2016-10-13 / Election News


Carson Has Proved Ineffective

To the Editor:

My letter is to add my experience with Rep. Lauren Carson and say why she should not be re-elected to the House District 75 seat.

I first contacted Carson near the end of July 2016 prior to the Folk and Jazz festivals here in Newport. I sent her an e-mail asking her to get the grass on both Farewell Street and Memorial Boulevard, that the state cares for, cut as it looked like an overgrown lot. I have done this before with Rep. Peter Martin and he always took care of it within days of my request, so when I received an e-mail from her I thought it was all set. Unfortunately that was not the case. She wrote that she was very busy and that the state Department of Transportation ignores all her requests. She did, however, include the name, email address and phone numbers for the man in charge for me to either call or write to get something done. So I did continue by calling Mr. Arthur Bovis of RIDOT. He was very nice, as I explained that these two weekends were the biggest tourist draws of the year and our “front doors” were ugly. He took care of the problem the next day.

It seems that Carson continues to only represent herself as a paid employee of an environmental company, where she was a paid lobbyist, giving her full access to all of our politicians to push her causes. She has voted 99.2 percent of the time with the House leadership. I disagree with myself more than that; she is well trained.

She continues to flip her position on the 38 Studios mess and when given the chance to speak up she hid behind the speaker. What a good soldier.

She is a member of the Tourism Committee and I have been told has never asked Evan Smith, Trudy Coxe or the folks at Viking Tours what we need in Newport to support their efforts. They would have been the first I would call. She did support the $5 million budgeted for the project producing a video of Iceland and the wonderful slogan and logo “Cooler & Warmer.” Good job, Lauren…more money wasted.

Carson benefits from a state salary of $15,000 per year and medical coverage from our taxes, yet all she does is hold meetings attended by the same select few of her followers. She is the “Queen of Meetings” and does nothing after holding them. We deserve more.

She claims DOT ignores her requests but all you need to know is she insists on calling the two main roads in District 75 as Memorial DRIVE and The Avenue of the Americas Cup. I have corrected her four times but she continues, maybe the state DOT are still looking for them. This shows me that she really does not care about our district and maybe we should not care about her.

I am not sure if Independent Mike Smith will be any better, but I do know he cannot be any worse.

Jack Milburn

Ruggiero Bad for Small Business

To the Editor:

How can the chair of the House Small Business Committee have a voting record that has consistently gone against the interests of small businesses? As the Republican candidate for the District 74 seat representing Jamestown and Middletown in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, I am troubled by Rep. Deb Ruggiero’s small business voting record from the National Federation for Independent Businesses, which is Rhode Island’s largest small business organization.

The organization’s 2015-2016 analysis that looks at legislators’ roll call votes on key small business issues aims to help voters evaluate “your legislator’s attitudes toward small business.” My opponent got a dismal 50 percent rating from the NFIB two years in a row – in both the 2013-14 and 2015-16 legislative sessions.

It boggles the mind that my opponent would be tapped by the Speaker to lead the Small Business Committee when her record shows that she has been on the wrong side of legislation that can make or break Rhode Island’s small businesses. Instead of voting in the interest of small businesses, she is working against them.

The NFIB report, which looks at 11 pieces of legislation that would either help or harm Rhode Island small businesses, shows that Ruggiero voted against the interests of small business on six of the 11 bills that the NFIB deemed as significant to the interests of small businesses during the 2015-16 legislative session.

Perhaps most egregious was Ruggiero’s strong support for the state road tolling for trucks legislation, known as RhodeWorks. Ruggiero not only voted for Gov. Gina Raimondo’s shortsighted plan, but was a key advocate for the tolling plan and helped ram it through the legislature. This may cost us even more jobs and drive up the costs of goods and services for all consumers. Residents are concerned that the next RhodeWorks money grab will involve tolling passenger cars, too.

Also, Ruggiero voted in favor of legislation that increases the state’s already sky-high energy costs for residents and businesses alike. How unaccountable is our leadership to the real-life needs of Rhode Islanders? Our electricity bills are among the highest in the nation, but the legislature continues to enact increased fees that continue to make our utility bills get higher. I would favor a more balanced energy portfolio that relies on both plentiful natural gas-generated electricity, along with renewable energy sources, reducing the burden on Rhode Islanders’ wallets and helping to make the state more competitive with other regions.

As a small business owner, I understand the challenges facing Rhode Island’s small businesses. As businesses close, downsize or flee to neighboring states due to the high cost of doing business in Rhode Island and the burdensome and unpredictable regulatory climate, state government refuses to address this crisis seriously. Instead, the special interests that run amok in our Statehouse squeeze the remaining businesses and residents with every tax and fee imaginable. Rather than making fiscally responsible decisions and demanding results for taxpayers’ money, they divert your dollars to the black hole that is the General Fund and make excuses. I will be a true champion of small businesses and hard-working Rhode Islanders.

Rebecca Schiff
Candidate for R.I. District 74,

Carson Targets City's Biggest Danger

To the Editor:

The storm and flood damage in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas this weekend reminds us that Newport is unusually vulnerable to similar threats. We have 585 businesses and a total of 1,988 building structures – business, residential and public – in the city’s current FEMA-defined flood danger area. These firms, families and property owners are threatened by coastal flooding every month, by future storms, and by the steady rise of sea level.

Except for Lauren Carson, it’s not clear that any of our local candidates are dedicated to protecting us from what may be Newport’s biggest danger. In her first term as our representative on Smith Hill, Carson created a House commission to study the effect of rising sea levels and flooding on the economy of the state.

Her commission proposed a flood audit program for waterfront business and homeowners to help them determine risks and plan protections, as well as regular training for municipal zoning and planning boards on the impact of sea rise and flooding on our waterfront properties. Both programs are moving forward with the support of state government and university departments.

With $3.8 billion in property value currently in flood-threatened areas of town, Newporters should re-elect Carson and identify others who will work on creative ways to deal with this vulnerability.

David W. Stookey

Schiff Has the Right Qualities

To the Editor:

Rhode Island went into the recession early and has yet to fully recover. Rhode Islanders have been struggling to live with a cost of living that grows higher and harder every year, while their paychecks stay the same. And despite all the words and assurances over the past eight years from our state's leadership that they are focused on jobs and the economy, Rhode Island continues to bump along the bottom on index after index. Their policies are simply not working!

Insiders, political cronies, lobbyists and contributors dominate General Assembly actions and priorities. Average, hard-working Rhode Islanders are only considered when the bill needs to be paid. The toll law, the unaccountable slush funds called legislative and community service grants, the lack of any real investigation into the 38 Studios debacle, the $42 million Statehouse budget chock full of spending on friends and relatives, and the ever-growing property tax burden, increased DMV fees, and gas and tourist taxes are clear signs that the status quo is not working for our average families.

We need people in the legislature who are willing to question the leaders, not just parrot their tortured rationales for bad policy. Instead of representatives who are willing to vote over and over for policies that hurt their constituents we need people willing to break the current mold and search out new, best practice solutions to help Rhode Island shine again. We need elected officials with a willingness to look beyond the tired and counterproductive philosophies that are hampering our efforts to make government more transparent and accountable, to take on the insiders and cronies and say '"no more." Hard work, determination, a clear vision of what our state needs to thrive, a goal to maximize the potential and financial security of every resident: these are the qualities that our communities desperately need in the General Assembly.

Rebecca Schiff, candidate for Rhode Island House District 74, is a person who possesses these qualities. She stepped forward to run for the seat because she knows Rhode Island can do better and be better with new leadership. Her intelligence, drive and work ethic have convinced me that she is willing to roll up her sleeves and work hard to change the downward trend of our economy. She is willing to do her homework and question the policies that are hurting average families. Her allegiance will be with the people of her district, not with the political bosses in Providence.

If you like our struggling economy, prevalent corruption, crushing tax burden, lack of governmental transparency and accountability, and elected officials who only think of you as a "wallet," return the current people to office. But if you want a better future for yourself and your family, if you want government to serve your best interests, I urge you to vote for Rebecca Schiff. Rhode Island needs a new management team. Rhode Island needs Rebecca Schiff.

Rep. Patricia Morgan
District 26, West Warwick

Carson Holds RIDOT Accountable

To the Editor:

I am writing to commend the work of Newport Rep. Lauren Carson regarding the efforts she’s made to work cooperatively with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation over the last six months.

RIDOT is responsible for maintaining America’s Cup Avenue and Memorial Boulevard. Many issues exist along that busy corridor: traffic congestion, bicyclists, delivery trucks, landscape maintenance, coordination of the traffic lights, pedestrians and crosswalks. I’m sure many of us have been stuck in that traffic gridlock during the summer months.

Carson has a strong working relationship with the RIDOT. Over the past two years in her first term as representative, she has focused on landscaping, traffic light timing, biker and pedestrian safety, daffodil planting and vehicle congestion. She was very determined and has made it a priority to have regular meetings in Newport with the DOT representatives. The purpose of these meetings has been to make our roads safer, more tourist-friendly and easier to navigate for locals and visitors.

Carson has been joined by the Newport Chamber of Commerce, community representatives, business leaders and city councilors at her monthly meetings. I have personally attended three of these very productive meetings, each held at Newport City Hall. At each meeting we addressed a full agenda of issues pertaining to Newport’s busy roadways and intermodal transportation in Newport Harbor.

I support Lauren Carson in this election for many reasons. Specifically, because she has held RIDOT accountable for service in her district.

Actions do speak louder than words, and I believe Lauren Carson has proven that she is truly an advocate for the citizens of Newport. She works very hard and has been aggressive in her first term as representative. I know she will continue to do so if elected again.

Matthew Gineo

Smith Champions Students and Seniors

To the Editor:

As a former educator, military officer and native of Newport, I am thrilled a candidate of Mike Smith’s caliber has stepped onto this difficult political stage to fight for the quality of life of hardworking Newporters.

As the father of three children, a small business owner, and a vocal advocate for veterans and senior citizens, Mike understands the critical importance of making sure every child has access to the kind of education and great teachers who will prepare them for a wide range of college and career opportunities, including a well-paying job right out of high school if that is what they choose. “One size does not fit all” and children and parents need a wide range of choices including online options, internships, apprenticeships and hands-on career and technical training like those being shared on a small scale by Aquidneck Island students.

Teachers are the unit of change and must be honored and empowered to serve each child based on their unique and special talents. Our sister state of Massachusetts, the highest performing state in the country, gives us a model of how this can be done in a cost-effective way by using a weighted student formula. They also allow charter schools and pilot schools within public school districts, such as the Boston Arts Academy, where students thrive through their love of the arts.

As a veteran and senior citizen, I deeply appreciate Mike’s passion for those in our community reaching the twilight of their years. The average disabled American veteran in our community retired at pay grade E-6 and many live at or below the poverty level with compensation of $20,000 or less. Significant numbers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of limbs and debilitating post traumatic stress disorder. Most other states have honored these selfless Americans by not taxing elderly and military benefits, and Mike will lead the charge in Rhode Island to follow that example.

Please join me in ensuring Mike Smith puts his vision and ideas into action.

Barbara McGann
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Editor’s Note: The last date for candidate statements or endorsements will be the Thursday, October 27 edition. Letters in that issue cannot contain criticisms against opponents because there will be no time for rebuttal.

Return to top