Terri Flynn was a Republican candidate in the race for Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.

Flynn, according to her campaign website, currently resides in Middletown, where she previously served on the town’s planning board and town council.

She describes herself as a “citizen candidate” and says she’s a small business owner who maintains several rental properties with her husband.

Below are Flynn’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?

“The Economy. On the federal level, the front-line categories include: Taxes, Social Security, National Debt, Energy and Cost of Living.

“Conversations should definitely be held to completely overhaul the federal US tax code in the interest of taxpayers nationwide. One way to address the tax issue is with good tax policy. Good tax policy is simple and predictable. Taxpayers should be able to understand it and be able to predict a long-term budget with it. A simple example might be a flat tax that would be weighted at the lowest and highest ends. Simplifying the actual application of the tax code would reduce the burden of managing the tax code. Instead of hiring more IRS agents, the number of IRS agents could be severely reduced; Not fired, adding to the unemployment rolls, but use the agents’ auditing skills to audit government departments to identify efficiencies and redundancies. Revenue can only be created by increasing taxes or cutting costs. This would be an effort in cutting costs. Creating a dedicated fund, perhaps an Enterprise Fund, would track revenue generated, and surpluses could be used to either pay into Social Security or pay down the national debt.

“Inflation has weakened the US dollar and its buying power has diminished. The US government spending has caused significant inflation and resulted in the highest interest rates in 22 years. As a result, people are struggling. The cost of living goes up when spending goes up and interest rates are high. Policies that bring down the cost of living should be focused on, and include controlled spending of taxpayer dollars, energy independence, domestic manufacturing. There are challenges with new energy technology. There is no way to dispose of wind turbine blades. The blade material can chip off, causing additional debris to spread. Planned wind farms are being abandoned because the numbers don’t work in the current economy, a much different one than when the contracts were negotiated. High tech energy companies go out of business and leave the customers with systems that have no one to maintain and service them. That being said, the increase in greenhouse gas emissions is warming up our oceans. That’s indisputable. Energy policies have to have a balance: good stewardship to the environment, but not to the detriment of cost of living and the economy. Going forward, the US needs to consider all forms of energy. The US does need a strong domestic energy production policy. Attaining energy independence will lower the cost of living – something everyone could use right now.

“With energy prices going up and our senior population also on the rise, Rhode Island needs responsible policies that balance going green with the well-being of the average Rhode Islander. The economy is also impacted by illegal immigration and education. Rhode Island has a proud history of economic prosperity from manufacturing: boat builders in Newport, Converse sneakers in Bristol, and Hasbro in Providence, for example. The US has lost its dominance due to outsourcing and Rhode Island needs jobs and year-round industries. If the people in the communities in Congressional District 1 see these issues as priorities, I will work across the aisle on policies to benefit them.”

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

“If the Congressional District 1 communities see it as a priority, I would work on term limits and
capping campaign finances.

“I practice what I preach. I believe in term limits and after 2 terms on town council, I chose not to run in 2022 so there would be a vacant seat for someone else to have a chance to represent the people. Term limits allow new voices, fresh energy, and different perspectives to the decision-making conversations. Any elected official who has fulfilled their terms is absolutely free to participate as a citizen, and they should. They have a knowledge base to add to the conversation for best decisions for the people. Term limits is planned succession to ensure relevant leadership and a more civically involved and knowledgeable citizenship. This is a benefit to society as a whole, aka: when the tide comes in, all ships rise.

“The power for change is in the hands of the voters. Voters realize that they are bombarded with
special interest messaging from many sources: ground mail, email, texts, TV, radio, social media, yard signs, doorhangers, palm cards. That’s what the big money war chests buy – lots of media to create name recognition or opponent name smearing. Voters know this and they have the power to vote differently and deliberately.

“Voters may not know it, but the power for term and “war chest” limits is in their hands. Neither are ever going to happen if voters don’t vote differently. Voters need to vote for the candidates that are in favor of term and campaign finance limits. And the voters must vote for those candidates in the majority, so that majority can pass the legislation to accomplish this.”

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

“I served on the Middletown Planning Board (2017-2018), so know a thing or two about Comprehensive Plans and Zoning Codes, Technical Review Committees and state land development regulations. I was elected to Middletown Town Council (2018-2022) with the second highest vote count in 2018 and the highest vote count in 2020. While on Town Council I was the Middletown Senior Affordable Housing Committee Secretary and the Middletown Outreach Sub-Committee CoChair. I served as Council Liaison 2 years each on 7 different committees.

“I am a person who connects people and acknowledges each person’s contributions. In every community the best ideas and solutions come from the people who live there. Elected leaders have a wealth of resources, at their fingertips, in the residents of their communities. Congressional delegates are supposed to spend a lot of time with the voters in their district. I look forward to that. I enjoy putting “boots on the ground” and talking to people. The phrase I used in my town council campaigns is “A Leader Who Listens.” Voters’ grassroots efforts are what got me elected to Town Council and what got my name on the primary ballot for this election. These are people who know I care about their community and know I will work hard to serve in their best interests.

“Middletown voters know I am a leader who listens to citizens; My goal was to always walk into the room with my mind NOT made up, so the public meeting discussion, and public input, held as much weight as the docket information provided the week before. When elected, I work hard to review, and make clear to the public, all elements of the issues for transparent, data-driven decisions with a win-win perspective. I participate – I don’t just sit in the seat with the title. I ask questions to make sure the dots connect for the decision to be made and that the decision is long-term, and sustainable for 5 years, 10 years, 25 years, 50 years, and on. I would like the opportunity to bring that same passion to the federal level.

“My designation has always been Republican, and I wasn’t going to change it for this campaign for 4 reasons:

  1. Little known fact: Middletown Town Council is a non-partisan council, so a council candidate’s party is not identified on the ballot. My successful campaigns for Town Council and for collecting signatures for this Special Election ballot, were also non-partisan.
  2. Party labels are becoming blurred and meaningless because the law allows them to be misused as tools to strategize elections;
  3. Most best decisions on issues today swing somewhere in the middle; and
  4. Because of the first 3 reasons, maybe it is time voters start looking at the candidates, not the party labels when they vote.

“My candidacy gives voters an alternative candidate to vote for, a citizen candidate: I am not an attorney; I am not a CEO; I do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars; I am not beholden to party recommendations or other elected officials. I owe all of the aforementioned to the volunteers who share the same values and vision and help me be their voice. My experience as an elected official is non-partisan based, so I am not entrenched in the political system. I will bring that approach to Congress to work across the aisle and truly collaborate with the other 435 members of Congress to help people who are struggling and to vote for what is best for Rhode Island and in the way the constituents of CD-1 have indicated they want me to.”

Visit Flynn’s campaign website »

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