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PowerPlayer: House Speaker Gordon Fox

Monday, August 22, 2011

 

He’s arguably the most powerful politician in the state of Rhode Island, so it’s only fitting for House Speaker Gordon Fox to be GoLocalProv’s latest PowerPlayer.

Fresh off a session where he received praise for his handling of the budget and criticism for opting to pursue Civil Unions rather than same-sex marriage, the Speaker was kind enough to chat with us about what was accomplished this spring and what still needs to be done to push Rhode Island forward.

1) You've seen a lot in your time at the General Assembly. How did this session compare to others?

This was one of the most productive and extremely successful sessions in my 19 years in the House. We faced a budget deficit of $300 million and balanced it with only a few small tax increases compared to the plan initially proposed to us, while also substantially reducing budget deficits in future years and providing municipalities with assistance to control health care expenses. We established an I-195 district commission that is critical to the future economic development of the capital city and the state. We also enacted several quality of life measures: granting legal rights to same-sex couples, creating a program to help low-income residents with their utility expenses, opening up adoption records, and extending insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

2) What is the single-most pressing issue facing the state today?

Ensuring future economic stability is the most pressing issue. This can be accomplished by creating an environment to attract new jobs, keeping our taxes competitive, fostering a high quality education system, and tackling the problems that plague our pension system.

3) Take us through a day in your life:

When we are in session, I work several hours in the morning at my private law practice, arrive at the State House to discuss the daily issues with various House members and staff, meet with various individuals about legislative matters and then preside over the House session. The meetings continue in my State House office until the early evening, when I often attend social events or political activities. When I arrive home, I try to catch up on the news of the day and unwind by watching some television or reading a book.

4) If you could change one thing about the last session, what would it be?

I was disappointed that enough votes didn’t exist to pass marriage equality legislation. Although the enactment of civil unions was a great first step forward, I am committed to full marriage equality.

5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.

Although I live in the Ocean State, I never eat seafood.

Quick Hitters

Role Model(s): My mother and father (Mary Fox and the late Richard Fox)
Favorite Restaurant(s): A tie between Costantino’s and Capriccio’s
Best Beach: Second Beach in Middletown (also known as Sachuest Town Beach)
Best Book You've Read In The Last Year: City of Dreams by William Martin
Advice For The Next Gordon Fox: Don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance and guidance from others.
 

 

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