attempt to correct his statement. Moreover, he had just informed me a few days earlier that he would prefer a civics teacher over [University of Rhode Island] Professor Moakley.”
In his letter, Yu said Tetzner told him he would not debate Tanzi because he did not think Moakley “was professional enough.”
In the interview, Tetner said a debate offers a chance for candidates to respond to each other’s comments, rather than a forum or civic event-style forum, where a moderator asks questions of candidates, and no direct challenges to answers are allowed. He preferred the debate style and said a “civic event,” should be for students only and not open to the public. He added he did not believe Moakley would be an acceptable moderator and provided Yu and the Independent with a list of “professional moderators” he would find acceptable, which included Mark Curtis from ABC6 and WPRI’s Ted Nesi.
In the letter, Yu took issue with Tetzner’s assertion that high school “non-voters” were not as important as “taxpayers, homeowners and businesspeople.”
“The fact was that the students in our school had put in hours of research into creating questions for the debate, time which will not be given back to them,” Yu said. “The students (future taxpayers, homeowners and businesspeople) were to create questions which would be debated in front of adults and members of the community.”
On Sept. 23, Tetzner claimed South Kingstown High School Principal Robert McCarthy canceled the potential event, and ended any possibility of a debate. McCarthy did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

“Everyone, the school, the students, the teachers, were hurt and outraged at the way they were treated,” Tanzi said. “They pulled out of the debate before [there was] any further conflict.”

Tetzner spent nearly $40K on House campaign in three months

By Stephanie Turaj and Stephen Greenwell Staff Writers, South County Independent 10/16/14
Spending in the race for House District 34, representing Narragansett, Peace Dale and Wakefield, continues to surpass all others in the area, with Republican challenger Steve Tetzner spending nearly $40,000 during the latest reporting period, July 1 to Oct. 6.
Tetzner added $30,965 to his campaign fund in the cycle. The majority comes from a $24,500 personal loan to his campaign. Tetzner also received a $125 contribution from the House Republican Leadership PAC.
He began the reporting period with $10,012.11 on hand and spent $39,757.18, mostly on advertising. He has a cash balance of $1,074. Since Jan. 1, Tetzner has spent more than $73,000 on his campaign.
Teresa Tanzi, the Democrat incumbent, started the period with $4,140.79 on hand, and reported $10,060 in individual donations, $2,750 from political action committees and $3,843 from aggregate individual donations.
Individual $100 to $250 donors to Tanzi’s campaign include Kathleen Fogarty, South County Hospital’s President and CEO Louis R. Giancola, East Greenwich School Committee member and Rhode Island National Organization for Women president Carolyn Mark, Democrat state treasurer candidate Seth Magaziner, former House District Representative Michael Rice, House District 36 Representative Donna Walsh, and former Democrat gubernatorial candidate Myrth York.
Tanzi also received contributions from the Amalgamated Transit Union PAC ($300), Emily’s List Rhode Island ($200), Gina PAC ($200), the National Association of Social Workers of Rhode Island ($125), the Rhode Island Medical PAC ($200), the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats of America ($125), the United Food and Commercial Workers PAC ($500), the United Nurses and Allied Professionals PAC ($500), the Utility Workers Union of America PAC ($200), and the Young Democrats of Rhode Island PAC ($400).
Tanzi spent $4,198.79 between July 1 and Oct. 6, mostly on advertising. She ended the period with $16,595 on hand.