Rep Costa: What I Learned in My First Session

Thursday, July 07, 2011


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The first six months in office has been a learning experience as I am sure it has been for all 22 freshmen. I have come to realize that so many people are paying close attention to many issues that are important to them.

A case in point: civil unions. Before the start of the session, I had always said that I would support civil unions but that all changed when the people of Rhode Island spoke. The opposition was overwhelming. Hundreds of emails, phone calls and letters. I listened to hours of testimony all in opposition—none in favor. I listened to the people that I proudly represent in North Kingstown and Exeter and I was a no vote. The thing you have to realize when you are elected is that you have to put your personal feelings aside and listen to the people that have elected you to do a job.

Sales Taxes: The second issue that seemed to set the taxpayers off was the budget that Gov. Chafee issued. The new Governor’s message was, to put it bluntly: “Let's tax everything and anything we can to cut the deficit. Let's tax soda, salons, services, caskets etc.” Sorry Mr. Chafee, there was no way I could support that in any way. The taxpayers and groups came out in full force and won that battle. Again the people got involved and won.

Bring on Binding Arbitration: Talk about waiting till the last minute to spring that on the taxpayers. Again the groups came out in full force. The Rhode Island Tea Party, RISC, Leagues of cities and towns. Mayors Fung and Taveras—and many more. Again the taxpayers prevailed—at least for now, since I am sure we will see this again soon.

The next battle will soon be here. In October we begin our journey towards pension reform. I personally think this should have been the first issue we focused on but now it's up to the board that Treasurer Raimondo put together to try to get a grip on what is breaking the Rhode Island taxpayer.

All 75 members of the House Of Representative have to remember that it's not about them, it's about the people they represent. I for one will never forget. That's a promise I make to you.

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Doreen Costa represents District 31 in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Editor's Note: GoLocalProv has also invited a freshman Democratic rep to write an assessment of the session.


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