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GOP candidates 'ready to fight' in upcoming elections

Tuesday night, state Republicans skipped Gov. Donald Carcieri's '65 State of the State address, opting instead to host contenders for statewide elections at Holy Rosary Band Society Hall on Providence's East Side.

The night's main attraction was GOP gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille, Carcieri's communications director and one of the writers of the State of the State address. Robitaille gave a short speech that touched on his priorities.

"Small businesses are the engine of job creation," Robitaille said in his remarks. He suggested that federal stimulus funds be spent not on infrastructure but rather on aiding small businesses.

"What we need isn't sidewalks, but more businesses on Main Street," Robitaille said.
Energized by Republican Scott Brown's recent win in the special Massachusetts senatorial election, Robitaille offered hope for Republicans in the state.

"If what happened in Massachusetts can be replicated in Rhode Island … then we can shift the power in this state," he said.

Other candidates who spoke at the forum were Michael Gardiner, Mark Zaccaria, John Loughlin and Erik Wallin.

Zaccaria, a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, touted his experience in small business, which has shaped his support for fiscal responsibility.

For Gardiner, also a contender for the 2nd Congressional seat, improving affordability in health care should be a top priority for Republicans.

"Republicans need to be selling direct benefits to everyone," Gardiner said of his objective to provide cheaper insurance.

Loughlin, the opponent to Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy in the 1st Congressional District, said his "number-one focus is to grow jobs for the economy" and advocated tax credits to promote growth.

Wallin, the Republican nominee for attorney general, emphasized his commitment to combating corruption and violent crime.

"Are you ready to fight to take back your state?" Wallin asked. The crowd answered with a resounding "yes."


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