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Candidate forum for Senate District 21 and House District 41 in Scituate



Candidates for Rhode Island State Senate District 21 and House District 41 attended a debate at the Scituate Middle School on Tuesday. Both Republican candidates were no shows. Around 45 people attended.

Senate District 21 has been an open seat since Nicholas Kettle resigned in February, following his arrest on charges of video voyeurism and extortion. Senate District 21 candidates in attendance were James Safford (Democrat) and Dr Michael Fine (Independent). Gordon Rogers (Republican) did not attend. Safford organized the forum.

Of the two House District 41 candidates, only Michael Steiner (Democrat) attended. Incumbent Robert Quattrocchi (Republican) did not attend.

The forum was moderated by Scituate Middle School social studies teacher Ken Abrams. The first six questions asked were from Abrams’ students.

Below is all the video.

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Opening comments from James Safford:

Opening comments from Dr Michael Fine:

Opening comments from Michael Steiner:

Student questions:

Q1. Why do you want to run for office? What is it that inspired you to run for office?

Q2. What are your specific qualifications for the job of Representative or Senator?

Q3. What are your thoughts on increasing financial aid for college and reducing the burden for college students?

Q4. What are your ideas for improving the economy and adding good paying jobs to the state?

Q5. What are your thoughts on improving the schools in our state?

Q6. What can we do to improve our state’s health care system and also how about the mental health system?

Audience questions

Q1. What party affiliation do you have and why? Are there candidates outside your party that you have supported and if so, who and why? And specifically for Dr Fine: As an Independent, I would like to know who you would caucus with, if elected.

Q2. What are the pros and cons of bump stock legislation, which side of the issue do you come down on, and why?

Q3. What will you do to protect the rights of transgender individuals in the state?

Q4. I’m hearing tidbits that there is potential for Interstate 84 to make its way through our town in the near future using land primarily owned by the Providence Water Supply Board. Is this something that you are aware of and if so, please expound. Do you support it or not?

Q5. If elected you’ll be representing other towns and other people in your district, not just Scituate. What are their issues, specifically?

Q6. Do you believe that economic inequality is a problem the state should address? If so, how should the state change its policies?

Q7. Will you respect a woman’s right to autonomous decisions over her reproductive health?

Q8. How do you plan to address the need for clean energy development and the need to keep open space, woodland forests areas in Scituate, Foster and Coventry? What are your thoughts on development and keeping Rhode Island rural?

Q9. What do you see as important state legislative goals for the future?

Closing comments from James Safford:

Closing comments from Dr Michael Fine:

Closing comments from Michael Steiner:

James Safford

Michael Fine

Michael Steiner

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Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.