Stephen Casey Takes On Rep. Jon Brien For Dist. 50 Seat

Challenger says voters deserve a voice, information from their representative.


Stephen Casey, 43, firefighter and a 12-year city resident, the son of an active town politician, decided to challenge Rep. Jon Brien for the Dist. 50 seat in the Sept. 11 primary after the incumbent's vote to table the tax equity act.

The bill, H-7729, was included as an amendment to the budget during this year's legislative session. It would have . Jon Brien's vote helped table the measure, effectively killing it, as did the vote of Rep. Lisa Baldelli Hunt (D-District 49, Woonsocket) and 51 other representatives, according to the House Journal from June 7.

"That would have brought another $131 million back into the state," Casey said. A portion of that figure could have helped Woonsocket, he said.

Casey was also not a fan of Brien's lack of support for the supplemental tax bill, the defeat of which prompted the appointment of the Budget Commission and took much of the financial power out of the hands of local officials. Now, Casey said, the city may wind up facing a much higher tax increase. "I think that's going to come back and bite the city right in the face," Casey said. Instead of saving taxpayers from an increase, the Budget Commission may raise taxes higher than local officials were willing to consider, he said.

Casey said although Brien says his position against the supplemental tax bill is aimed at protecting taxpayers, it's really an irresponsible play for their favor. "I think he didn't want to pass it so he could get re-elected," Casey said.

Casey said that though he isn't happy about increased taxes for his own Park Avenue home, the city's only alternative is to ask for a receiver who can take Woonsocket into bankruptcy, which will be more damaging to property values and will also lead to a tax increase. "I don't know that there's an easy avenue for the people of Woonsocket right now," Casey said. He added Brien is smart enough to know that.

When asked if he'd consider a graduated tax scale that would give lower-income residents a break in the event of a supplemental tax, Casey said he didn't think it was wise to move away from an equal rate in the city. He said if someone were to suggest a plan that might work, he'd consider it. "No matter what it needs to be fair for everybody," Casey said.

On the question of how he would work with fellow members of the General Assembly, Casey said that though he is new to the political scene, that's how everyone in it now started out. "If I have to lobby for the city to get state aid to help, that's what needs to be done," he said.

Casey, an Eagle Scout who grew up in Melrose, MA, described himself as a regular guy who mows his own lawn and is easy to get along with. His dad was a member of the Melrose School Committee and later served on the Board of Aldermen before making an unsuccessful run at state representative. He said public office has been something he's considered for a long time.

He said he and his wife, Debra (Deziel) Hunt, a life-long Woonsocket resident, own two cars that are 27 years old combined. "I think I can relate to people," he said.

The Dist. 50 challenger said he aims to inspire the city's residents to be invested, voting citizens again, and intends to ask them for their input on how to tackle the city's problems at the state level. Too many people in Woonsocket have given in to apathy, he said, and it shows. "Now what you're doing is you're trusting someone else to make that decision for you, and do you really want to do that?" Casey asked.

Casey said he also wants to work to make Woonsocket more attractive to business. He said he intends to talk to the businesses that have remained throughout the city's troubles, and find out what's allowed them to survive or kept them here.

Casey said he knows he isn't able to single-handedly draft plans for fixing the city's problems, "But I'm going to go find the guys who are. That's what we need to do," he said.

Casey will turn 44 the day after the Sept. 11 primary, and he said it would be all right with him if he celebrates his birthday as a state representative. "I don't think it's going to be a present. I'm going to have to work for it," he said.

Casey and Brien will face off in the Democratic primary Tuesday, Sept 11. Whoever wins that contest will run unopposed for the Dist. 50 seat in November.

Dave August 17, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Cities all over America going broke,why don't i hear anything about supplementals elsewhere?Bunch of crap,in California you get a supplemental if your property value goes up,if it goes down you get a refund.Where have property values gone in Woonsocket?Cut more or risk further decay.
Russell Archambault August 17, 2012 at 08:52 PM
there were no rich tax cuts that i know of. Someone please explain.
Marc Beauregard August 18, 2012 at 12:30 AM
The dirty little bill that Jon and Lisa dont want attention brought to. Thats wha is is Russ
Jose August 18, 2012 at 12:08 PM
You got my VOTE, whats Brien done but grand stand and get an over inflated ego?? He is in every radio show that will let him ramble and has done ZERO for Woonsocket. Oh that's right Brien WANTS the City bankrupt and in the hands of a non elected receiver. Great Job in getting my $300 supplement turned into thousands. VOTE ALL INCUMBENTS OUT NOW!!
Dave August 18, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Your $300 supplement would've been permanently built into your tax rate.It would've been there forever and translated into thousands too.Supplemental,reduced Homestead Exemption,regular tax increases,all the same thing.Don't be distracted by whatever they call it,it all means the same thing,the City's broke and they want more of your money by whatever means necessary.A vote for this guy means a vote for unions,period.
Woonsocket Tax Payer August 18, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Years ago North Smithfield issued a fifth quarter tax bill and that increase was built into their tax base. Fast forward to this year and they had a tax decrease. If the Woonsocket supplement tax bill will fix the problem than I say send it out and turn the page on this fiasco.
Dave August 18, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Only problem with this is that NS doesn't have the problems that the WED has,if you think your taxes will decrease think again.Don't forget about the 35 million dollar loan at 7% interest for the Water Plant too.
Dave August 18, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Casey's buddy,Michael Morin is jacked about supplemental being shot down too.Casey,Morin and Picard.Three out of five "reps" representing special interests,vote for them at your own peril.
Scott H August 18, 2012 at 01:50 PM
I still would like to know why Brien and Baldelli-Hunt helped stop a bill that could of helped generate approx. 131 million dollars to the state simply by restoring the 2006 tax rate on people making over 250000 dollars a year. It does not make sense to me. In 2009 the Median family income for Woonsocket was $48680 while in 2009 only .8% of Woonsockets population made over $200000. Who are these reps working for? It doesn't appear to be us
Dawn Mackenzie August 18, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I don't know but it sounds like Jon Brien and Lisa raised the average man's taxes while they protected the financially elite of the State. I don't know the circumstances but I would like to have an "Average Joe" represent the average tax paying people of the state. I can't vote for Mike or Stephen because I live in East Woonsocket but I am going to vote for change.
Dave August 18, 2012 at 01:57 PM
I can't speak for them but i think the reasoning behind this was that these people would create jobs,well that didn't work out so well.Speaking for myself though,i'll take them over special interests any day of the week.They're the lesser of two evils,if you can digest that,JMHO.
Woonsocket Resident August 18, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I think people are ready for change. The people that have heald these positions for years have helped put us in this situation. Keep them around and your saying your happy with where we are. I'm not. I have lived in this city for my entire life and now have a family with children entering the school system. If i had the means i would move but being upside down on my home by close to 100k thats not really and easy option. change the elected officials and enact change. Keep what your got and you can't complain about it.
Marc Beauregard August 18, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Exactly Dave, it didn't work out so well. So why do they continue to support that idea of tax breaks for the rich?
Marc Beauregard August 18, 2012 at 02:31 PM
REp. Brien promotes because it takes the General Assembly off the hook. And don't forget be benefited from Central Falls going bankrupt. He got a job there from thje Judge. Hmm
Common Sense August 18, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Baldelli-Hunt is a millionaire as is Brien's daddy. They have absolutely nothing in common with the average Woonsocket taxpayer struggling to pay bills. They care about themselves and their ilk. That dog and pony show she put on at the end of the GA session was purely to Garner votes for Nov election. Hows that for special interest
Dave August 18, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Flawed mindset,i would think.Government shouldn't be in the business of creating jobs.Example:38 Studios.Offshoring is what's killing this country.I'm not defending them,just saying that there's plenty of greed out there and that includes unions who know how to buy votes.
Dave August 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Brien and Hunt are two people,unions are hundreds.Who's gonna take the most of your money?I would think that salaries,pensions and benefits would eat up a lot more.Everybody's got their hand out.Once again,JMHO.
Marc Beauregard August 18, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Dave I'm not a big fan of Unions either. But I'm voting for change. If anyone new gets elected and doesn't serve the taxpayer then we vote them out. That simple.
Down with Woonsocket's Richest Family! August 18, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Ahhh, does anyone seem to care about Brien's involvement with ALEC??? do a little research on ALEXEXPOSED.ORG..."Why would a legislator be interested in advancing cookie-cutter bills that are corporate give-aways for global firms located outside of their district? ALEC’s appeal rests largely on the fact that legislators receive an all-expenses-paid trip that provides many part-time legislators with vacations that they could not afford on their own, along with the opportunity to rub shoulders with wealthy captains of industry (major prospective out-of-state donors to their political campaigns). For a few hours of work on a task force and a couple of indoctrination sessions by ALEC experts, part-time legislators can bring the whole family to ALEC’s annual convention, work for a few hours, then stay in swank hotels, attend cool parties -- even strip clubs-- and raise funds for the campaign coffer, all heavily subsidized by the corporate till. In 2009, ALEC spent $251,873 on childcare so mom and dad could have fun." This Family has had it too easy for far too long. What have we truly gained with them at the helm???
Alreadysickof2012 August 20, 2012 at 02:30 AM
The ever so partially informed continue to spout their drivel without having to provide sources or facts. More ignorant posts from ignorant people. "My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.". ......Dummies
Wu Sao August 20, 2012 at 03:20 PM
@ alreadysick of2012, it doesn't get more ignorant than resorting to name calling when you disagree with what someone has to say.
John Ward Jr. August 20, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I think i'm looking for money in all the wrong places.....maybe i should ask the BB's to borrow 100 bucks,heck,maybe $1000.
John Ward Jr. August 20, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Hint:David,if i get the dough,i'm not paying 'em back.Don't tell them please,i'm politically connected!
Russell Archambault August 20, 2012 at 05:24 PM
jr. why dont you get a franchise job like the rest of us. theres an area that bottles are not being picked along side of road and dumpsters. East woonsocket is wide open, and nearby cumberland.Great opertunity for growth.
John Ward Jr. August 20, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I ran that one by my father,he said:"no son of mine is gonna do that".Then he reminded me that i still couldn't borrow the car.
la_mouffette September 05, 2012 at 01:40 AM
There's the additional problem that the wealthiest citizens are also the ones who can MOST easily pack up and cross state lines. A state-level tax in the smallest state in the union? It would be very easy (and money-wise) for a wealthy rhode islander to just move fifteen miles, and stop paying us altogether. The fear was that higher taxes on the wealthy would just drive them away, and the state's tax base would dwindle. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with that, I don't know if that would've happened. But it was a big chunk of the reasoning when this was debated in the legislature.
la_mouffette September 05, 2012 at 01:41 AM
That's a reasonable position-- provided you do not vote for our mayor or any of our city council next year. To vote out our current reps, vote IN Casey and Morin, and keep Leo and Mr. Ward, is absolutely BEGGING for more of the same. Do so, and you can expect little real change, and ever higher taxes.
la_mouffette September 05, 2012 at 01:45 AM
How is Baldelli-Hunt on disability? I've only ever heard that on patch.
Memere September 05, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Our current state reps have done absolutely nothing to help this city. It is time for them to go. We need a change.
DR September 05, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Memere I do not understand. What do think the reps should have done and why?


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