Tony Schiavi is a longtime Harwich resident, retired from a 30-year career in the U.S. Air Force, where he achieved the rank of brigadier general. He was the last commander of the Air Force fighter wing stationed at Otis Air Force Base before it was downsized by the federal base closure commission, and the first commander of the Air Force intelligence wing now stationed there.

He is also a 20-year veteran of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

After his retirement, he served as the appointed town manager and police commissioner for the town of Ashland.

He defeated one challenger to win the Republican nomination in the race for the state senate district which covers the middle and lower Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

“I kind of knew in my life plan that public service was where I wanted to commit my time and energy and experience,” Mr. Schiavi said in a recent telephone interview. “Running for public office was always part of that plan.”

He cites his military experience overseeing the transformation of Otis Air Force Base to what is now known as Joint Base Cape Cod, as one of his qualifications for elected office.

“When the economy really started to turn was right at the same time as the base closure at Otis. I took over command in 2000, worked really hard to save more than a thousand jobs and protect $330 million in economic impact to the Cape,” he said.

Mr. Schiavi said his military and municipal experience gave him a chance to work with state officials on veterans issues and security, in a nonpartisan way.

“It wasn’t based on parties,” he said. “I really got to see firsthand how you interact with them, and how you can make things happen inside the building up there. My many years of working with governors and U.S. senators and state senators, the Cape delegation, I think is going to provide me with a great skill set.”

He rates the opioid addiction crisis as a priority, if elected.

“We need leadership in this area, bipartisan leadership,” Mr. Schiavi said. “The governor filed landmark legislation this spring. It’s a great first step. I’ve talked about filing legislation to expand health care coverage from 14 days to 30 days, understanding that’s probably not sufficient, but moving in the right direction.”

Mr. Schiavi said he would like to increase the number of treatment beds. He wants to expand a program in Barnstable that provides the opiate-blocking drug Vivitrol to inmates convicted of drug offenses when they are released from jail. He also advocates strengthening laws to crack down on traffickers.

He counts jobs, housing and infrastructure as other legislative priorities.

“You have to create jobs, and if you don’t have the housing for those who will take those jobs, it doesn’t work. You can create housing that’s affordable and if there aren’t enough jobs for people take and fill those units, that doesn’t work either. I think the Cape is ripe for a diversity in its economy. A lot of people think we can’t create innovative economies on the Cape. I disagree with that, I think you absolutely can. I would work to look at ways of getting some companies down here. We have to have the infrastructure for it thought, so that may take some public investment.”

Mr. Schiavi said his public service philosophy is not to direct local communities on solving problems, but to work with them to determine how they want to approach issues. “For me it’s really to sit down with the folks on Martha’s Vineyard, the residents, the boards of selectmen, town administrators,” he said. “I don’t have the corner on good ideas, but what I do offer is when people do have good ideas, we can quickly vet those out and try to put those ideas to work. Nobody knows Martha’s Vineyard better than the people on Martha’s Vineyard. I bring the right skill sets to help improve the quality of life for everybody on the Cape and Islands. Public service is in my DNA.”