Saturday, August 08, 2020
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Leonidas “Lou ” Raptakis is a candidate for reelection in Senate District 33.
Read what he has to say about why he is running to return to the State House.
This is part of an ongoing series by GoLocal featuring each of the candidates for House and Senate.
1. What do you think is the biggest political issue this campaign season in Rhode Island?
Getting our state back on the road to recovery after the Covid-19 crisis. The federal government has largely washed its hands of providing any kind of national strategy–on everything from having national standards for testing and helping states secure the supplies they need to do it, to having a cohesive approach to reopening. We’ve had multiple waves of infections across the country because we didn’t take a unified, national approach from the start. As a result, we’re going to see crippling damage to our economy, with the loss of small businesses and significant job losses.
2. What do we need to do to improve Rhode Island’s economy?
We need a single-minded focus on promoting small business development and support so that we can rebuild our jobs base and get people working again. The
refusal by Mitch McConnell and his GOP Senate colleagues to reauthorize the COVID -19 relief aid is a sign that states may once again be on their own when it comes to dealing with the financial aftershocks of the pandemic.
3. What is the greatest challenge facing Rhode Island as a state?
We can’t afford to fall back on the bad political habits of the past. Getting out of this public health crisis and the economic devastation it has caused is going to require working on behalf of our citizens and getting things done in an open, transparent manner. We can’t turn our recovery effort into a situation where well-connected insiders are the winners and everyone else is left out in the cold. Too often, that’s been the way things are done in the State House and we have to be committed to a recovery plan that helps all of our citizens and treats people fairly.
4. Why are you running for office? What makes you uniquely qualified?
As someone who owned a small, family business for many years, I ran for office to bring that perspective to the State House. And it is a voice that still needs to be heard there, especially now in this time of economic crisis. I’ve got a track record of listening to my constituents and acting on their behalf, even if it means stepping on powerful toes. When Coventry homeowners came to me about a sewer scheme that was being pushed through by a handful of Town Council members, a deal that was going to slam them with initial assessments anywhere from $20,000-$30,000 and even though the Town had received the funding to make loans to homeowners’ to pay for these horrendous assessments at 2.75%, the Town Council wanted to hit them with an additional 6% interest rate on the loans. We’ve fought that, passed legislation to cap that interest rate to about 3%, saving homeowners about $7,500 over the life of a 20-year loan for these mandated assessments.
5. Who is your inspiration?
My parents. They came to this country from Greece and took a gamble, starting a new life because they believed this country would give them access to the American Dream. More than forty years ago, they literally built a business, Venus Pizza, right in front of our family home and it enabled them to live a good life and give me the chance to provide for my wife and family. It also connected me with the community, because people knew me, they knew where to find me and they knew they could talk to me about issues of concern and that I would help where I could.
Phone: (401) 397-8345
Email: [email protected]