CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. — Bob Flanders announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate yesterday. Flanders launched his campaign at the historic Hemphill Mill building located at 127 Clay Street, Central Falls, in front of over 100 supporters, and hundreds of viewers online.
“The reason I’m doing this is, like many of you, I’m dissatisfied with the hyper-partisanship that we see down in Washington, DC, these days,” said Flanders. “We need problem-solvers.”
Unlike Sheldon Whitehouse, the ninth most partisan senator in the U.S. Senate, Flanders vows to work across the aisle on issues the Ocean State needs action on. Issues such as: creating jobs for Rhode Islanders, supporting local small businesses, lowering healthcare costs, securing the borders, and as a firm believer in the second amendment, protecting the right to bear arms.
“Enough of this partisan stuff where if one side proposes it the other side is opposed to it, and vice versa,” exclaimed Flanders. “It leads to nothing getting done.”
“And I have a bias for action and results, achievement oriented. Not empty rhetoric.”
Unlike the incumbent, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Flanders grew up in a humble, middle-class family, living paycheck to paycheck. He is the oldest of seven children. Neither of his parents graduated from college.
After raising her seven children, his mother worked in fast food restaurants, while his father, initially a union steward in a factory assembling planes for the U.S. military, was a salesman for food distributors.
He is inspired to fight for hard-working Rhode Island families as an effective problem solver, someone Rhode Islanders can count on to get things done while collaborating with elected officials from across the political spectrum.
“This campaign is going to be about a better tomorrow for our children and grandchildren. We want a place in Rhode island so our kids don’t have to leave the state to get a decent job and education.”
“It’s about a healthier, cleaner, more prosperous Rhode Island,” Flanders stated.
An excellent student-athlete in high school, Flanders was recruited by the Ivy League to play baseball and football; eventually, he chose to attend Brown University on a financial aid scholarship.
During his high school, college, and law school days, when he wasn’t studying or competing on the athletic field, Flanders worked in a series of manual labor jobs to help pay for his education: he was a garbage man, a dishwasher, a bagger in a mattress factory, a floor sweeper, a truck driver, a delivery man, and a landscaper, among others.
At Brown, he also quarterbacked the football team; set the Ivy League, Brown, and Yale Bowl records for the longest run from scrimmage; was elected to Phi Beta Kappa; tri-captained the baseball team, and was selected to an All-American baseball team. He was then drafted by the Detroit Tigers professional baseball team, for which he played in the minor leagues during the next three summers while attending Harvard Law School.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, Flanders chose to return to Rhode Island, to raise his family here, and to pursue his legal career. While serving as a partner in one of Rhode Island’s oldest and most prestigious law firms, Flanders got his start in public service when he was twice elected as a Town Councilman in his then hometown of Barrington.
He also served as a town solicitor, as an executive legal counsel to the governor, and as a special prosecutor for the Judicial Tenure and Discipline Commission. In 1996, after a brilliant career as an outstanding trial and appellate lawyer and after founding and leading his own small business (a litigation law firm) for 10 years, he became one of the first judges selected to Rhode Island’s highest court as a result of the new merit selection process that the voters had recently approved.
Over the course of eight and a half years as a Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme, he authored over 400 opinions, ranging from criminal to civil matters. After serving on the highest court in the state, Flanders resumed his private legal practice but also began working on behalf of the children of Rhode Island.
For four years he served as the Chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education, where he oversaw education policy, including the state’s basic education plan, and instituted a pilot program for pre-kindergarten education, among other path-breaking initiatives.
In 2011, the state government recognized his skills as an effective problem solver and appointed Flanders as the Receiver for the financially troubled City of Central Falls.
As the state-appointed Receiver, he led the city through a first-ever bankruptcy restructuring and reorganization process, which resulted in a consensual plan of debt adjustment and recovery for the city that eliminated a six million dollar annual operating deficit, achieved a balanced budget, and saved Central Falls and its taxpayers over $30 million over the next five years.
Throughout his career, in addition to his long record of public service, he has served as a member of numerous charitable boards of directors and commissions, including the Care New England Hospital system, the Brown Leadership Advisory Council, the Providence Performing Arts Center, the Veterans Memorial Auditorium Foundation, and College Unbound, as well his service as the Vice Chairman of the Women & Infants Hospital board, and Chairman of the Greater Providence YMCA.
Flanders, who married his wife, Ann Flanders, when she was 19 and he was 21, has been happily married for 46 years. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.
For more information please visit: www.FlandersForSenate.com.