Agnoli grew up in Cranston. He’s 32, and recently bought a house near his childhood home. He wants to see the city flourish.  

“I like seeing a lot of businesses coming to Cranston and you see a lot of younger people moving to Cranston,” Agnoli said. “And starting families and they want to be part of the Cranston success. That's pretty much why I want to stay involved.”

And for Agnoli, staying involved means politics. But in this moment, where the Presidential race has been framed as a fight for the soul of the nation, Agnoli is focused on the very granular issues of Cranston residents that rarely make headlines.

“You know, I have friends. They'll say, oh, did you hear what's going on in Washington, D.C.? I mean, I'm educated. But I don't follow it as much as local,” Agnoli said. “I just feel like local politics. It affects you on the day to day life. You know, property taxes, streets, you know, community services, accessibility. I just feel like on a day to day basis that affects you more than what's on the federal level. Yeah. And that's my point of view.”

When it comes to politics, Agnoli believes there’s greater opportunity to make meaningful change by focusing on local concerns: street repairs, winter snow removal, and property taxes. Like others, he’s worried that the cost of living has outpaced residents, and he thinks that’s a problem state-wide.

“Rhode Island likes to spend, spend and tax and tax and tax,” Agnoli said. “And one of my good friends recently in the last two years moved to Florida, [a] life-long Rhode Islander. They were just sick of being taxed.” 

It’s a pretty standard Republican concern: lowering taxes. Agnoli also wants the city and state to invest in education, including infrastructure. Cranston residents are voting on a bond this election for more than $100-million dollars in local school improvements, with some of that money to be reimbursed by the state.

“We should spend more money in education, but you may have to slim down or cut other programs,” Agnoli said. “I mean, you have to go down the budget and say what's nice to have and what's a necessity."

Agnoli thinks this approach to budgets will be necessary as the state tries to rebuild the economy back after the pandemic. For Agnoli, Republican candidates, in local and legislative races will be the one who will bring the state economy back carefully. 

Agnoli volunteered for Allan Fung, the longtime Republican mayor of Cranston during his 2014 bid for governor and his 2018 reelection campaign. Now he’s volunteering for Barbara-Ann Fenton Fung in the state’s highest profile legislative race this year against House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. 

He said he’s soured on the tenor of national politics, and avoids wading into national issues. As a fiscal conservative, he does have apprehensions about Joe Biden.

“I think Joe Biden will raise taxes,” Agnoli said. “I think it's going to cost us more money with him being in office. So, you know, I do have to weigh that in, because I am a conservative. I do look, in my budget like anybody else. And if it's going to cost me more coming out of my pocket, that's also another consideration I have to make.”

Agnoli said he did vote for Donald Trump in 2016, after voting for former Ohio Governor John Kasich in the primary. And he feels he benefited directly from Trump, whose tax cut he said allowed his employer to give workers a bonus. He also credits the President with a strong economy before the global pandemic. But it is the President’s handling of COVID-19 that gives him pause now. 

“There is another spike coming,” Agnoli said. “And he’s just kind of blowing it off and not taking it serious. Covid is still here. So if he's not taking it serious, then I may have to reevaluate who I'm voting for.”

Agnoli said he’s not sure who he’ll vote for on November 3rd. He’s still got a few more days to decide.