Coventry, R.I.- Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas Raptakis, who has served in the Rhode Island General Assembly for sixteen years, announced last week that he will run for Secretary of State. If elected, Raptakis, who was the first Greek-American State Representative and State Senator in Rhode Island, would become Rhode Island’s first Greek-American general officer.
In Rhode Island, the Secretary of State is responsible for maintaining the state’s legislative and historic records, conducting elections, and handling corporate filings from all businesses in the state. In launching his campaign, Raptakis delivered a broad criticism of the legislature’s failure to comply with the state’s Open Meetings Law, effectively shutting citizens out of the decision-making process and resulting in a crisis which has left the state with chronic budget deficits, high unemployment, and a terrible business climate.
“Rhode Islanders have seen what happens when state government puts the interests of the political insiders ahead of the public interest,” said Raptakis. “When the work of government is conducted behind closed doors, decisions are left in the hands of a few and the result is bad public policy. I am running for Secretary of State to be a watchdog for our citizens and make sure our state government is open, honest and accountable.”
Raptakis has been a strong voice on a range of Hellenic issues during his time in the Rhode Island legislature including:
• promoting a resolution to the division of Cyprus;
• recognizing the Hellenic roots of Macedonia;
• pushing for Greece’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver program;
• introducing a Pontian genocide resolution;
• working to arrange the donation of Hellas Liberty to Greece for use as a floating maritime museum; and
• educating members of Congress on issues of concern to Greece.
“Over the years, I’ve been proud to be a strong voice for my constituents while also working to bring attention to issues that matter to the Greek community,” said Raptakis. “I intend to build on that record of accomplishment as Secretary of State by using the platform that comes from being one of the state’s five general officers to be an even more effective leader.”