Meet the candidates for Senate District 23

Meet the candidates for Senate District 23

NORTH SMITHFIELD – Two Republican and two Democratic candidates for state Senate District 23 will try for their parties’ nomination in the state primary election next 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.

With all four candidates starkly opposed to the plant, voters will turn to the candidates’ records, as well as their views on state issues, to decide how to cast their vote.

The Senate 23 race is North Smithfield’s only contested primary election for a General Assembly seat after Democratic candidate Carol Frisk announced her intent to withdraw from the Senate 24 race (though her name will still appear on the ballot). North Smithfield voters will also encounter contested primary races for U.S. senator, U.S. representative, governor and lieutenant governor, along with uncontested races for secretary of state, attorney general, general treasurer, state senator in District 17 and state representative for District 48.

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:

Kevin Heitke

165 Lapham Farm Road, Pascoag

Party: Democrat

Age: 54

Years in community: 28

Employment: Managing member of Heitke Cook Antoch LLC

Education: Bachelor’s 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 cofounder

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

Paul A. Roselli

665 Maureen Circle, Mapleville

Party: Democrat

Age: 66

Years in community: 35

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

Education: Bachelor’s cience in agriculture from University of Rhode Island; master’s in education from URI; two-year certificate in sustainability from Bryant University; currently seeking master’s 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 Rhode Island 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

Jessica de la Cruz

120 School Street, North Smithfield

Party: Republican

Age: 37

Years in community: Three

Employment: Stay at home mom; rental property owner; 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

John F. Pacheco III

901 Colwell Road, Harrisville

Party: Republican

Age: 52

Years in community: 28-plus

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 in business administration from Providence College

Community Activities: Assistant scoutmaster Troop 11, Harmony, 2011-2016; Burrillville Little League and Girl’s Softball Coach 2003-2010; Burrillville High School music booster 2008-2015; Finance Council, St. Patrick’s Church 2003-2012; Eucharistic minister, St. Patrick’s 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