For immediate release June 24, 2016
PORTSMOUTH – Representative Dennis Canario, a retired Portsmouth police officer and father of three, today announced his intention to seek a third term serving the people of District 71 in the House of Representatives. The district includes the towns of Portsmouth, Little Compton and Tiverton.
“I have worked hard to raise the quality of life across our state to ensure every Rhode Islander has the opportunity to start a family, earn a living, and retire comfortably,” said Rep. Canario, a Democrat. “I will be proud to put my record before the voters this fall.”
Due to his leadership efforts, Rep. Canario was named a Deputy Majority Leader by Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. In that role, he works closely with the House leadership to inform members of issues and votes coming before the House.
“I have enjoyed the opportunity to speak on behalf of rank and file members and raise concerns to House leadership,” said Rep. Canario. “Together, we have moved our state forward by increasing the minimum wage, expanding the earned income tax credit, and reducing taxes on retirees.”
Rep. Canario is a member of three House committees, including the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee, House Judiciary Committee, and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Rep. Canario has been an outspoken advocate for the East Bay and strongly opposed tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge in 2014.
“The East Bay needs a strong voice in Providence who is willing to stand up when our quality of life is threatened,” said Rep. Canario. “I fought against the tolls on the Sakonnet Bridge because they would have nickel and dimed residents to death and hurt dozens of small businesses who are the true job creators in our economy.”
To continue his efforts on behalf of his district, Rep. Canario voted against the truck toll proposal earlier this year.
“I heard loud and clear from my constituents that they were opposed to the plan that fixes our roads and bridges by placing a toll on large commercial trucks,” said Rep. Canario. “Although we know there is a need to repair our bridges, there is a better way to do it than eventually placing more than a dozen toll gantries on highways throughout the state.”
Rep. Canario has served as a strong voice for the developmentally disabled. This year he advocated for increased budget funds and employment opportunities for the developmentally disabled community.
“After years of crippling funding cuts to the developmentally disabled community, I enthusiastically supported this year’s budget because it included much needed funding to those with developmental disabilities,” said Rep. Canario. “We also passed legislation calling on the Governor’s Workforce Board to expand employment opportunities for the developmentally disabled to ensure this segment of our workforce is not be left behind as our state surges toward economic recovery.”
He has also relied on his professional experience as a police officer to issue policies and legislation that improves public safety throughout the state. This year he introduced legislation to ban the use of deadly restraint tactics, increase training for school bus drivers, and put before voters a bond to build a new police station in Portsmouth.
Rep. Canario also sponsored legislation to reinstate the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission over General Assembly members. The legislation puts a constitutional amendment before voters this fall that would eliminate the legislative immunity clause in the state’s constitution.
“Accountability has been absent for far too long within the walls of the State House and I consider it my duty to the residents of District 71 to build the public’s confidence in elected officials,” said Rep. Canario. “No legislator is above the law and those who put self interest before our state’s best interest should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
Canario previously served on the Portsmouth Town Council from 2004 to 2010 and held the position of Council President for two years. He founded the Portsmouth Police Cadet Explorer Program and served as the Portsmouth Senior Citizens Advocate from 1997 to 2001. He resides in Portsmouth with his wife Amy and children Dennis, Olivia, and Jonathan.