Four candidates compete in primary for Senate District 23

Four candidates compete in primary for Senate District 23

GLOCESTER – Two Republican and two Democratic candidates for state senator in District 23 will vie for their party’s nomination in the state primary election this coming Wednesday, Sept. 12.

Three of those four candidates are from Burrillville, as a decision on the proposed Invenergy power plant looms large over a district that also includes parts of North Smithfield and Glocester.

Glocester Democrats will also vote on the state representative in District 47, representing Glocester and Burrillville, in the Wednesday primary.

With all four candidates starkly opposed to the plant, voters will turn to the candidates’ records, as well as their views on state issues like abortion, truck tolls and affordable health care, when deciding how to cast their vote.

Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters can check their voter registration and polling location and view a sample ballot online at .

Meet the candidates:


165 Lapham Farm Road, Pascoag

Party: Democrat

Age: 54

Years in community: 28 years

Employment: Managing member of Heitke Cook Antoch LLC

Education: Bachelor of arts degree from University of Michigan 1985; J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law 1987

Community Activities: Volunteer Lawyers Program; Bankruptcy Clinic; Earth Day cleanup volunteer; creator of holiday card contest for needy families of Burrillville; blood donor, regular charity marathon runner for UNICEF; Cops for Kids with Cancer

Public Service: Burrillville Democratic Town Committee member; Former moderator of the Nasonville Fire District; Burrillville Land Trust co-founder

Family: Married to Jo-Ann Heitke; three children, Chet, 26, Marshall, 24, and Elena, 22


665 Maureen Circle, Mapleville

Party: Democrat

Age: 66

Years in community: 35 years

Employment: Documentary filmmaker, contract work includes CVS, University of Pennsylvania, Coca-Cola, PBS, BBC, National Geographic and Brown University

Education: Bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture from University of Rhode Island; master’s degree in education from URI; two-year certificate in sustainability from Bryant University; currently seeking master of science degree in global environmental studies at Bryant University

Community Activities: Burrillville Conservation member; helped start Burrillville Farmers’ Market; soccer coach for Burrillville/Glocester Youth Soccer Association; indoor youth soccer coach at Habitat for Sports; Burrillville School Lunch Program Committee

Public Service: Burrillville Land Trust president; grassroots lobbyist at R.I. Statehouse; Rhode Island Land Trust Council president; Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone board member; organized grassroots campaign and testified against proposed Invenergy power plant in Burrillville; served on study panel regarding potential sale of Providence Water Supply Board and Scituate Reservoir to private developer

Family: Two children, Talia, 33, and Tyler, 31


901 Colwell Road, Harrisville

Party: Republican

Age: 52

Years in community: 28+ years

Employment: Currently facility director for the Brothers of the Sacred Heart retirement community in Pascoag; 32 years owning or managing building supply companies

Education: East Providence High School; bachelor’s of science degree in business administration from Providence College

Community Activities: Assistant Scoutmaster Troop 11, Harmony, 2011-2016; Burrillville Little League and girls’ softball coach 2003-2010; Burrillville High School Music Booster 2008-2015; Finance Council, St. Patrick Church 2003-2012; Eucharistic minister, St. Patrick Church 2007-present

Public Service: Burrillville Town Council president 2014-present; Burrillville Town Council member 2012-present; Burrillville Budget Board member 2011

Military: U.S. Naval Reserve 1984-1987

Family: Married to Wendy Pacheco; three children, John, Anna and Thomas


120 School St., North Smithfield

Party: Republican

Age: 37

Years in community: 3 years

Employment: Stay at home mom; former program assistant at Brown University

Education: East Providence High School; currently enrolled at Liberty University

Community Activities: Volunteer at North Smithfield Public Schools; Boys and Girls Club tutor; church volunteer

Public Service: Advocate for local issues at Statehouse

Family: Married to David de la Cruz; three children, David, 9, Jonathan, 7, and Benjamin 5