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Guest MINDSETTER™ Jeff Padwa: Re-Elect Speaker Fox

Monday, November 05, 2012

 

It matters who we elect and what policies they support.

I support Gordon Fox and urge voters to reelect him because of his legislative track record and character. Voters should also seriously question the qualifications and policies of his opponent – a professional story teller and political pawn.

Three issues that I care deeply about are Providence, Education and Equality. In all three areas, Gordon has been a champion.

When our Capital City faced a fiscal cliff, he worked closely with Mayor Angel Taveras to ensure that the state budget increased funding to the City, legislation was passed to increase revenues for Providence and also that tax-exempt institutions paid their fair share.

In the field of education, Gordon took on the challenge of winning approval for a fair and predictable funding formula for public education in Rhode Island. He pushed hard, won and as a result, Providence is receiving over $18 million in additional funds to educate our children.

In addition, last session, Gordon took the responsible step of securing civil union rights for our gay brothers and sisters and has pledged to bring marriage equality to a vote in the house in January. This would be a crowning achievement for a public official who has always fought for education, our capital city and equality. More personally, it would allow Gordon to fulfill his dream and marry his partner of 14 years.

Gordon Fox possesses the characteristics that I value and have taught my children -- hard work and discipline; compassion and caring about others; and determination to overcome challenges and adversities in life. Gordon grew up in Mount Hope and graduated from Classical High School. When his father died when he was a freshman at Providence College and he became unable to afford the tuition and had to drop out and work three jobs to help support his family. Eventually, Gordon resumed his studies at Rhode Island College and through hard work he received a full academic scholarship to Northeastern University Law School.

Gordon Fox is the first openly gay man and first person of African American descent to be elected to the Speakership. This achievement was accomplished through hard work, discipline and by earning the respect of his fellow legislators. Gordon lives with and cares for his elderly mother. He appreciates the sacrifices his mom made in trying to give him and his siblings a better life.

While Gordon has been working to improve our community, his opponent has aligned himself with Republican political operatives with personal axes to grind. Those behind Mr. Binder have run a negative campaign devoid of any substance. This was most obviously revealed during a recent Newsmaker’s debate on Channel 12. Asked whether he supports the state’s landmark pension reform legislation, Mr. Binder refused initially to respond because he “had not read the legislation.” When pushed by moderator Tim White, Mr. Binder looked into the camera, smirked and said, “I would abstain.” Several additional questions regarding current legislation were similarly met with responses of “I would abstain.” It is hard to conceive of East Siders relying on someone who is so uninformed and also lacks the initiative to even review important legislation during these challenging times.

Further, when asked in a debate to offer his ideas to replace the $300 million in revenue that would be lost if the table games initiative failed, his only suggestion was that the state should “increase soda sales.” As if Rhode Islanders drinking more Coke and Sprite will solve our economic problems.

Re-electing Gordon Fox is my top priority on Tuesday. Without him, Providence and Rhode Island would lose a key advocate and marriage equality would be set back for years. While I could be volunteering in New Hampshire on behalf of President Obama, you will find me on the East Side working for Gordon Fox to make sure we continue moving our city and state forward.

Jeffrey M. Padwa is a resident on the East Side of Providence.

 

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