2020 News & Press


Charles Callanan announced his candidacy for State Senate District 35 for the towns of East Greenwich, Narragansett, North Kingstown, and South Kingstown. His mission is to bring honest, fiscally accountable leadership to Rhode Island for the November 3, 2020 election.

Charles Callanan, the former active duty Naval Officer turned entrepreneur, is looking to bring his extensive leadership and management skills to fight decades of abuse burdening taxpayers in the district. The campaign will target Senate District 35 to provide a new level of fiscal accountability, push back against the status quo of pandering to municipal unions, and wasteful spending at all levels of government. The always outspoken Callanan has always made his stance quite clear on politicians who enrich themselves and their supporters as a result of public service.

A Message from RI GOP Chairwoman Sue Cienki

We are experiencing an extraordinary time. The COVID-19 pandemic has captured headlines and infected and killed people throughout the world. It has forced schools and colleges to operate online, cancelled events, disrupted travel plans and relocated workers to home. This pandemic knows no party lines, demographics or generations, we are all in this together.

We may have our disagreements, and our personal ideologies sway our thoughts on how best to navigate this crisis. It’s important though, that we all calmly exhibit reason and logic in our discourse. We must remember in this time more than ever, that we are all working toward the same goal, a return to normalcy.

Let us take this time to recognize and be thankful to those that are working on the front lines of this crisis. Our healthcare workers deserve all the thoughts and prayers we can send their way. So do the unsung heroes at our essential businesses, the cashiers at our supermarkets, the delivery drivers of our restaurants and everyone putting themselves at risk to provide us with the necessities of life.

Call to Temporarily Suspend Tax Foreclosures

On behalf of the Rhode Island Republican Party, I would like to thank our state and local officials for their efforts to keep Rhode Island residents safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the dynamic nature of this situation, there are many priorities being juggled and new responsibilities being taken by many. This leads to the strong possibility of oversight and error. With this in mind, I’m asking the League of Cities and Towns as well as Governor Raimondo to urge all forms of Rhode Island government to temporarily suspend any and all tax foreclosures.

In this time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, we certainly do not want the working families of Rhode Island displaced from their places of residence. Furthermore, our small business owners are already facing monumental challenges due to this pandemic. To seize their property for non-payment of taxes during this time would be catastrophic to our local economy.

House and Senate Minority Caucuses Call for Immediate Continuity of Legislative Operations Plan

Rhode Island House and Senate Republicans are calling for an immediate continuity of legislative operations plan from Governor Raimondo, Speaker Mattiello and Senate President Ruggerio. The letter, signed unanimously by both House and Senate Minority Caucuses was sent electronically to all General Assembly members on Sunday, March 29, 2020.


Click here for letter


At the request of Governor Gina Raimondo, the Disaster Emergency Funding Board has voted to authorize the state to borrow $300 million from private sector entities. General Treasurer Seth Magaziner explained that this debt will be in the form of an “appropriation pledge” and will have about a 3 percent annual interest rate. Treasurer Magaziner also indicated that Rhode Island’s Rainy-Day Fund of approximately $200 million is nearly exhausted. Furthermore, projections were presented showing Rhode Island could have a deficit of about $200 million by the end of the fiscal year.

R.I. Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Cienki commented: “There are three points that need to addressed here. First, by borrowing up to $300 million through an appropriation pledge, the Disaster Emergency Funding Board appears to be circumventing our state’s constitutional debt restrictions. A legally non-binding appropriation pledge is comparable to a moral obligation. Because we are circumventing the constitution, Rhode Island will pay a higher interest rate. An interest rate of about 3 percent for short term government debt is undoubtedly higher than the cost of debt using the full faith and credit of the State of Rhode Island. For example, paying an interest rate of three percent is similar to the fixed interest rate on a fifteen-year mortgage. Simple lesson here: when you circumvent the constitution, you pay more.”


At the request of Governor Gina Raimondo, the Disaster Emergency Funding Board is meeting to potentially authorize the state to borrow $300 million from private sector entities. The Disaster Emergency Funding Board consists of four members: House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Senate President, Dominick Ruggerio, Senate Finance Committee Chairman William Conley and House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin Abney. The Rhode Island’s Constitution (Article 6, Section 16, Section 17, and Section 21) places significant restrictions on the ability to incur debt without voter general. At this time, Rhode Island’s Rainy-Day Fund is approximately $200 million.  

Small Businesses Need our Support During Social Distancing

In this unprecedented time, when terms like "social distancing" have become the new normal, it is paramount that we first take all necessary precautions to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. It is also important to be mindful of all the ripple effects that COVID-19 will cause to our community beyond health, especially our small businesses here in Rhode Island. As taking reasonable precautions are necessary and social distancing becomes more commonplace, many restaurants, stores and service providers are being severely impacted.

There are a few ways you can support our local small businesses while still keep yourself and your family safe while social distancing.

  • Many local restaurants are now offering "curbside" pick-up at their locations. Also many restaurants who did not previously are now offering delivery service.
  • Local retailers are making a push to sell gift cards to be used at a later date. These small purchases can have an impact on business owners working capital during this time.
  • Many local businesses can provide you services remotely, over the phone, via email or on their website.


COVID-19 Candidate Advisory

In an abundance of extreme caution, we are advising all Republican candidates currently campaigning for the 2020 election to suspend all in-person canvassing efforts and postpone large gatherings, such as rallies, meet ups and fundraisers.

This advisory is not something we take lightly. During this unprecedented time, the health and well-being of the communities we hope to represent need to be put ahead of all other priorities at this time.

In the meantime we encourage all of our candidates to:

  • Take all necessary precautions to keep themselves and their families safe.
  • Follow all guidelines put forth by the CDC and other government agencies.
  • If possible, check in on your elderly neighbors.
  • If healthy (and allowed depending on area), inquire with your local city/town agencies and non-profits to see if you might be of assistance in a volunteer capacity.


In an opinion column, entitled “Time to reform the JCLS is now” published this week in the Cranston Herald, Warwick Beacon and Johnston Sunrise, R.I. Republican National Committeeman Steven Frias argues for fundamentally reforming the Joint Committee on Legislative Services (JCLS), the State House’s most powerful committee.

Here are some excerpts:


Since the General Assembly hearings in 2019 on the no-bid twenty-year billion-dollar contract extension for IGT, there have been two major developments: (1) IGT and Twin River have become business partners, and (2) the issuance of a report by Christiansen Capital Advisors, LLC (CCA), which demonstrated some of the fundamental flaws in the IGT no-bid deal. The fact that IGT and Twin River are now business partners does not automatically make this deal a good one for taxpayers. CCA’s report helps show why this no-bid deal is not in the best interest of Rhode Island taxpayers.

First, CCA determined that under this no-bid deal Rhode Island taxpayers are paying $9.6 million more to IGT to manage the traditional lottery and the central computer system.1 According to IGT and the Appleseed study, IGT’s jobs directly produce only about $8.14 million in state tax revenues.2 Therefore, Rhode Island taxpayers are paying more to IGT to run the lottery and central computer system than the amount of annual direct tax revenues IGT’s jobs give to Rhode Island. Also, CCA even questioned the need for Rhode Island to have a central management system provider for video-slot machines and indicated that it “would seem prudent to explore whether all the services” currently provided by IGT “are truly necessary in 2020, and worth the expense to Rhode Island taxpayers.”3 In fiscal year 2019, Rhode Island paid IGT $13.1 million to be the central computer system provider. Simply, Rhode Island taxpayers are paying more money to IGT than it is getting for IGT’s 1,000 jobs.