Nichols challenges Chippendale for House District 40 seat

Nichols challenges Chippendale for House District 40 seat

Democrat Linda Nichols, left, challenges incumbent Republican Mike Chippendale.

GLOCESTER – In the House of Representatives District 40 race, incumbent Republican Mike Chippendale is running for his sixth two-year term at the Statehouse, defending his seat against Democrat Linda Nichols.

Representing Foster, Glocester and a portion of western Coventry, Chippendale said he is running for re-election to continue the work he’s started on the House Oversight Committee.

Chippendale, 51, of 124A Johnson Road in Foster, said his experience as the longest-serving member on the committee will be invaluable during the upcoming budget season.

He said there are many issues, including improvements to the Department of Children, Youth and Families, nursing homes, public education and the state budget, that he is not finished with yet.

“I have not accomplished everything that’s in the works. We have all these issues, especially under these circumstances, where someone hit the pause button,” he said.

He said the committee is focused on improvements to DCYF. Understaffing paired with distancing requirements create a “really dire situation” he said he hopes to address.

Nichols, 62 of 493 Durfee Hill Road in Glocester, is a past candidate who previously ran for Glocester Town Council and School Committee, and is hoping this year will mark her first win. A 20-year resident of Glocester, she said she volunteers frequently in town and understands how government runs.

Nichols said she loves Glocester and wants to see it be better.

Though running as a Democrat, she said it is the person and ideas behind the title that count. She said it is time that politicians work together and stop party politics.

“If we don’t stop bickering between each other, nothing is going to get done for the people,” she said.

Nichols said she decided to run for Town Council after watching her mother die in a nursing home, and wanting to bring reform to senior care. Though she did not consider her mother’s care to be negligence, she said care workers are overwhelmed and need help.

“It’s not about us politicians, it’s about the people,” she said.

Nichols said affordable housing is a right, not a privilege. She said she hopes to develop more housing in Rhode Island, and bring businesses into District 40 to keep taxes down.

Chippendale said he is anxious to return to the Statehouse to work on the budget, criticizing the legislative body for not holding sessions.

Like Nichols, he said he is invested in senior living. He said he’s listened to witnesses and advocacy groups who oversee nursing homes and is aware of the uneven number of deaths in the homes due to COVID-19 as opposed to the general population. He said seniors’ health is adversely affected by isolation measures to ensure safety.

Chippendale said he and fellow legislators proposed a senior patient advocacy act to allow family members or another advocate for patients to create transparency and take robust role in the care of loved ones.