Two years ago, Joseph Solomon Jr. announced his candidacy for the Representative Dist. 22 seat that incumbent Frank Ferri was vacating to run as a candidate for lieutenant governor.
His campaign ran on promises of improving the state’s business climate, ethics reform as well as being accessible and welcoming for constituents. Having won the seat, Solomon believes he has delivered on those promises and is asking voters to return him for another two years.
Solomon grew up in Warwick, attending Hoxsie Elementary, St. Kevin School and Hendricken. After high school, he went on to study accounting at Providence College and received his law degree from New England Law, Boston in 2008. He is licensed to practice law in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Washington D.C. Currently, he practices business law and trademarking predominantly as a partner at Solomon Law offices with his father, Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon.
As he did two years ago, Solomon faces a Democratic primary against Jennifer Siciliano. The winner will go on to face independent Elizabeth Smith in the General Election. Solomon hopes his “proven track record” will make him a great candidate for re-election.
“I believe I brought the voice of the people of District 22 to the State House,” Solomon, 32, said. “I have prided myself on being easily reached. I readily give out my cell phone number and encourage citizens to call me, to share their concerns and their ideas. I ask them to work alongside with me in this position.”
He said that over the past two years he and the district have “accomplished a lot together.”
Solomon has received the Humane Hero award from the Defenders of Animals for his pro-animal legislation, including a bill that passed providing more protections for dogs in extreme temperatures.
For two years in a row, and successfully this past session, Solomon sponsored an ethics reform bill.
“Ethics reform is a priority; we need more accountability in government. No one is above the law,” Solomon said.
Although he was happy to see the bill pass this year, Solomon admitted that the “battle is not over” and he would continue to fight for reforms should he be reelected. Although steps forward have been made, there are always ways to improve.
Similarly, Solomon sponsored a transparency bill that required government budgets to be posted to the Secretary of State website and for all public meetings to be recorded and accessible to the public.
Last year, in his efforts to continue improving Rhode Island’s business climate, Solomon introduced a bill to allow local breweries, wineries and distilleries to sell more product – “growlers” – on site as the local and craft brew movement gains popularity, which gained some national news coverage.
“That is a booming industry right now and it’s popular across the country. It only seemed appropriate to help them improve their business initiatives and it helps with tourism, too. We need to do what we can to make it easier to do business in Rhode Island.”
Solomon co-sponsored a bill to cut Social Security income tax as well as the bill introducing the Rocky Point license plate to help stimulate a revenue source to benefit the park and future initiatives there.
His Lean Government Initiative, which had employees review the processes of government to make them more efficient, reducing back log, lead times and simplifying government, was put through executive order in April 2015.
Also important to Solomon, something he has worked on and would like to continue to work on, is addressing the state’s overdose epidemic.
“Prevention is key. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure. We need to nip this issue in the bud,” Solomon said. “Too many people are dying. It doesn’t matter their age, race or where they come from, this is a problem for all of us.”
His bill would require more transparency in prescription data, to see when, where and for whom opioids were being prescribed to give the state a better “scope of what we are looking at.”
A hot button issue this election season is how incumbents voted on truck toll legislation to underwrite the cost of repairing state bridges. In opposition to the leadership, Solomon voted against tolls.
“I believed there was not enough transparency and accountability laid out in the program. There were so many other avenues I thought we should explore first,” he said.
“If I am lucky enough to be reelected I want to continue the work we have been doing. I want to be a representative constituents can count on, and I believe I have brought that to the State House,” Solomon said.
One initiative he would like to continue working on is a sales tax holiday weekend, to show Rhode Island is “open” for business and provide a tax relief for the state and its businesses as well as eliminating the car tax.
Solomon has already begun walking door to door to reacquaint himself with the district, even through the heat wave. Already he said he has received a great response from people as well as simplifying rules and regulations for businesses statewide.
“I have loved my time in this position and bringing this district a voice at the State House,” Solomon said. “I have always loved working with the people of the district, seeing how they believe things should change and where they would like the state to move in the future. We see a government that better represents the people and is open to an exchange of ideas.”
For more information on Solomon or his campaign feel free to reach out to him personally either at his email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call his personal cell number, 308-3904.
Editor’s note: The Beacon has profiled Jennifer Siciliano and Elizabeth Smith in previous editions.