Wednesday, September 02, 2020
Daniel McKiernan is running for reelection in House District 7 (Providence).
Read what he has to say about why he is running for office.
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?
The biggest issue more or less depends on what position you are seeking. In Rhode Island the House of Representatives’ main function is reviewing the budget that is submitted by the Governor and working with all interested stakeholders in order to create a budget that best reflects the reality of our tax revenues, fiscal obligations, our current structural deficit and the needs of our citizens. In that light, the biggest political issue is COVID-19, which has devastated the state’s finances. Over the next few years, those serving at the State House will have to help the state walk a fiscal tightrope if we are to effectively guide the state toward recovery.
2. What do we need to do to improve Rhode Island’s economy?
Get the private sector up and operating in a manner that is safe and does not jeopardize the local defeat of COVID-19. This is ongoing. Continue the support of the successful education to work programs that have been in operation, which lead to good paying jobs even without a college degree. Invest heavily in public schools and supporting programs including after school and early learning programs. This is essential in Providence, where every year we lose taxpayers who have young children but move to a different municipality with a school system with a better reputation. We should also invest in making sure kids from disadvantaged backgrounds have an opportunity to attend one of our state colleges. This can be done by better funding our state schools and by offering no or low interest loan programs for Rhode Island students.
3. What is the greatest challenge facing Rhode Island as a state?
Cynical and defeatist thinking or, stated differently, “us” versus “them” thinking. In my district, which is very diverse, we actually have a lot more in common than many of us realize. All families, whether black, brown, white or other, want a state where their children will be treated fairly and where their elders will enjoy quaIity of life. We have a lot of economic and social challenges as a nation and country. These include social issues and economic issues. But we can’t tackle those effectively if we can’t have respectful communication, which involves a lot of listening without judging.
4. Why are you running for office? What makes you uniquely qualified?
I am running, in essence, to finish what I have started. I have been told that my influence was a major factor in eliminating the car tax. I want to make sure that remains a priority and will continue to receive support at the state house. This was an onerous tax on residents of Providence. I also want to assist Providence to get the tools to properly and fairly manage its tax base. There are very wealthy non-profit institutions in our city that have dramatically increased their real estate holdings, pushing the tax burden to homeowners and businesses. This must be addressed if Providence is to have long term fiscal health. I am qualified by virtue of life experience, a background in economics and law, and by the fact that I know I am not “unique.” I am a father, a married partner and I am invested in my community. I love and have great respect for the many other good people that care for their families, their children and work for the common good.
5. Who is your inspiration?
My original teachers, my mom and dad. Both came from humble beginnings and worked very hard. Dad was a small business owner and mom was a registered nurse who worked at various hospitals as a surgical nurse. They were great parents and taught my siblings and I the importance of home as a safe place where unconditional acceptance was expected. They also taught us to think for ourselves, to tell the truth and that our two ears, two eyes and one mouth should be used proportionately.
Daniel P. McKiernan earned a Bachelor’s degree in economics (1988) and a Juris Doctorate degree (1991). He is admitted to practice law in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He was elected in November, 2014, as the State Representative from District 7, Providence. He is a co-chair of the House Labor Committee, and serves on the House Oversight Committee, Small Business Committee and Judiciary Committee. He and his wife, Christina, have two children, Tom and Bridget. Dan and Christina have spent their entire married lives of almost 30 years living and serving in District 7. Prior to being elected, Dan volunteered with his church, as a coach, and on behalf of a number of non-profits in the Providence area.