Tyler Salk: Dan, thanks for speaking with me today. Please tell me a little about yourself. Who are you, and why are you running for office?
Dan Elliott: Hey Tyler, thank you for inviting me in today. I am a lifelong Rhode Islander concerned about the future of our state, and I believe we need new leadership to fix it. We pay the highest taxes and fees in the country while our government can’t deliver even the most basic public services, for example UHIP, DCYF, and the neglect of our 911 system. Families are being torn apart as Rhode Island graduates are leaving for opportunities in more affordable states. I felt that based on the voting record of our Representative in the House, he [David Bennett] was ignoring the majority opinion of the people of our district. So in June 2016 I decided to run for office myself.
TS: From Governor Raimondo, down to the rest of the state government, how would you evaluate the performances of the current leaders of Rhode Island?
DE: Based on the performance of our state’s economy, I would award them a D. Rhode Island is marching toward bankruptcy and state government continues to hire and expand its role in our lives, always looking for new money grabs. We recently discovered that our government leaders stole millions of dollars from 911 while the Governor added $11 Million in new staff. Corruption on Smith Hill continues to be a drag on Rhode Island’s economic recovery. Whether it is the Governor, the Speaker, or the Senate President, they are constantly engaged in funneling government money back to themselves through campaign contributions. That is not what we elected them to do. So the voters need to stop rewarding this bad behavior and make better choices when they vote.
TS: Talk to me a little bit about the current incumbent David Bennett. How has he done representing the district? If he were to be elected again, what would it mean for the people of Rhode Island?
DE: Dave is a good natured guy but he is totally out of touch with the people of our district. He voted for speed cameras, tolls, and highway surveillance cameras, all examples of state government money grabs. Speed cameras have levied tens of thousands of $95 tickets on the poor in the city of Providence, and the cameras are now being challenged in court. Last year when GoLocalProv reported “The House Passed the Stupidest and Most Insulting Bill - Maybe Ever,” that was his bill. Recently he re-submitted the evergreen contracts legislation which would make our property taxes soar. He has voted YES, in our face, on every bad bill from the last eight years. There is absolutely no mandate for his re-election.
TS: In the past you ran as an independent. Are you planning on running without party affiliation this time around too? Why?
DE: Being independent is more fun! Looking back at my first run, a majority of the voters here were upset at the Presidential nominees from both of the major parties. Many folks believe the two-party system doesn’t work anymore. Our one-party state isn’t working either, as Rhode Island Democrats are now split into two factions on a collision course. Dan Elliott supporters aren’t followers of a political party, they voted for the person who would do the job best. If you look at the hundreds of Dan Elliott lawn sign locations in 2016 and the voters who live there, you’ll find a wide range of Democrats, Republicans, and others who endorsed an independent first-time candidate. That’s proof positive that the people of our district are looking for change. So I just need to persuade a few more people who voted for my rival based on the big capital D next to his name on the ballot.
TS: Dan, please complete this statement for me. When I’m elected into office, my first order of business will be:
DE: My first order of business will be to establish an independent Office of Inspector General. We have a $9.4 Billion budget and very little accountability for how it is spent. There’s bipartisan support for an IG, and passage of this act would send a message to the country that Rhode Island government takes ethics and transparency seriously. We need to change the perception that Rhode Island government cannot be trusted and our state is a place where only insiders can thrive. I hope many independent-minded reformers will run for office and together we can begin to rebuild Rhode Island for a brighter future.
TS: What are some of the other most central points to your campaign?
DE: The primary theme of my campaign is “People Before Politics.” Rhode Island government is failing to deliver for the people. I want to fight for the children who were left to die by DCYF and make sure that never happens again. I have spoken out for the seniors who can’t afford fees for bus passes or co-pays on their prescriptions, or the cost of electricity. In 2017 we were able to stop the Governor from taking bus passes away from the elderly and vulnerable who need them to get to their doctor appointments. I will stand up for every Rhode Island resident who worked hard and paid state taxes and fees for decades, only to see our public safety money stolen by state government to fund other priorities. I want to make the case that a vote for Dan Elliott is a vote to fix Rhode Island and stop wasting our hard-earned money.
TS: Where can people find out more information about you and your campaign? (Social Media, website, etc.)
DE: Everyone is welcome to like my Facebook page “VOTE Dan Elliott STATE REP Warwick” to get campaign updates. Many of my letters to the editor are published in the Providence Journal and the Warwick Beacon, just type “Dan Elliott RI letter” into any search engine. Visit my website at votedanelliott.com to learn more about me and my campaign platform. I also want to invite everyone to support my campaign by smashing the Donate button in the top right corner of my website. And thank you to everyone for tuning in today!
TS: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today!
DE: Thanks Tyler. I look forward to talking with you again as the campaign season unfolds.
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