Issues

Many things that get Rhode Islanders fired up are social questions, definitely worth discussing and reaching an informed and reasoned consensus, but not within the scope of Lieutenant Governor. Many others are federal questions, also not typically something that a Lieutenant Governor would be involved with.

Here are a few issues that keep coming up. More will be added over time.

Second Amendment

Cynical attempts by the current administration to pander to the Progressive wing of their party to blame firearms rather than criminals and the mentally unbalanced has led for them to push an agenda that infringes upon the protections of Second Amendment. In their attempt to demonstrate that they care and are doing something, they are ignoring that the Second Amendment protects our must vulnerable populations from being victims of whoever is stronger and more violent. Attempts to restrict the lawful exercise of gun ownership make us dependent on a fickle and unreliable government that, even if were to be permanently well-intentioned, would be unable to provide adequate protection to the people.   The Second Amendment is critical to maintenance of a free nation and I support it wholeheartedly against any misguided or malicious attempt to limit it.

Term Limits

Establishing Term limits is a Band-Aid that does not address the serious problem that incumbents can develop such strong institutional support that it becomes very very difficult to bring in fresh blood. Term limits eliminates personal accountability for politicians and creates every reason to never get around to addressing serious problems, instead just pushing things off onto the next batch of politicians. And those politicians will, of course, do the same thing. Countries that have implemented term limits for legislators have moved power from individual politicians who can, with effort, be unseated and moves the power to the political parties and king makers. I do not support term limits and encourage everyone to vote out corrupt and ineffective politicians.

Governor/Lt. Governor Joint Ticket

Dan McKee suggested a constitutional change that would elect the Governor and Lt. Governor on a joint ticket. This is a step backwards from the elimination of the master lever. It reduces choice for the voters and increases the power of the major political parties. It also turns the role of Lieutenant Governor from its present purely administrative function and makes it a policy-making position. If Dan McKee wants to run as a joint ticket with a particular gubernatorial candidate, there is nothing to prevent tying their campaigns closely together and announcing to the world to vote for both of them or neither of them. I do not support McKee’s suggestion.

Burrillville Power Plant

The decision of whether or not to put a second power plant put in the rural town of Burillville should be entirely up to the citizens of the town, not a panel assigned by the governor.  The logic behind using the Energy Facility Siting Board is that public facilities like landfills that fill a pressing public need but meet tremendous resistance from local residents would never be built due to the “not in my backyard” NIMBY effect.  But with a declining state population and no loss of local electrical production there is no pressing public need, and therefore no justification for a governor-appointed panel to force the second power plant on the town.  The town may choose to accept the power plant or reject it, but the decision needs to be up to Burillville, not the governor’s office.

Tolls

Tolls that are used solely to maintain the roads that are being tolled put the expense of a government service directly on the people receiving the service. This is the ideal for any government service that does not benefit everyone equally. But Rhode Island government has repeatedly proven that it never met a funding source it didn’t love. Based on history, we have every reason to expect that the money raised will tremendously benefit a preferred private business, with most of the remainder funneled into the general treasury and spent on everything except improving the roads being tolled. I strongly oppose tolls on RI roadways.

Consolidation

In 2016, Dan McKee was given responsibility for preparing the state’s municipalities for the future, with a focus on consolidation. The goal of consolidation is cost savings, but it comes with the loss of jobs and local control of their schools, fire, and police functions. The cost savings is worth investigating, but it needs to be facilitated, not directed, where cooperation between the municipalities leads to efficiencies and savings. I support measures that make consolidation easier to achieve, but I do not support forcing it on the towns.

Sanctuary Cities

I believe that the term “sanctuary city” is too broad for rational discussion of how to address the interaction between state and local authorities with people who have not complied with our immigration laws. Broken down into more rational segments – I do not support the preposterous position that the state should hunt down everyone in the state who is in violation of immigration laws and I don’t believe that very many people would support such actions. I do not support checking the citizenship status of crime victims, since that will make a group of people easy prey to criminals. I do not support checking citizenship status of people who have minor traffic violations, since that would create incentives to flee and create dangerous situations on the roads. I fully support the expulsion of felons who are not legal citizens.

More coming. Send in your most burning issues.