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MEET THE CANDIDATES: Senators in General Assembly

October 31, 2012


Name: Catherine Cool Rumsey
Address: 30 Jeannette Court, Exeter, RI
Date of Birth: January 22, 1961
Daytime Phone Number: (401) 268-7220
E-Mail Address:
Office Sought: State Senate, District 34
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: AIPSO, Johnston RI, Non-profit service provider for the automobile insurance industry
Education: BS Sociology, Nazareth College, Rochester NY; MS Quality Management, Anna Maria College, Paxton MA; Project Management Professional, PMP Certified
Community Activities (Five or fewer): Jonnycake Center Board member, Children’s Friend, Head Start Teacher’s Aide, Serve RI and Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Association member
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? I’m keenly aware of the top challenges we must address at the local and state level to maintain and improve our quality of life. I seek your vote for State Senator and promise that I will not only represent your voice at the State House, I will work hard to find meaningful, positive and common-sense solutions to the problems facing Rhode Island. I have over 25 years of successful business experience as well as extensive volunteer experience in the community which has informed me at the grass-roots level. I have led projects which resulted in process improvements, cost savings and business development. Those goals were achieved through collaborative work. I have also had the opportunity to work for Governor Chafee, where I was a member of the DMV task force. That experience inspired me to become more involved in our political process and especially our political decision-making process. I will apply my business skills to help find and implement solutions for Rhode Island’s complex problems.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? The concerns that have been communicated to me from the hundreds of voters I have spoken to in the district are; jobs, taxes and school funding. We need to create jobs, reduce taxes, and improve funding for education. My No. 1 priority is to get people back to work by making Rhode Island a job-friendly state. In order to do that, I will concentrate on assisting small businesses. My husband is a small business owner so I understand the issues they face. I will work to eliminate inefficient regulations that make it difficult for small businesses to grow and expand. I will work to ensure that tax incentives attract businesses, are tied to results and previously-determined goals and reduce wasteful spending. I will work to implement a sustainable school funding formula so cities and towns do not have to continually raise their residents’ property taxes.

Name: Francis T. Maher, Jr.
Address: PO Box 677, Exeter, RI 02822
Date of Birth: February 28, 1966
Daytime Phone Number: (401) 294-9819
Cell Phone Number: (401) 932-3900
E-Mail Address:
Office sought: State Senate, District 34
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Self Employed/Furniture Restoration
Education: Associate in Electronics, URI Master Gardener Course, URI-911 Programs: EMS/EMT
Political Background: Rhode Island State Senate: 2008-present; Health & Human Services Committee: 2009-present; Agriculture & Environment Committee: 2009-2011; Housing & Municipal Committee: 2011-present; Government Oversight Committee: 2011-present; Exeter/West Greenwich School Committee: 2004-2008; Exeter Republican Town Committee: 1999-present; Secretary: 2000-2004
Community Activities (Five or fewer): Exeter/West Greenwich Little League, West Greenwich Elks, Exeter Grange, Warwick Sportsman Club, Marine Corp League
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? Why should you vote for me?
Over the last two years as a second term legislator in the Senate I took positions on the following:
Voted against any legislation including both budgets which passed the burden of reduced school and municipal aid to the towns and thus the taxpayer; Supported small business-friendly tax incentives that will create an improved business climate to create more jobs; Co-sponsored legislation to relieve towns of unfunded mandates by the state; n Supported tightening restrictions on eligibility on state social programs, especially for residents here illegally; Supported pension reform; Co-sponsored legislation that would eliminate the “master lever” in the voting process; Co-sponsored a resolution to amend the state constitution to include term limits.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected?
What I see as the three top issues and how I would address them:
n State budget deficits: These last two state budgets that were passed continue to not address our ongoing deficits and overspending. Until we control our expenditures, we will have great difficulty in solving all of the other issues that face our state. This issue is the leading problem that contributes to high unemployment, high taxes and a poor business climate. I will continue to make the necessary hard decisions to help solve the serious perennial deficit.
n Tax climate: Rhode Island ranks 46th out of 50 in the business tax climate and 7th highest in property taxes nationally. With the uncompetitive tax structure in this state, we continue to have difficulty time attracting new business and keeping current businesses here. Until our tax climate problem is solved, our economy will continue to suffer. Tackling this issue will take considerable political will, courage and determination. I will continue to support and propose legislation that reduces over-regulation, streamlines permits and licensing and promotes a climate that is business friendly.
n Education: Our state cannot continue to have 36 school districts with the same amount of labor contracts that end at the beginning of a school year. Our state passed a funding formula that penalizes regional school districts that are high performing. I will continue to propose an amendment to the funding formula that will have a “hold harmless clause” so school districts do not continue to lose funding. I will also support more local control over mandates from the state that are unfunded to local school districts.
n Municipal Pension Liability: The fastest growing component of total personnel expenditures during the last 10 years has been retirement costs. During this time period, expenditures on retirement have increased 124.6 percent, from $60.7 million in FY 2001 to $136.3 million in FY 2011. I will support difficult pension reform that will keep a pension in place for those have earned it. But I will support changing the benefit structure, sharing risk with state employees and increasing employee contributions as per RIPEC recommendations.
I will also be committed, unlike previous budgets passed, to keep up with funding requirements to the state pension. If these changes are not done, our pension will be completely insolvent.


Name: Winters (Win) B. Hames, III
Address: 30 Wood Ave, Narragansett, RI 02882
Date of Birth: January 14, 1944
Daytime Phone Number: (401) 824-6368
Cell Phone Number: (401) 742-2500
E-Mail Address:
Office Sought: State Senate, District 35
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Self-employed as food broker for national companies
Education: Graduated South Kingstown High School, University of Florida BS JM
Political Background: Chairman of the Narragansett Democratic Town Committee on and off for the last 25 years
Community Activities (Five or fewer): Member of the Lion’s Club for 32 years, Past President of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Narragansett Little League Coach and board member for 18 years, South County Youth Soccer coach and board member for over 15 years, Active with my wife in Friend’s Way, a children and family grief organization.
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? In looking at this new district and the problems that the state is facing, I felt that we needed someone with a strong voice who could work with the majority to get things done. I don’t want our four towns left out of the decision-making process.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? To work and create a better business climate in order to attract good paying jobs to our state. To work and strengthen both the public school systems and our colleges and universities. Education is the way to create good paying jobs and grow our State’s economy.

Name: Dawson Tucker Hodgson
Address: PO Box 7, Slocum, RI
Date of Birth: July 10, 1978
Cell Phone Number: (401) 203-3256
E-Mail Address: (campaign); Sen (official)
Office Sought: State Senate, District 35
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Attorney & Business Owner
Education: Bucknell University, B.A.; UConn Law, J.D.
Political Background: Elected to the State Senate November 2, 2010 in first campaign for elected office. Member of the Senate Committees on Judiciary and Labor, Senate Youth Violence Task Force, and the Joint Commissions on Municipal Shared Services and Economic Development.
Community Activities (Five or fewer): North Kingstown Harbor Management Commission, Member 2009-present; RI Department of Attorney General, Criminal Prosecutor 2005-2010


Name: Jim Sheehan
Address: 40 Blueberry Lane, North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: January 27, 1966
Daytime Phone Number: (401) 885-1988
E-Mail Address:
Office Sought: State Senate
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Educator of History
Education: Masters Degree at Catholic University and Bachelors of Arts at University of Rhode Island (semester abroad at University of Salzburg, Austria).
Political Background: State Senator, Co-chair: Joint Committee on Economic Development Committee (end of 2011-present), Acting Chair: Government Oversight Committee, Vice-Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, Board Member of the Quonset Davisville Management Corp.(QDC); Member: State House Security Commission, and Member: North Kingstown Democratic Town Committee.
Community Activities (Five or fewer): Co-Chair of the William H. Sheehan High School Scholarship Fund; Co-Chair of the William H. Sheehan Golf Tournament to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Member: Save the Bay, Knights of Columbus, and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick

Name: Mariacristina McKendall
Address: 103 Richard Smith Drivel, North Kingstown, RI
Date of Birth: March 27, 1953
Daytime Phone Number: (401) 301-3327
E-Mail Address:
Office Sought: State Senate District 36, North Kingstown & Narragansett
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Small Business Owner
Education: BS in Nursing from Rhode Island College
Political Background: None
Community Activities (Five or fewer): Longtime parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Church, former Girl Scout troop leader & lifetime Girl Scout Member, Supporter of Reach out to the Community, Long time supporter of American Cancer Society-major fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Why have you decided to run for office for first time (or again)? I am running for office because I am upset at the dire state of Rhode Island’s economy. We are ranked as the least-friendly place to do business and we have the second-highest unemployment in the country. Our young adults are forced to leave the state in search of jobs. Our retired family members are forced to leave Rhode Island because they cannot afford to live here. We need to get Rhode Islanders back to work by making Rhode Island a place that businesses want to come and set up shop. Our tax burden is one of the highest in the nation. This can easily being achieved by lowering corporate, sales & personal taxes to 1-percent below MA and CT. This will make our state more attractive than both of these states and companies will move across the border.
What are your platforms/plans for the area if elected? If elected, I will work to reduce the overbearing regulation that job-creating businesses in this state face. The $500 incorporate fee that a business must pay to start should be removed. We need to get rid of the state inventory tax as this tax serves as deterrent to businesses considering Rhode Island as a place to locate and it doesn’t raise much revenue either. I would work to stop the state from gambling the people of Rhode Island’s money on deals such as 38 Studios. This is not an area that the state should be involved. Lastly, I would work to simplify Rhode Island’s tax code. Why would a business want to come to our state if our tax code is more complicated than our neighboring states? All of these measures will help to bring more businesses to Rhode Island and therefore more jobs! When there are more jobs, there are also more people paying taxes so our revenues will go up.

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