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Jack Sommer, Chair
"Don't find fault,
find a remedy."
- Henry Ford
"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing thinking he could only do too little."
- Edmund Burke
"Things do not happen. Things are made to happen."
- John F. Kennedy
“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.”
- Abraham Lincoln
“If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize it.”
- Mark Twain
Nardolillo | Tobon | Ackerman | Kazarian | Newberry | Shekarchi | Marcello | Ottiano
(Class of 2014)
A long-time resident of Coventry, Bob Nardolillo is a 4th generation funeral service professional who has worked at his family's funeral homes for 15 years. An active leader in the small business community, he is a member of the National and Rhode Island Funeral Directors Associations and in 2009 was honored by Home & Hospice Care of RI with their Community Champion Award.
As a Rhode Island small businessman, Bob believes that the following steps would create a robust economy in Rhode Island:
1) Establish a competitive Sales Tax and Business Tax Code that puts the state in line with its neighbors;
2) Eliminate corporate bailouts, and;
3) Modify or eliminate regulations that pose an undue burden on Rhode Island’s already struggling small business community.
Bob strongly supports ethics oversight of the legislature, as well as transparency and accountability in government. He believes in providing equal opportunity for all children, and that parents and teachers should be in control of education-based decisions, not politicians and lawyers. He believes parents should have the right to allocate tax payer dollars to best serve their child's needs and he supports school choice programs that encourage competition between students and schools.
Bob graduated with honors from the LaSalle Military Academy, Long Island, New York. He earned an Associate's Degree in Applied Sciences from Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colorado.
Bob is the loving husband of Jacqueline Nardolillo, and father of Rocco and Milania.
(Class of 2014)
Carlos Tobon is a candidate for State Representative in the neighborhoods of Fairlawn and Woodlawn Pawtucket (District 58).
A lifelong Pawtucket resident, civic engagement has always been a large part of Carlos’ life for many years. His first job was as a paperboy for the Pawtucket Times, and he is a proud member of the Pawtucket Teen Hall of Fame. In 1999, he had the honor of serving Rhode Island as a Senate Page to the late U.S. Senator John Chafee. In the community, Carlos serves on the United Way advisory council, and on the boards of the Rhode Island Welcome Back Center and Books are Wings.
Carlos takes pride in being a businessman and an entrepreneur. He currently works with the established local insurance firm Troy, Pires & Allen, as well as his own business, CET Investments. He is currently developing a parcel of land in Central Falls called the Landing into an outdoor bar and entertainment facility, built entirely from shipping containers.
At the State House, Carlos will fight for small businesses and economic recovery in Rhode Island. He will cut red tape and make it easier for businesses to incorporate and grow in the Ocean State, while work to create a climate where the many great companies our state already hosts can grow and prosper. As someone who both owns and insures companies, Carlos will bring a vital perspective on creating jobs and promoting economic development to the State House.
(Class of September 2012)
Mia Ackerman was elected to the Assembly in 2012 after several years on the Cumberland Town Council. A small business owner, she is focused on helping businesses create jobs for Rhode Islanders.
In her first year in the Assembly, Mia played a key role in the consolidation of four Cumberland fire districts into one. At the State House she is an advocate for businesses, which she says must thrive in order to maintain a stable and healthy tax base. She regularly advocates on behalf of easing the burden upon businesses in dealing with zoning regulations and obtaining permits and licenses. Ackerman also supports educational reform efforts and transparency in state government.
The proprietor of Ackerman Title Services for the past 22 years, she is a Real Estate Title Examiner for residential and commercial properties. A graduate of State University of New York at Binghamton, she and her husband Barry are the parents of two children in Cumberland public schools. She was the recipient of the 2010 Women of Achievement Award from the YWCA of Northern Rhode Island, which recognizes women for their charitable efforts and contributions to their community.
(Class of November 2012)
Katherine Kazarian, a lifelong East Providence resident, won a four-way primary for State Representative from Rumford (District 63) in 2012. Earlier that year, she graduated from Columbia University with degrees in Urban Studies and Economics. In her first year in the assembly, Kazarian took direct aim at unnecessary state bureaucracy. She sponsored a new law abolishing the Board of Bank Incorporation, a state body that hadn’t met in years. While in college, Katherine was a member of Columbia University’s Peace by P.E.A.C.E. volunteer organization, traveling to homeless shelters and public schools in Harlem to teach conflict resolution skills and conduct community workshops. She has also worked at Rhode Island Public Broadcasting and a private attorney’s office. Until recently she paid her bills as a hard working waitress.
Katherine is running for re-election as State Representative in Rumford (District 63).
(Class of November 2012)
First elected in 2008, Brian C. Newberry represents House District 48 which includes North Smithfield and Burrillville. He is the Minority Leader of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. A champion of lower taxes, reduced regulation and limited government, Newberry believes that the General Assembly’s top priority must be to change the business climate in the state as a way to encourage growth in private sector employment. He has consistently maintained that Rhode Island’s myopic focus on all too often fighting over how to divide up the pie has been a major distraction from the much more desirable goal of growing the pie in a way that would benefit everyone.
Newberry is a 1989 graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall, a 1993 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in American History and Urban Studies and a 1996 Magna Cum Laude Graduate of Temple University School of Law. He is a partner in the law firm of Donovan Hatem LLP where his practice concentrates in professional malpractice defense, primarily representing architects, engineers, accountants and lawyers as well as construction law generally and commercial litigation. He is admitted to the bar in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. He and his wife Beth live with their three children in North Smithfield.
(Class of November 2012)
A life-long resident of Warwick who has actively worked to improve the business climate in the City and throughout Rhode Island for his entire professional life, Joe was elected to serve as a State Representative in Warwick's District 23 in his first run for public office.
Joe was recently selected to serve as chairman of the key House Labor Committee, an unprecedented appointment for a first term legislator. Joe’s leadership and consensus building skills were also on display recently when he successfully broke the political impasse surrounding the long-delayed runway expansion at T.F. Green Airport. He personally worked to create a comprehensive community benefits plan that was instrumental in ultimately obtaining the unanimous support of the Warwick City Council for the crucial project.
Shekarchi attended Randall Holden Elementary School, as well as Hoxsie Elementary School, Mount St. Charles Academy and Suffolk University in Boston, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in government. He also graduated from Suffolk University Law School in 1990.
Joe currently practices law at his office at 33 College Hill Road. He has been instrumental in expanding Warwick’s tax base and creating jobs -- working to bring two Washington Trust Bank branches to Warwick, two Lowe’s stores, relocate Herb Chambers Cadillac to Warwick and expand Balise Auto and develop their second facility on Jefferson Boulevard. The Balise expansion project alone represents an $8 million private sector investment in the City.
Joe is also very attentive to the needs of Warwick’s senior citizens. “Seniors are both the conscience and lifeblood of our community, and we all need to help provide them with safe, affordable housing.”
(Class of 2010)
Michael Marcello represents Scituate and western Cranston, District 41, in the R.I. House of Representatives. Recognized as a reformer, he was ranked Number One in the House by Common Cause during the 2014 legislative session. An advocate for open and ethical government, he recently authorized and won passage of landmark legislation that significantly amended the state’s Access to Public Record Act. He also succeeded in passing legislation which prohibits local elected municipal officials from earning pension credits for their service on local city and town councils. He has consistently been the prime sponsor of a bill that would restore Rhode Island Ethics Committee jurisdiction over members of the General Assembly.
Marcello has distinguished himself as a thoughtful proponent of Rhode Island small businesses and an advocate for leaner, more efficient government. He was an early supporter of equitable pension reform and continues to look for ways to streamline the cost and scope of Rhode Island’s government.
A product of Scituate public schools, Mike is a 1990 graduate of Colby College and earned his law degree from the American University’s Washington College of Law in 1994. He was also a law clerk for Connecticut’s Superior Court system.
Marcello takes a keen interest in American history, and spends some of his free time reading it. A Scituate native, he is the youngest of four children, and currently owns the home in which he and his siblings were raised.
(Class of 2010)
Every special interest seems to have a lobbyist.
Shouldn’t the taxpayers have one?
Dr. Christopher Ottiano represents Portsmouth and Bristol in Senate District 11. He was the only challenger to defeat an incumbent state senator anywhere in Rhode Island in 2010. Ottiano believes that real leadership at the State House begins with a balanced budget stripped of gimmicks and shortcuts. He understands that state revenue must come from private sector growth, and consistently works to reduce taxes and create a friendly environment for Rhode Island’s small businesses.
Ottiano believes that when politicians give in to the special interests, taxes are increased to fund excessive benefits, and it’s the working people of Rhode Island who end up paying. “When we take an honest look at our common interest, it’s clear that we all benefit from lowering the barriers to economic growth,” he says.
Ottiano has offered real solutions to lower Rhode Island’s high unemployment rate. These include reducing the personal income tax rate to no higher than 5%, eliminating regulatory hurdles that make Rhode Island uncompetitive, and expanding state support of higher education to better educate a qualified work force.
Ottiano’s priorities also include plans for better health insurance, better results for the public education dollar, and better enforcement of immigration laws. He also stresses the need for increased government accountability through term limits, was an early supporter of eliminating the straight “party lever” in voting, and strengthening the ethics commission.
A life-long Rhode Islander, Ottiano has always taken an interest in his local community. Currently, Ottiano serves his town in the role of Supervisory Committee Chairman for the Peoples Credit Union, and also acts as a member of the Portsmouth Planning Board.
Since graduating from Tufts Medical School, Ottiano has served Rhode Island as a local physician for many years. He has also distinguished himself as a member of the Medical Executive Committee Newport Hospital and as a member of the American Board of Surgery. He and his wife of ten years, Bernadette, have a seven-year old son, Raymond.
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