When neighbors, friends and family ask me why I am running for the U.S. Senate, my answer is simple.
As Nelson Mandela said: “There is no passion to be found playing small; in settling for a life that is less impactful than the one you are capable of leading.”
I have spent my entire professional life as a problem-solver. And I will be a problem-solver in Washington D.C. for the state of Rhode Island, which has truly given so much to me since I first came here 50 years ago.
I want to create a better tomorrow; I want to leave a better future for our children and grandchildren. I believe Rhode Island needs leaders who can bring people together and implement common sense solutions to the chaos in Washington D.C. Unlike Sheldon Whitehouse and other career politicians, I will put country and state above party. And unlike these career politicians, I will work tirelessly to do what is best for working Rhode Island families and small businesses.
As someone who graduated from Brown University, raised my family here, and worked throughout the state in cities like Central Falls and Providence, I believe that one person can make a difference. Now, more than ever, I want to be a person that makes a positive difference for Rhode Islanders, notwithstanding the Washington, D.C. bomb throwers and hyper-partisans on both sides of the political spectrum.
Rhode Islanders need someone who is more focused on doing what is helpful for working families in the ocean state.
I, like all of you, am not a career politician. I grew up as the oldest of seven children. My brother, five sisters, and I grew up in a small cape with one bathroom.
Neither of my parents graduated from college. My father began his working life as a union steward in a factory that assembled planes for the military. My mother worked in fast food restaurants when she wasn’t raising her seven children. My parents lived paycheck to paycheck, and worked hard to make ends meet.
Somehow my parents scraped enough money together to send me to a Catholic high school. There, I excelled in academics and sports and was fortunate enough to be recruited by Brown University to play football and baseball. I was the quarterback on the football team, and a tri co-captain of the baseball team – learning to be a team player and effective leader.
To earn money for my expenses during my school days, I worked many manual labor jobs, including as a garbage man, a bagger at a mattress factory, a floor sweeper, a grass cutter, a deliveryman, and a food server in a cafeteria. I know first-hand what’s it like to put in a hard day’s work, and earn money by the sweat of one's brow. I worked hard and studied even harder. This is a work ethic I have practiced throughout my career.
Whether collaborating with retirees and union workers on a consensual debt adjustment plan in Central Falls, deciding cases as a Justice on the Rhode Island Supreme Court, or making payroll for my small law firm business, I have worked hard every day to solve problems and help Rhode Islanders.
I have worked for Republicans, Independents, and Democrats. As a U.S. Senator, I will focus on bipartisan problem solving.
I am someone who is going to call it like I see it. In other words, I am going to call balls and strikes.
Whether it’s tax reform, healthcare, border security, education, or the opioid crisis, I will be solution-oriented.
Right now, solving problems and a commitment to bipartisanship is nothing more than a talking point, often preached but rarely practiced. That will change if I’m elected as your next U.S. Senator.
A former member of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, who chose to return to private practice and was later appointed receiver for Central Falls, Flanders announced his candidacy for the U. S. Senate as a Republican last week. Rep. Robert Nardolillo of Coventry has also declared as a Republican for the position now held by Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat.