Aaron Regunberg was a Democratic candidate in the race for Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.

Regunberg, a prominent progressive, is a former state representative elected by voters on Providence’s East Side in 2014. After an unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor in 2018, he went on to work for Mayor Jorge Elorza and earn his law degree from Harvard.

Most recently, he was clerking for a federal judge, but left to run for Congress.

Regunberg grew up outside Chicago and graduated from Brown University. After college, he formed the Providence Student Union.

Below are Regunberg’s responses to a three-question survey from 12 News:

1. What do you think is the biggest issue facing the country today, and how do you think Congress should address it?

“Climate change is an existential threat, and one that we are particularly vulnerable to here in the Ocean State. And we don’t have much time to change course. The choices we make in the next five and ten years will decide the course of human civilization. The good news is we have everything we need to transition to a clean energy economy. It’s not a question of technical possibility. We have or will soon have everything we need to power our world from the sun, from the wind, from the earth, from the tides – sources we don’t have to burn and breathe into our lungs.

“The problems are political. The problem is that the fossil fuel industry – the most powerful and profitable industry in the history of humanity – is making obscene profits from the burning of fossil fuels, and they are going to do everything they possibly can to keep that money spigot flowing. They are going to deny, distract, and delay real decarbonization efforts as long as they possibly can, no matter how many millions and even billions of lives they condemn.

“And that is one of the key reasons I’m running for Congress. I have spent my life fighting this industry – organizing to block fossil fuel infrastructure, taking on our for-profit utility to pass new clean energy programs, supporting the court cases seeking to hold Big Oil accountable for their climate crimes. And that’s the work we need to be doing in Congress.”

2. What is an under-the-radar issue you are passionate about which you would make one of your priorities in Congress?

“Corporate monopolies.

“As Rhode Islanders struggle with rising costs of living, corporations across a vast array of sectors – pharmaceuticals and hospital services, retail, airlines, banking, media, cable and internet provision, agriculture, meat processing, and more – have consolidated into monopolies and oligopolies to extract even more money for the wealthiest few. Without competition, big technology companies can stifle innovation. Pharmaceutical companies can jack up prices. Internet and cable providers can get away with lower quality services. Baby formula producers can constrain production to cut costs, so that a safety failure at a single plant has the potential to push parents all across our country into crisis. Collusion by employers in a variety of industries has stifled worker mobility and suppressed wages. Perhaps worst of all, concentration gives megacorporations the resources to engage in massive lobbying efforts to rig the rules of the game even further in their favor.

“I will fight to advance legislation to reign in corporate power and create a fairer economy. A more competitive system will reduce price gouging, protect consumers, support worker safety and wages, lift up small businesses, grow innovation, and strengthen the resiliency of our supply chains. And curbing the political power of giant corporations will foster a more representative democracy. In particular, I will work to pass legislation to reform merger standards in order to stop corporate mergers that would put too much of the sales or labor market under a single entity. And I’d push to give agencies tools to retroactively break up the most harmful mergers.”

3. What do you think voters should know about your background that makes you stand out from the other candidates?

“I’m an organizer, which is why my approach to winning change has always been about bringing people together to make their voices heard. That’s the work I did as a community organizer helping young people win changes in our public schools. That’s how I built coalitions as a state legislator and passed laws guaranteeing paid sick days to 100,000 Rhode Island workers, increasing the minimum wage for tipped workers in our state for the first time in 20 years, creating new clean energy programs that would be more accessible to working people, expanding harm reduction strategies for folks struggling with addiction, and beginning the fight to reform solitary confinement in our prisons. And that’s the approach I’d take to fighting for change in Washington.”

Visit Regunberg’s campaign website »

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