Guest MINDSETTER™ Michael Riley: Rhode Island’s Leadership Problem

Thursday, July 12, 2012


There is a leadership problem in Rhode Island. The Congressional delegation in our state has been virtually silent regarding the massive obstacles Rhode Islanders face every single day. Parents naturally want to raise and educate their children to be better off than they were. They want to work hard, earn a living and support their families. They want to save for college and for a decent retirement. The last thing they need is for our elected officials to take their eye off the ball when it comes to handling our hard earned tax dollars.

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They do not want to hear that the state government is broke and seeks to raise even more taxes. Home owners don’t want their property taxes to go inexorably higher while the biggest asset they own is still declining in value. It is their responsibility to inform and guide citizens as to potential danger.

Citizens want competent leaders who are paying attention. Both congressmen representing Rhode Island have been virtually absent with regard to our economic circumstance. Mr. Cicilline not only did not warn of massive funding problems affecting our State Capitol, he obfuscated and mislead voters and taxpayers. That behavior was shameful.

The policies set in Washington have buffeted our state. Rhode Island’s 11 percent unemployment rate is national disgrace and has crushed the hopes and plans of generations of our citizens, whether you are just entering the workforce or heading for retirement.

Congressman Langevin has been one of Mr. Cicilline’s most ardent supporters. Leadership and governance is not about obtaining and retaining power. Real leadership is about identifying pressing issues and providing solutions. It’s about taking action.

Many of us recognized a financial crisis in the making a decade ago. We decried the actions of our towns and cities and even the statehouse in not addressing these obvious problems of exploding municipal debt and the weight of public pension plans. We warned about kicking the can down the road because eventually the road ends. I am afraid we have reached that point and now it’s up to responsible citizens to step up and clean up this mess before we burden future generations.

We need people of skill and determination to take on this challenge and stabilize this crisis and then lay a foundation for real economic growth providing our kids a chance to innovate and earn their way to prosperity once again. Private sector growth needs to return in a big way for Rhode Island to survive.

That means Government needs to be smaller and more flexible. Despite this obvious need, our current leaders constantly promote ideas that massively grow government. Government exists to protect and preserve our individual freedoms and property rights so that we may pursue our dreams and our happiness. Real leaders will accept this limited role of government and seek to constrain its growth and influence over our lives. I will be such a leader.


Michael Riley is a Republican candidate for Congress in Rhode Island's 2nd District.


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