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.

October 17, 2014

RI Progressive Democrats coordinator Bell files complaint regarding financial disclosure

By Benjamin Branchaud
Narragansett Times 10/17/14
SOUTH KINGSTOWN - An oversight by Candidate for House District 34 Stephen Tetzner resulted in an ethics complaint that was filed against him on Tuesday regarding the lack of his filing of the Ethics Commission financial disclosure statement for 2011 and 2013. 
Tetzner filed the paperwork before the complaint was accepted by the Ethics Commission, claiming that he did not realize candidates were required to submit that form. 
"I did not understand that that form had to be filed by General Assembly candidates; I thought that was only for elected officials," said Tetzner yesterday. "It was an oversight on my part, which is no excuse. I should have known to file it. I didn't file it in 2012, either, and I never heard from anybody, so I didn't know that I was doing anything wrong now."
Tetzner claims that immediately after hearing about the complaint, he called the Ethics Commission and filed the paperwork, which discloses businesses and organizations that candidates and elected officials are associated with or owe personal money to (excluding primary residence mortgage). The form does not disclose income, personal wealth or the value of assets owned. 
"When you look at the form, it's like 'why wouldn't somebody do it?' There's nothing on there that discloses any personal or private information," said Tetzner. "It was a oversight."
The complaint was filed by Providence Resident Sam Bell, the state coordinator of the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, who endorse Tetzner's opponent, Teresa Tanzi.
"I have to be honest: we think Teresa is awesome," said Bell on Wednesday when asked about his private investigation into the local race. "We think she's been a fantastic state representative and we'd love to see her back in the state house."
Tanzi stressed the importance of this particular form when asked to comment on the issue.
"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 introducing bills or asking questions in committees," she said on Tuesday. "Legislators often recuse themselves from voting and debating based on these self interests. Disclosure of financial interests is a crucial piece for anyone running for office. Having the public know their candidate has a clean bill of ethics health before they can run will be an important first step in restoring the public's trust and ensuring that voters have all the information necessary to make the right decision in the voting booth."

October 16, 2014

Tetzner's actions 'speak louder than words'

My name is Glenn Yu and I’m a student at South Kingstown High School. As the president of the Student Council, I was in charge of organizing a debate between Stephen Tetzner and Teresa Tanzi, the two candidates for State Representative in District 34 representing Narragansett, Wakefield and Peace Dale.
On Sept. 17, I called Tanzi who was eager to debate Tetzner. The date seemed set; all that was needed was confirmation from Tetzner. That night, I called Mr. 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 with Tetzner and Tanzi, something Tetzner has continually asked for.
However, upon calling Pesaturo, it seemed that Tetzner did not want a debate. He 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. I finally told him that Tanzi would contact him to negotiate the debate.
About an hour later, I received another call from Pesaturo. (I recently learned this call was actually a pocket dial.) I picked up the phone and said “Hello? Are you there? Hello?” On the other side of the line, I heard Pesaturo mumbling profanities over and over again. He finally picked up the phone and said “Hello, who is this?” I was confused because he had called me; and this confusion quickly turned to anger when he began to insult me once again. This time, I was not so calm in the phone call. I told him that he was alienating his own voters by disrespecting me; and he responded that 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.” Which, in hindsight, I am very proud of.
On September 19, I called Tetzner to set things straight. Tetzner apologized for Pesaturo, who he told me was a “hired campaign consultant,” and was not representative of his campaign. He said, however, that he would not debate Tanzi because he did not think the debate moderator was professional enough. The debate moderator was to be Professor Maureen Moakley from the University of Rhode Island, a former Department Chairwoman of Political Science who hosts political commentary on Rhode Island PBS and Rhode Island NPR, and was a panelist for all of the gubernatorial debates. Tetzner continued by arguing the debate needed to either be informal (with a civics teacher as the moderator) or professional (with a professional moderator like Ted Nesi as the moderator). I told him that I would discuss the issue with my teachers.
Two days after the call I had made to Tetzner, a flier was sent to my house. In the flier, Tetzner made the claim that “[Teresa Tanzi] would rather a high school civics teacher conduct “the event” rather than an experienced moderator,” a statement that was untrue because the moderator was supposed to be Moakley. However in his defense, he had sent the flier before he had all of the details of the debate and believed 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 Moakley.
Another point in the flier that was sent to District 34 voters is that “[Teresa Tanzi] wants to take questions from high school students – non voters – instead of the taxpayers, homeowners and businesspeople affected by our critical issues!” The fact was 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. The students (future taxpayers, homeowners and businesspeople) were to create questions that would be debated in front of adults and members of the community.
While I have remained impartial, I will show my immaturity for a brief second and insert an opinion. Pesaturo had shamed me because I was a student. He thinks it is OK to alienate students because we cannot vote. When Tetzner called me and told me that Pesaturo was not representative of his campaign, I believed him because he seemed sincere. But the fact is, Tetzner’s actions have not reflected this sincerity. The fact is that he tricked and used me, my friends and my teachers so he could send a low blow to Tanzi. The fact is that this embarrassing experience has been a learning experience for me, a firsthand experience about how politicians will do anything to get elected. At the top of Tetzner’s flier, it says in bold print, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.” Well, it seems Tetzner has spoken.
Glenn Yu
South Kingstown

Does Tetzner represent our district's values?

South County Independent, 10/16/14
A few days ago, I was surprised to find out that a close friend is considering voting for Stephen Tetzner, a Republican contender for the House District 34 seat representing Narragansett, Peace Dale and Wakefield, against Teresa Tanzi. My friend, like me, is a small business owner concerned about taxes, schools, our families and our safety. I was surprised my friend forgot about Tetzner’s auction of an assault rifle, with a donation of $1,200 in ammunition, in a 2013 raffle to finance Republican candidates in 2014. Not a gift basket, but an assault rifle. We talked about the fact the Republican seems to be conspicuously missing from Tetzner’s signs around the district.
Tonight, I discovered that Tetzner funneled $84,500 of his own money into his campaign. That is insane for a local political race. Why does a candidate need $84,500 of his own money to reach a local community? Can’t they get support by the community?
I understand that candidates and representatives cannot be all things for all people. We have only one representative to send to the State House. But it seems Tetzner’s actions represent his values loud and clear. Does Tetzner really represent the vision and values of our district, or does he seek to represent to a broader political party? There is a difference between buying into and engaging a community.
Robert Cagnetta


Tanzi is a 'tireless' advocate for schools

South County Independent, 10/16/2014
I am writing this letter to share my experience over the last four years with Representative Teresa Tanzi’s work advocating for the South Kingstown School District.
Tanzi was elected to House District 34 seat representing Narragansett, Wakefield and Peace Dale in the General Assembly in 2010, the same year I was elected to serve on the South Kingstown School Committee. We hold a joint meeting with the School Committee and our House and Senate delegation each December. In those four years, Tanzi has worked tirelessly to address the state-level concerns of the School Committee. Nearly everything we reviewed last December was addressed by the General Assembly this year. Whether it was increasing aid for transportation, fully recouping group home costs, analyzing the cost of charter school funding to neighboring districts or studying the impact of increased use of standardized testing, Tanzi worked with Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow and her staff to submit a bill to make sure our community’s needs were represented at the State House.
Tanzi and I also have had many opportunities to communicate one-on-one regarding issues affecting our town and schools. I have found her to be professional, accessible, informed and always willing to listen to my perspective on an issue. She has a strong voice and the ability to collaborate with those who may not share the same stance on a particular issue. Possessing both of these qualities is rare, yet so important if we are to get the work done for the benefit of all. The time required for School Committee and state representative is significant on top of the responsibilities of work and family, and I am grateful that with Tanzi’s leadership up north, we continue to make headway in improving public education.
Raissa Mosher

October 13, 2014

Tanzi comes through in tough times

South County Independent                                                                                           October 9, 2014

   I am writing to share why it is that I support Representative Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34 Narragansett, Wakefield, Peace Dale) for re-election. In the four years she has served, I have had to call on my elected officials for assistance navigating issues with both the town and state, and the one person I could always count on to return my call and follow through has been Representative Tanzi.
   When I needed my septic tank repaired and the state was threatening to put me out of my home until it was complete, she thought it was unacceptable that I couldn't get any answers from state and local offices. She not only walked me through the paperwork side of the issue, but she also showed me where I could get low-interest financial assistance to complete the work.
   During an incredibly stressful time, she was there for me and not only got me through the process, but became a trusted ally. She did not know me from a hole in the wall and, yet, she came to my aid immediately.
   I hope you not only vote for her on Election Day, but know you can count on her to help you when you need it most.

Jeanette Monast

House candidates from three districts join forum

Narragansett Times
 September 30, 2014 

Three house districts were represented at Tuesday night’s League of Women Voters Debate: District 34 (South Kingstown, Narragansett), currently represented by Democrat Teresa Tanzi and challenged by Republican Stephen Tetzner; District 35 (South Kingstown), which is challenged by Democrat Kathy Fogarty and Republican Lacey McGreevy and District 36 (Block Island, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly), currently represented by Donna Walsh and challenged by Independent Blake Filippi.
Photo: Ben Branchaud, Narragansett Times

Each candidate was given one minute for an opening statement before the questions began, beginning with Rep. Tanzi. 

"After four years experience, I have learned a lot about the challenges of getting legislation passed, " she began, "a process that requires deliberation and cooperation among people with very different sets of beliefs and needs." Despite those differences, I knew how to bring people together to make a coalition, like when I worked with reps and senators to pass marriage equality. I am proud of what I have done."

Next was Tetzner, owner of Homestar Mortgage, and Rep. Tanzi's Republican challenger.

"in order to understand what values and motivations are at the center of my run for public office, one must first understand my upbringing," he said. "I was taught by example to set goals and to work hard. If you become successful, then you enjoy giving back. My family and I have always been involved in charitable work. The experience I bring is my business experience, economic experience and financial savvy. These are the practical qualities needed in this position."

Lightning Round, 10 seconds to respond to Yes or No questions

Question: Should Rhode Island  continue funding to HealthSourceRI after federal funding expires next year or begin work with Healthcare.gov?
Tanzi: Continue funding and try to expand the program to other New England states.
Tetzner: We need to try to regionalize it and share the cost with other states, otherwise we won't be able to afford it.

Question: Do you support the implementation of teacher evaluations and standardized testing as a graduation requirement?
Tanzi: I support the changes that we passed in 2014 that delay the implementation of standardized testing as a graduation requirement.
Tetzner: Yes.

Question: Do you support state-wide teacher contracts?
Tanzi: Yes.
Tetzner: No.

Question: Do you or would you take money from Political Action Campaigns (PACs) or special interest groups?
Tanzi: Yes. Endorsements often come with donations. I support publicly financed elections. Not all of us are able to self-fund our campaigns, and I think having only the wealthy be able to run is a dangerous road to go down.
Tetzner: Yes. 

Question: Would you support banning high-capacity magazines?
Tanzi: Yes.
Tetzner: No.

Question: Do you support the holding of a constitutional convention?
Tanzi: No. (Unless it is dealing solely with governmental reforms, like restoring the ethics commission powers, and not limiting individual rights.)
Tetzner: Yes.

Question: Would you support legislation that would legalize marijuana?
Tanzi: I think we will eventually get there, but I would not support it until we have the guarantee from the federal government that they will not prosecute; which may mean waiting for a new President and Attorney General. Watch and learn form CO and WA in the meantime and see how they figure out the banking issues.
Tetzner: No.