In September 2016, Ramon Perez, a 45-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, defeated Lisa Scorpio and Anthony DeFilippo to win the Democratic primary for the District 13 seat. Perez went on to win an uncontested general election. A ten-year resident of Rhode Island, Perez owns a taxi cab company; when he faced large increases in car taxes, he felt that his position was not well represented in state legislature. Soon after, Perez launched his political career with a series of failed campaigns for the General Assembly. With the backing of powerful House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Perez finally pulled a victory in the latest primary.
Perez hopes to cut the car tax by increasing those on cigarettes and alcohol. He also looks to expand police presence in low-income Providence neighborhoods. Crossing partisan lines, Perez hired Republican activist David Talan to run his campaign. Perez also built strong connections with Statehouse Democrats, running in an informal coalition with state Senator Frank Ciccone.
Beyond tax changes, Perez felt the biggest political issue in the 2016 state elections was political corruption. “Some elected people, instead of doing the work…get in to the state house for [their] own benefit,” he says in a questionnaire published by GoLocalProv, advocating for term limits. Perez also supports corporate tax cuts, hoping to help “companies to move back to the state.”