Democratic Representative-elect Alex Marszalkowski won the election to fill the seat left by retiring Republican Representative Karen MacBeth by five points in 2016. A 2012 graduate of Roger Williams Law School, Marszalkowski is a lifelong resident of Cumberland, and currently works as the a manager of a family farm in the area. Just 29-years-old, Marszalkowski focused his campaign around his deep and longstanding ties to the community, as well as a strong work ethic he claims was cultivated through his family’s farming heritage.
One of Marszalkowski’s key issues during the election was education. Marszalkowski focused particularly on student debt and also spoke extensively of the issue of recent graduates leaving the state to find better employment. For those who stay in Rhode Island, he says the debt cripples graduates and prevents them from investing further in the economy through major purchases like houses. He seeks to reduce this burden by providing student-loan assistance and lowering college tuition for state schools.
Marszalkowski also believes that state government has become full of career politicians and insiders who don’t have their constituents’ best interests at heart. He believes he can provide a fresh perspective and use his experience from a farming family to formulate better policies and find bipartisan areas of agreement.
During the campaign, Marszalkowski spoke out strongly against the state excise tax on cars, claiming cars are not luxuries but necessities. He has said that the tax forced many small businesses to register cars in other states to avoid the cost, creating more red tape for business owners.
Marszalkowski has also remained committed to conservation causes, especially those in Cumberland and the surrounding areas. He is a former member of Cumberland’s Conservation Commission and wants to support open spaces, environmental protections, and local farms.