“When is enough, enough? It is probably when the Rhode Island State Police are searching State House dumpsters in the dead of night. It seems like every week there is a new inquiry or investigation into unethical or illegal behavior in the House,” said Kathleen Fogarty (Democrat, District 35, South Kingstown). “We are calling for a Democratic Caucus to address the current state of affairs in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.”
“The Governor and the Republican Party have both filed suit against Speaker Mattiello,” added Representative Teresa Tanzi (Democrat, District 34, South Kingstown and Narragansett). “These suits are in addition to the Shawna Lawton money laundering case, the cannabis license insider dealing investigation, and the $1 million give away to the Cranston chiropractor to name but a few of the recent scandals. This behavior is unacceptable and has been going on for too long.”
“For those of us who have been on the receiving end of the Speaker’s bullying, we empathize with the Convention Center Board and with our Republican colleagues. This is not how a democracy is supposed to operate,” said Representative Moira Walsh (Democrat, District 3, Providence).
“Those of us who are standing up to the Speaker are conservative, moderate and progressive Democrats. We don’t agree on everything. We do, however, believe in clean, honest and open government,” added Representative John Lombardi (Democrat, District 8, Providence). “We are calling for a caucus at which the Speaker can explain the dark cloud that hangs over the House. If he can’t adequately explain his actions, then it is time for new leadership. As elected members of the House, we cannot stand by and allow the public’s trust in this institution to further deteriorate.”
There is important work to be considered this legislative session and we must deliver a balanced, thoughtful, responsible budget using a transparent process. Our state cannot afford to be distracted by scandal after scandal, or have our motives constantly called into question. We must maintain our focus to ensure the work of the people is done and that we uphold our commitment to good government and democratic values. Failure to do so is a stain on the entire institution, and our state.
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We can and must do better.
- Teresa Tanzi
- Kathleen Fogarty
- Moira Walsh
- John Lombardi
- Raymond Hull (Democrat, District 6, Providence)
[From a press release]