Energy is major concern in Rhode Island

Lutz says the next administration should help low-income residents heat and weatherize their homes. "Energy prices are … a driving reason why people are unable to pay their mortgages," she says.

Lutz says, "Subsidizing fossil fuels or nuclear is just going to take money from the more cost-effective long-term solutions."

Miriam Goldstein disagrees.

"We have to do drilling," says Goldstein, a retiree who says the United States must become more self-sufficient. "If there was another way, fine, but if we're desperate, and we are, we have to."

Goldstein of Narragansett doesn't feel the pinch of rising gas prices because she rarely drives. But she worries about others. "I feel very sorry for young families," says Goldstein, who is not enthusiastic about either presidential nominee. "My son comes to see me on the weekend, and he doesn't say anything, but it hurts me. … It destroys their budget."

Joe Caporelli, 42, likes both candidates talking about creating "green" industries and jobs.

"They want a new energy-based economy, which makes a lot of sense," says Caporelli, a cabinetmaker who lives in Smithfield. "We need nuclear, too. There's no smoke, it's odorless, and you get a lot of jobs."

Americans finding less toxic ways to live, travel and work go beyond the president, he says.

"I've got a small house, and I don't plan on getting a bigger one," says Caporelli, who burns the wood scraps from his business to heat his home. "People should live simpler."

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