Lancia seeks to ‘retire’ Langevin

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 6:00pm
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When Bob Lancia was in the Rhode Island General Assembly, he was a member of a group that was dubbed “The Gang of Five.” This was a group of representatives from across the political spectrum that worked toward common goals.

“We got stuff done,” said Lancia. “You need to reach across the aisles.”

Lancia, a Republican, wants to bring his abilities to do that to the U.S. House of Representatives, and it’s one of the reasons why he is running for the Rhode Island Second Congressional District seat that Democrat Jim Langevin now holds. Lancia represented the city of Cranston in the General Assembly for four years. He has been a Navy chaplain who served all over the world, worked in state government in the Division of Taxation and is currently an elementary school substitute teacher.

His primary goal, Lancia said, is first to “retire” Langevin at the polls and to straighten out the country’s finances. He would also propose term limits for members of both the House and the Senate and look at the efficacy of some federal agencies, such as the Department of Education.

“We’re in a mess, financially,” said Lancia, 66, during an interview at The Block Island Times’ office. “Overspending is out of control.” He said the current situation reminded him of “post-war Germany when you were carrying money around in a wheelbarrow.”

In terms of spending, Lancia said that President Trump and Democrat Presidential nominee Joe Biden “are both suggesting massive spending programs. You can’t go down this road.” He said, “the President promised he was going to attack the deficit and the budget and he hasn’t. That has been very disappointing to me.”

He is a fan of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s Penny Plan. He said if you take just one penny from each federal budget, the national debt could be paid off in five years. In another five years, by doing the same thing, Lancia said you would have a surplus of $1 trillion.

Lancia said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not only cost the Treasury more than $6 trillion, but U.S. “policies have destabilized the Middle East,” he said.

That said, if he gets elected, Lancia said the “first thing I would do is put in a bill for term limits. Members of the House would be limited to two four-year terms, and Senators would be capped at two six-year terms. He said that those politicians who spend decades in Washington have “people feeling powerless.”

As for trimming back the size and expense of the federal government, Lancia said “we have departments we don’t need. A lot of people wonder what our Department of Education does. We need to have an intelligent conversation about levels of funding and the number of people involved.”

He said our “education system is broken. There’s no two ways about that.” Lancia supports an idea called an Education Savings Account for students, which would allow them to spend money in individual areas of interest, such as on music or language lessons. He also said there needs to be more focus on technical training. “We need more of that,” he said. “More vocational job opportunities.”

When asked about how he would manage and protect the environment, a subject that often gets overshadowed by discussions about the economy and jobs, Lancia said “we definitely need to focus on the environment. We see what’s going on. Nobody can deny that, but it has to be done well, and done in an incremental way.”

As for his opponent, Rep. Langevin, Lancia was critical of Langevin’s record on cybersecurity. “If he is the cyber guy, then why are we having all these issues? What have you done? He’s not done enough.”

The two campaigns are also working on setting a date for a debate.

He knows that Langevin, who is running for his 11th term, wins by large margins in each election. Lancia said he’s looking to flip 25,000 votes in the district to do just that. Then he said he wants to throw his opponent a “retirement party.”

The election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3.