Sunday, August 21, 2022
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Deb Fellela is a Democratic candidate for state representation in District 43. Here’s what she has to say.
1. What do you think is the biggest political issue this campaign season in Rhode Island?
I think our biggest problem is the economy. Like many, I am worried about this coming fall and winter with electricity, gas and oil prices which will increase considerably.
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2. What must we do to improve Rhode Island’s economy?
Rhode Island’s economy needs to be stabilized. Everywhere you go, you see “hiring in progress” signs or you hear workers apologizing for being short-staffed. The state has worked well with and for small businesses and this must continue.
3. What is the biggest challenge facing Rhode Island as a state?
A challenge within Rhode Island is the availability of homeless shelters. We need more shelters for the homeless. Ideally, I wouldn’t want anyone to need that kind of help; however, the problem has persisted and grown in our state, so we can no longer ignore it.
4. Why are you standing for election? What makes you particularly qualified?
I’m running for office because I love my community. If I can help a person, by solving a problem they may have or by listening to their concerns and answering questions, I feel like I’ve done my job. I have held this seat for several years, and I believe I have the experience and the ability to accomplish the best for my constituents. Over the years I have come to know many residents and have always put their interests first when voting on matters on the House floor.
5. Who is your inspiration?
My grandmother inspires me. She was an immigrant from Portugal who came to the United States. She raised my father and four other children on her own after her husband passed away and still supported her family while working as a seamstress. She installed a hard work ethic that I have and have passed on to my four children.
Deborah represents District 43 in Johnston. First elected to her seat in November 2006, Rep. Fellela is Deputy Principal Majority Leader, making her a member of the House leadership team. She is the second vice chair of the House Conduct Committee and is a member of the House Labor Committee, the House Oversight Committee, and the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
During the last legislative session, she sponsored legislation targeting reckless prescribing practices, increasing fines to help ease the opioid epidemic. She also sponsored a new law that makes it easier for adult adopted children and their birth parents and siblings to reunite by mutual consent.
During the 2019 session, she co-sponsored child protection legislation specifying the circumstances under which the Office of the Children’s Advocate would investigate child deaths. She also co-sponsored animal welfare legislation that requires animal trainers to be licensed.
In 2016, she worked with the Governor’s Task Force on Overdose Prevention and Response to develop legislation to address the opioid overdose crisis. She introduced a bill to improve the usefulness and value of the prescription drug monitoring database program by adding analytical functions and allowing pharmacists to see all of a patient’s prescriptions. The new law helps detect obnoxious prescribing and dispensing schemes.
She is also a communicator at Notre-Dame de Grâce church and a member of the Sainte-Anne congregation.
A 1974 graduate of East Providence High School, Rep. Fellela retired in July 2020 after 28 years with the Providence School Department.
Deborah has four children: Henry III, Matthew, Kyle and Ally; and three grandchildren: Mia, Elvis and Franco.
Facebook Page: State Representative Deborah Fellela
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