Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 02-18-2021

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 NO. SMITHFIELD / WOONSOCKET FEB. 18-24, 2021 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET St. Michael food sales will benefit food ministries WOONSOCKET – The Ukrainian Kitchen of Saint Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 74 Harris Ave., is open for business, and for February purchases, the kitchen will be donating 10 percent of sales to local food ministries to help those in need. As an added bonus, the Senior Ukrainian Orthodox League of St. Michael's will match those donations. Purchases can be made online, and pick up is drive by with all COVID-19 pro- cedures being followed. The menu is available at https:// st-michael-uoc.square.site . The site is currently open for sales and will close on Friday, Feb. 26, with pickup on Saturday, Feb. 27, from 9 to 11 a.m. Our Saviour Parish offers free lunch WOONSOCKET – Our Saviour Parish, 500 Smithfield Road, has announced its Free Lunch Saturday program will be held Saturday, Feb. 20, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or until they run out. The community is invited to drive through and get lunch free of charge. For more information, call 401- 762-3072. NORTH SMITHFIELD – Sen. Jessica de la Cruz, a North Smithfield resident and native of East Providence, said she never planned to run for politi- cal office. The Republican state senator for District 23, covering parts of North Smithfield and Burrillville, said she had no intention of getting into politics until a few years ago. "If you had asked me years ago, if you told me I was going to run for office, I would've told you you're crazy," she said. Now, two years after she was first elected, de la Cruz is a rising star in Rhode Island's small contingent of Republican elected officials. She was elected Senate minority whip follow- ing her re-election in November and recently offered the Republican response to Gov. Gina Raimondo's State of the State address. Speaking to The Valley Breeze this week, de la Cruz said the challenges facing the party in Rhode Island in the next few years will be to gain more Senate seats and refocus its messaging. "I think what we have had as a party and are trying to fix is messaging," she said. "Getting our message out and mak- ing sure that the narrative isn't written by someone else." The first Republican to represent the district in more than two decades, de la Cruz has been vocal on issues such as zero-based budgeting and government accountability. Her most recent legisla- tion is a set of gun poli- cies that would allow state residents to own a taser or stun gun and create an appeals pro- cess for those denied a concealed carry license. De la Cruz said the leg- islation came out of her own experience being denied a concealed carry license while living in East Providence. "I went to Rhode Island Supreme Court and the Supreme Court admon- ished the police chief in East Providence and said you can't deny people and not give them a reason why," she said. De la Cruz said she was eventually provided with a list of reasons but lacked the means to pursue the issue again at the Supreme Court. The new legisla- tion would create an appeals process starting with the attorney general and the Superior Court before an individual has to appeal the denial at the Supreme Court. The legislation has already failed to advance twice in Rhode Island's blue General Assembly, but de la Cruz said she's still hopeful things could still sway in her favor. She described it as "com- mon sense legislation" and said it would put Rhode Island more in line with other state when it comes to possession of tasers and stun guns. The daughter of Portuguese immi- grants, de la Cruz said her own upbring- ing was neither blue nor red. When she first registered to vote at East Providence High School, she said, she didn't know what a Democrat or a Republican was and signed up as an unaffiliated voter. Much of her family, she said, leans Democrat but doesn't support the pro- gressive shift in the party in recent years. "A lot of my family, they're Democrats, but they're more like JFK Democrats and they're not happy to see what's happening within the party. They don't like how left it's going," she said. Rep. Brian Newberry, the Republican state representative for District 48, said that fits with what's he seen in the district over the past decade. He described a "realignment" taking place between the two major parties at the national level that's seen many previously reliably Democratic voters shifting Republican. "When I got elected (in 2008), I was the only elected Republican represent- ing Burrillville at all," he said. "Now, it's hard to find a Democrat in the town." Newberry said he thinks it's the party alignment, and not the voters, that's changed. He described Paul Fogarty, de la Cruz's predecessor of 20 years in the district, as a "quintessential, labor-backed Democrat" whose views were not far off from conservatives on many issues. Despite the recent attention following her State of the State response, de la Cruz said she has no plans to seek high- er office in Rhode Island and plans to run for re-election in District 23 in 2022. "I've been very vocal in my short time there in the Senate. I haven't been afraid to speak in committee or on the floor. Even being appointed whip in my cau- cus was humbling for me, because my colleagues have I guess recognized that they want me to be doing these sorts of things," she said. De la Cruz says state Republicans need to 'get our message out' By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Deputy Editor DE LA CRUZ Is your will or trust over 5 years old? Call for a review JOSEPH J. ROSZKOWSKI Attorney at Law Serving the people & businesses of Northern R.I. for over 50 years. Estate Planning | Wills | Trusts | Probate & Estate Litigation Real Estate & Title Closings 2178 Mendon Road, Suite 300, Cumberland, RI 02864 • 769-3447 Learn more about the local businesses in your area in next week's special section published on February 24th & 25th. COMING SOON COMING SOON COMING SOON COMING SOON COMING SOON COMING SOON COMING SOON COMING SOON COMING SOON COMING SOON COMING SOON COMING SOON COMING SOON

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