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Guest MINDSETTER™ Hewett: Dear voters in State Senate District 11

Sunday, January 03, 2016


Dear voters in State Senate District 11,

A special election to be held on January 5, 2016, will determine who will replace republican Senator Chris Ottiano in the state senate. Chris decided to take a new position that he believed compelled him to step down from his senate seat. There are very few republicans currently serving in our general assembly, either on the house or senate side. In fact, democrats have been in lock solid control of both houses of the assembly for more than 50 years.  The extent to which this state is in serious trouble on all fronts can be attributed directly to those whom we the voters elect to serve us in the assembly. By virtue of our state constitution, the executive branch is especially weak. The only real power our Governor has is the bully pulpit and that is quite limited even for governors with the will and acumen to use it wisely when compared to monopolistic power of the democrat controlled general assembly.

The race to fill Mr. Ottiano’s seat is down to two candidates – republican John Pagliarini and democrat Jim Seveney. Your vote is important. The tendency of voters in these special elections is to stay home. I urge everyone reading this post to ignore that tendency. Get up, get out and cast your informed vote.

Although I do not live in district 11 and thus cannot vote in this election, I support Mr. Pagliarini. He is the better candidate by virtue of his position on the issues that concern me – RhodeWorks, RhodeMap RI, Tolling bridges, 2nd Amendment, Taxes, Spending, Budget constraints to name some of the big ones. And he is a republican and we need more independent minded republicans in our general assembly – a lot more of them to make our state an actual effective two party system of governing. Plus, he is well educated, thoughtful, serious minded and an independent thinker. He strikes me as a doer who is motivated to gets things done. Getting things done in this out of balance general assembly will be a challenge, but we must begin the process at some point if we are ever to overcome the embarrassment of our state constantly placing dead last among all the states in virtually every category for measuring a state’s economic vitality.

I am sure that Jim Seveney is a good man. He has been a town councilman in Portsmouth for years. I believe that is where he should stay. He and I have a common bond. He served in the Navy for over 20 years, as did I. Yet, I believe he is the wrong man to serve in the senate. I disagree with his positions on most issues of importance. I asked him at a recent meeting in Middletown if there was any policy, plan or position advocated by President Obama, former Senate Majority leader Reid, former House Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse or Congressman Cicilline with which he disagreed. I do not believe he ever answered the question directly or indirectly. He punted. That concerns me greatly. I see him as a likely sure vote for whatever State Senate President Paiva-Weed and Speaker Mattiello want. 

In his effort to answer my question, Mr. Seveney mentioned how his father was a democrat and that if that party was good enough for his Dad; it was good enough for him. I understand that and respect the admiration he has for his father. I did not get the chance to follow up, but had I that chance I would have mentioned how my Dad was also a democrat for most of his 84 years. But I think my Dad would agree with me that the democrat party of my father’s time is not the same progressive democrat party under whose banner Mr. Seveney has chosen to run and serve. I suspect that the elder Mr. Seveney might be more in tune with my Dad’s view of what the democrat party policies and practices ought to be and are no longer.

The democrat party has changed and not for the better. Mr. Seveney has chosen not to change with the times. Pagliarini is the better choice to serve the people of district 11 in the state senate.


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