Ed Pacheco is one of several Democrats running for Congress in Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District following Jim Langevin’s retirement. Pacheco represented District 47 in the General Assembly, chaired the state’s Democratic Party and most recently served as Interim Executive Director of RIC’s External Relations and Communications.
“Today, many families throughout the district are facing many challenges and struggles that we find ourselves in. And I’m ready to stand up on their behalf because we need a fighter in Washington,” Pacheco said in an episode of Ray-ality TV.
“Someone [who] understands what each and every Rhode Islander in the Second Congressional District is going through. And that when I get to Washington, if I can just make their lives just a little bit easier, that will be making a difference, and that’s not a cliche for me. I’ll fight on their behalf each and every day that I’m in Washington.”
A few of the key issues Pacheco says he plans to address in Congress revolve around education and the economy.
“Priority number one for me is education. When I was growing up, my mother taught me the importance of a good public education and of course, the value of hard work. And I was fortunate to be able to pick myself up by my bootstraps because of my community and certainly the support that I had from my mother as a single parent. Not everyone has bootstraps to be picked up by. And I want to make sure that they have access to a good education, no matter where they are [or] what zip code they hail from. Because that fundamentally is one of the most important investments that we can make in Americans and certainly Rhode Islanders,” said Pacheco.
He added, “Specifically one of the things that I want to focus on is universal pre-k. Things such as loan forgiveness for students that have graduated from college, that are facing financial debt. Additionally, I think one of the things we certainly have to look at, [and] I want to credit President Marc Parlange of URI for, [is] discussing the importance of the blue and green economy.”
President Biden’s Build Back Better plan will certainly be a topic of discussion in the midterm election. Pacheco says, “If elected to Congress, I will be voting for that plan.” Another key piece of legislation on the Democrats’ agenda is passing a voting rights bill.
In regard to legislation related to voting rights, “I would vote to support any effort to protect Americans’ right to vote. Rhode Island is doing it right. We have the ability to have mail ballots [and] early voting at Town Halls throughout the state. I want to credit Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea for the work she has done. That has to be made for Americans all throughout the country,” says Pacheco.
Voter ID laws come up in the dialogue of election-related legislation. Pacheco said, “I think it’s important that if we’re going to have voter ID laws in place, that we have to make IDs available to each and every resident throughout the state. And that needs to be the case throughout the country. In the case of Rhode Island, we have voter ID. But in this instance, we’ve made every effort to make free IDs available to those that need them. And certainly that would be an effort that I would support on a national level.”
Two issues Congressional Democrats spent time focusing on this session are statehood for Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico and packing the Supreme Court. Pacheco supports statehood for Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. As for packing the Supreme Court or adding more justices, “I would be in favor of the opportunity to debate that issue. But it’s not a particular issue that I’m ready to take a position on at this time,” he said.
The control of the House of Representatives is being closely watched nationwide and in Rhode Island. Democrats would have to vote for the House Minority Leader to lead the caucus if the House flips to the Republicans in 2022. Pacheco said he would vote for a Democrat to become Speaker if elected to Congress.
After being asked if he would support Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) if she seeks another term as Speaker of the House or House Minority Leader, he said, “If Speaker Pelosi is up for consideration — she’s one of the smartest politicians that has ever served in Washington D.C. She’s been a stalwart on behalf of the Democratic Party and certainly would be deserving of a vote. So I would certainly support her.”
Additionally, Pacheco and I spoke about non-political topics such as him being a fan of professional wrestling and what he thinks Rhode Island is best known for.