All the video: House District 68 Special Election candidate forum

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The special election for House District 68 (Bristol, Warren) is next Tuesday, March 5. Voters were given a good look at where the candidates stand on the issues at a candidate forum held at the Bristol County Courthouse. All four candidates were in attendance:

  • Libertarian William Hunt
  • Incumbent Kenneth Marshall, a former Democrat running as an Independent
  • Independent James McCanna Jr
  • Democrat June Speakman

The forum was moderated by Scott Pickering and Christy Nadalin, and sponsored by East Bay Newspapers. There were no opening comments. Ten questions were asked, followed by closing statements from each candidate. Each candidate was given 6 opportunities for rebuttal, after all candidates answered a particular question. Below is all the video, in order, divided by candidate answers. The videos marked “wildcard” contain all rebuttals provided by all candidates for each question.

It’s during the Wildcard segments that things got heated.

Q1. Considering that all of us are sitting here now because of campaign finance violations, how do you assess out current campaign finance laws? Are they adequate to ensure transparency? Is there any more that can be done?

William Hunt

Kenneth Marshall

June Speakman

James McCanna Jr

Wildcard

Q2. Some legislators from this region have recently developed an adversarial relationship with the Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello. How do you envision your working relationship should you get the chance to serve?

Kenneth Marshall

June Speakman

James McCanna Jr

William Hunt

Wildcard

Q3. Where has most of the money you’ve raised come from? Within the district, within the state, or from out of state?

June Speakman

James McCanna Jr

William Hunt

Kenneth Marshall

Wildcard

Q4. Do you support minimum wage increases and pay equity?

James McCanna Jr

William Hunt

Kenneth Marshall

June Speakman

Wildcard

Q5. What would you do to help Rhode Island’s business climate, which is annually ranked among the bottom ten states by CNBC, Forbes and other national organizations?1

William Hunt

Kenneth Marshall

June Speakman

James McCanna Jr

Wildcard

Q6. Do you support a tax increase on higher wage earners in the state? If so, by how much and starting at what salary?

Kenneth Marshall

June Speakman

James McCanna Jr

William Hunt

Q7. Do you support the Reproductive Health Care Act?

June Speakman

James McCanna Jr

William Hunt

Kenneth Marshall

Wildcard

Q8. Should Rhode Island legalize the recreational use of marijuana?

James McCanna Jr

William Hunt

Kenneth Marshall

June Speakman

Wildcard 1 and 2

Q9. Why are you a better representative for this region than anyone else sitting up here?

William Hunt

Kenneth Marshall

June Speakman

James McCanna Jr

Closing Statements:

Kenneth Marshall

James McCanna Jr

June Speakman

William Hunt


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  1. State rankings are bullshit.

    In 2016, in response to a Tax Foundation report, Economist Douglas Hall, then the Director of Economic and Fiscal Policy at the Economic Progress Institute, wrote an oped explaining why these rankings are worse than meaningless and actually quite harmful.

    Hall wrote, “The collective hand-wringing brought on by Rhode Island’s placing on the latest Tax Foundation’s ‘State Business Tax Climate’ is misguided at best, and at worst points to public policy choices that could undermine, rather than facilitate the Ocean State’s economic growth and recovery.”

    State rankings are useless and dangerous. Grading the States, a website that tackles the issue of these rankings and exposes serious methodological flaws, is a great resource to learn more about this problem. Grading the States one line analysis of the Tax Foundation’s business ranking?

    “Combining more than 115 features of state tax law into a single index number produces a state ranking that turns out to bear very little relationship to what businesses actually pay in one state vs another.”


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About Steve Ahlquist 1052 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade.Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.atomicsteve@gmail.com