Janice Falconer said her inspiration is simple – she wants to be “that voice and that connection” between House District 13 residents and the State House.
Falconer – the founder of Impact Rhode Island and a self-employed business manager for the past 17 years – is one of three candidates vying for the seat in the Democratic primary, joining former Rep. Ramon Perez and incumbent Mario Mendez in the field.
“One of the issues that I am concerned about is the tax increases,” Falconer said during an interview with the Sun Rise last Friday. “I’m concerned about our elderly population. I’m concerned about, are they going to be able to afford the increases that are going to be happening based on the bonds that we passed recently? I’m also concerned about our children. I live on the Providence-Johnston line, and so I now have a 4-year-old foster child and I’m concerned about the quality of his education. What’s his future going to be like?”
Falconer’s Impact RI is trying to help clear up that future. According to its website, Impact RI’s purpose is to “provide access to education, coaching, mental health and training courses to under privileged RI residents” in the hopes of creating “self sufficiency and increased economic impact on our neighborhoods.”
Some of the programs offered include Homeless to Homeownership, which offers financial literacy, real estate and homeownership training, as well as one-on-one consulting sessions. Other Impact RI training courses include home remodeling and construction, property management and small business finance. More information can be found at impactri.org.
“I’m a homeowner, an educator, I am also an advocate for change and I’m an advocate for the community to ensure that the community is thriving,” Falconer said. “That’s the reason why I’m running for District 13, because I want to be able to help vote on laws that are going to benefit the community.”
Falconer didn’t have a comment on how she would evaluate either Mendez or Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello’s record in office, rather focusing on the legislative initiatives she would tackle if elected to the seat.
“I’m old enough to have some experience about how the laws that are being passed can affect people in the community,” Falconer said. “Some of the laws that are being passed I’m being directly affected by, and that was another motivation for me to run.”
She said she already has three bills in mind she would like to bring to the floor, but demurred when asked to elaborate on their contents further. She did say, though, that they deal separately with education, tax reform and health care.
“These are my ideas, and if I give them up too soon, they won’t be my ideas anymore,” Falconer said. “I want to tell you, but at the same time I have to be a little reserved, only because I have to preserve myself for where I’m going. We have to understand where we’re going, right? The nature of the situation that I’m in right now, I don’t want to give anything away right now.”
Falconer had a run-in last week with an issue she said is “common in Rhode Island.” She posted a short video to her Facebook account, tagging the Sun Rise in a comment, alleging that a sign of hers had been cut down and left in the grass.
Falconer called the action “petty” and urged community representatives to “uplift each other.”
“I just think that that’s not the type of energy that this community needs and I think that we need more of a positive outlook, positive energy. I think that we as candidates should do better, we should represent the community better and be more civil with each other, have more respect for each other and littering – basically the person, whoever did it, they littered,” Falconer said. “They threw the sign on the ground. So that’s not good either.”
Falconer said District 13’s people and personalities make it unique among other areas of the state, with the combination of Johnston and Providence creating “an area and environment of diversity.”
“I just love District 13,” Falconer said. “I didn’t realize how big it was until recently, and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ Driving through certain parts of Johnston, I’ve been looking for a house in that area and then, ‘OK, good, this is a part of my district. So I can move here.’ I think it’s great.”