Evan P. Shanley
190 Viceroy Road
Warwick, Rhode Island
I’m writing to let you know that, after completing my first term as State Representative, I’m a candidate for reelection to represent Warwick District 24.
My announcement should surprise no one who knows me or knows my family. There is much we’ve accomplished in two short years, but much more to be done, and I don’t believe in leaving a job unfinished.
When I first became a candidate in 2016, I felt our government was failing us. The school system was in trouble. The economy was stagnant and Rhode Island had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. I knew I had to get involved.
Our family has called Warwick home for over sixty years. My grandfather, Joseph Shanley, moved to our town as a young boy in the 1930s. He served as a bombardier during World War II and went to Providence College on the GI bill. Grandpa Joe founded Duffy & Shanley, a local advertising agency that still exists today. My grandmother, Elaine, worked as a librarian at Providence College for 25 years. They started their family on Flagg Street, then moved to Superior Street, and spent their golden years on Hedgerow Drive.
My roots are in this community. My mother, Mary Madden, was President of the Trudeau Center. My father, Paul Shanley, worked as a Warwick police officer for 26 years. My uncle, Father Brian Shanley, attended Providence College and became its President in 2005. I could devote an entire letter to the accomplishments of my parents, uncles, aunts, and siblings who grew up in Warwick and returned home to give back to the community.
I grew up on Sturbridge Drive, where my father, step-mother, and sister still live today. I went to school here in Warwick – from Cedar Hill Elementary School, to Winman Junior High, to Toll Gate High School. I attended Providence College, where I worked my way through school tutoring and selling sneakers at Foot Locker. At PC, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer because I wanted to be an advocate for people who work hard and play by the rules. In 2012, I graduated from Catholic University School of Law, in Washington, D.C. and passed the Rhode Island Bar Exam.
My experience growing up in a working-class family in Warwick has firmly shaped my commitment to ensuring that all Rhode Islanders have an opportunity to stay and work in Rhode Island, and that Warwick continues to be a great place to raise a family.
By the grace of God, I was born into a family that values a good education, hard work, community service, empathy and selflessness. These are the values that have guided me. I want to provide my family with the opportunities that my parents provided for me, my brothers and sisters.
Coming home to Warwick after Law School was the best decision I ever made, because in 2015 I met my wife, Meredith (Garrity) Shanley. Meredith teaches children with special needs at Winman Junior High.
The biggest news from our family, of course, is that Meredith and I are new parents of Maxwell Tyler Shanley, age 1 ½. This spring, his favorite place to visit is the Impossible Dream playground, where my parents used to take us as kids. To everyone who said our life would change, you were right! Nothing could be better. Balancing the responsibility of new parenthood with the time commitments of elected life have been challenging, but we’ve faced these challenges as a family.
It’s also true that becoming a parent makes you focus on the next generation. What kind of education are we providing? How clean are our beaches and parks? How strong is our economy? How safe is our community?
As a new State Representative, I decided I wouldn’t go along to get along. The traditional values that I learned from my family guided my votes.
Some elected officials take voters for granted. I don’t and I never will. I’ve made it a point to stay connected with voters. I walk the District and knock on doors (sometimes with Maxwell!) to listen and learn what’s on your mind. Each year I email and distribute a Voter Survey and get hundreds of responses. My personal email and cell phone number are published and available – they’re at the bottom of this letter – to make sure I’m accessible.
And I make sure Warwick voters are heard. This year we all learned about a resident who abused his pets by leaving them outside in the cold. We immediately passed legislation to protect animals from being subjected to inhumane conditions. We’re also fighting to provide a living wage to the hardworking, dedicated Direct Support Professionals at the Trudeau Center and elsewhere.
Education changed my life and made me a fierce advocate for high quality public education. I believe our schools must have the resources necessary to provide students with every opportunity for success. That’s why I’m especially proud we obtained millions of dollars in additional funding for Warwick Public Schools, and I strongly support the plan to fund maintenance and construction of modern, high-performing schools.
I’m proud to say that I’ve represented Warwick without falling for the political bickering that gets in the way of meaningful results. I helped form a bipartisan working group of three Democrats and two Republicans who put principles over party to get things done. We support what’s best for Rhode Island. That means line item veto, an Inspector General to root out financial waste, transparency and accountability for our 911 system and an end to “lunch shaming” our children.
Our economy is improving. In the past two years, we’ve added thousands of jobs and the unemployment rate has been cut by 1/3. That’s real change. Our business climate is improving, but we need to do more to help Rhode Island businesses grow and expand educational opportunities so our children have the choice to stay near home when they enter the job market.
I am proud to have been part of passing the phase out of the car tax and helping low wage workers by raising the minimum wage two years in a row.
I’ve heard from many Warwick families about the need to implement common sense gun safety measures. Everyone I speakto can’t imagine the horror experienced by parents in Parkland, Santa Fe or Sandy Hook. We can’t and won’t turn our schools into prisons, but we can make common sense changes to keep firearms away from people who shouldn’t have them. I was proud to support legislation to protect victims of domestic violence from gun violence. This year we passed ‘Red Flag’ legislation to keep guns out of the hands of mentally disturbed individuals, and ‘bump stock’ legislation to stop quasi-automatic weapons. We need to do more to make our schools safer and we will.
We need to do more for our seniors. I’m sad to say that in 2016, we lost our grandmother, Ethel Monahan, who lived on Long Street until she passed. Living in her own home was a blessing for her. She could not have stayed at home without the support of visiting nurses and therapists provided by the VA. We need to keep home ownership affordable for seniors on fixed incomes and keep seniors active and involved in the community. I’m supporting increased funding for senior centers and I’ve championed increasing wages for frontline caregivers who care for nursing home residents, and seniors who receive care at home. I’m also advocating for changes to our system that will allow seniors to stay in their homes and choose their home care providers, while saving money for taxpayers.
I am running for election to be a voice for seniors and working families – a voice for people who want government to work for all of us, not just for insiders who spend decades in office representing themselves.
Some say that the problems we face are insurmountable – our schools cannot be fixed, our economy cannot be revitalized, our government cannot be made responsive to folks like us. I disagree. I believe that we can face these challenges and overcome them. In just two short years, we’ve made great strides. I know we can do more.
I am running for State Representative because I’m committed to Warwick and working hard to make our community a better place to live and raise a family. I want to make sure that we have a stronger economy, safe neighborhoods, high performing and safe schools, and clean water, parks and beaches – the kind of real, positive change that our neighborhood deserves.
I ask for your consideration and I look forward to asking you for your vote for State Representative in our District. Thank you.