RI pension law critic DaSilva will challenge FinCom’s DaPonteJune 25th, 2012 at 7:25 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Two East Providence lawmakers are set to square off at the ballot box in a referendum on the new pension law.
State Rep. Roberto DaSilva filed paperwork on Monday to run against incumbent state Sen. Dan DaPonte in the Democratic primary for Senate District 14, DaPonte told WPRI.com in an interview.
The two East Providence Democrats took starkly different positions on the pension law last fall. DaPonte played a pivotal role in pushing the legislation through as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, while DaSilva supported amendments to change the committee bill and voted against the final version.
DaPonte noted that DaSilva is a public employee who works for the Pawtucket Police Department, and said his wife works for the government, too. “He’s obviously concerned about his pocketbook and wallet,” DaPonte said. DaSilva did not return a phone call after business hours.
The senator said he is ready to defend his vote for the law. ”At the end of the day, not doing this would have cost us an extra $300 million in the budget we just finished and it would have still kept $3 billion on top of the unfunded liability,” DaPonte said. “The numbers are what they are. But obviously his position on siding with the status quo was abundantly clear then and it’s abundantly clear now.”
DaPonte was first elected to the Rhode Island Senate in 1998, when he was a 20-year-old junior at the University of Rhode Island. He defeated his 2010 primary opponent Brian Castro 58% to 42%. DaSilva first won his House seat in November 2008, succeeding former Rep. Henry Rose.
DaPonte held a small financial advantage over DaSilva in their most recent campaign finance reports. DaPonte had $18,859 on hand as of March 31, while DaSilva had $13,016, according to the R.I. Board of Elections.
Individuals who want to run for office in Rhode Island this year must declare their candidacies by Wednesday. The primary is Sept. 11 and the general election is Nov. 6.
• Related: RI unions to file suit Friday challenging landmark pension law (June 22)