by ABC6 Chief Political reporter Mark Curtis
The Rhode Island Senate taking the oath of office in a colorful ceremony. The festivities aside, even the newest lawmakers know that fixing Rhode Island's dismal economy in the number one issue.
State Sen. Billy Conley (D-RI) said, "That's what we need to focus on – job creation. I think there are a lot of ways to focus on job creation I think we need to coordinate our efforts."
But social issues are here, too, including a bill to legalize gay marriage. While the Senate President opposes same–sex marriage, she will allow the vote to occur.
State Sen. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-RI) said, "I anticipate it will come to a vote in the committee and ultimately I anticipate they'll be a debate, but it will be after the House acts."
ABC6 Chief Political reporter Mark Curtis said, "One of the biggest questions this year is whether Republicans have any clout. As of now the GOP only has 11 members in the entire General Assembly."
Despite their small numbers, republicans will propose cutting or eliminating the state sales tax to help stimulate the economy.
State Rep. Doreen Costa (R-RI) said, "We looking into how it's working for New Hampshire and how it's affecting the economy out there. Of course, it's booming as we all know out there."
It will be a busy year, and some were just soaking up the first day pageantry. Including new lawmaker who grew up near the state house.
State Rep. Anthony Giarrusso (R-RI) said "My first job was a newspaper boy. I delivered the Evening–Bulletin. And my customer was J. Joseph Garrahy, when he was the Lieutenant Governor."
But now it's down to business, including how to fix Rhode Island's $69 million dollar budget deficit.