Guest MINDSETTER™ Ken Block Vote YES on Question 3

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


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Rhode Island citizens have every reason to vote YES on Question #3 on this November’s ballot and approve the Constitutional Convention.

Approving Question 3 is a vote against 38 Studios-style backroom deals. Approving Question 3 is a vote against politics as usual in Rhode Island. Approving Question 3 is a vote to change the insider, non-transparent way that our General Assembly and government does business.

You have heard from those opposed to the idea of holding a Constitutional Convention. To a large extent, those opposed are vested in keeping Rhode Island’s political system right where it is now – the status quo works for them. But politics as usual is most definitely not working for the people of Rhode Island.

Our constitution should not be a place where policy is dictated – it is a place where the framework to make policy is defined. We have a once in a decade opportunity right now to fix the worst of the governance problems that plague our beautiful state. We need to grab this opportunity.

Rhode Island’s constitution needs updating, because the manner in which we allow ourselves to be governed has become outdated. We need a Constitutional Convention to move Rhode Island’s government into an era of greater transparency and a greater balance of power between the Governor’s office and the General Assembly.

We are one of six states in the country that does not provide our Governor the power of the Line Item Veto. This power allows a Governor to remove specific elements from a budget. Some of the worst lawmaking we get is tucked into the budget where a Governor is without power to do much about it.

Providing the Line Item Veto to Rhode Island’s Governor will work to balance power with our largely unaccountable General Assembly.

In 1986, the last time that Rhode Island held a Constitutional Convention, voters spoke loudly and clearly by approving a Constitutional Amendment to hold legislators accountable for their actions to the Ethics Commission.  After a long legal journey, the Ethics Commission has had its oversight of the General Assembly substantially reduced. This must be fixed in this Constitutional Convention.

A few words of clarity in our Constitution will enable the Ethics Commission to have full ethical oversight over the one body in our government that needs that oversight more than any other – our General Assembly.

Roughly half of the seats in our General Assembly go uncontested – only one person runs for the seat. It is very likely that we have too many legislative seats in our General Assembly. A Constitutional Convention can address this issue.

While many truly respect and laud those who serve in government, they also firmly believe that government service should not be a lifetime endeavor. Term limits for legislators makes sense and has been implemented in 15 other states. It is our turn now.

Rhode Island politicians have passed decade’s worth of laws that makes it very difficult for the public to request data and information about how our government operates some of the programs that we pay for with our tax dollars. A carefully worded amendment laying out the framework for openness, transparency and most importantly, access to this data will open up a whole new era of accountability in our government. 

We have every right to fully understand how well – or not well – our public programs are being run. As long as individual privacy is not violated (and agencies should be directed to ensure that this is possible), government data should be fully open to public inspection. All of it. 

We have a unique and critical opportunity to make real change in Rhode Island.  The public, through the mechanism of the Constitutional Convention, has the ability to take matters into its own hands and fundamentally change some of the most broken aspects of our government.

Every action that the Constitutional Convention proposes is just that – a proposed action. Rhode Island voters must approve every proposed change that comes out of a Constitutional Convention – the ultimate check and balance on the process.

To start the process of bringing fundamental change to our state, on November 4th please vote yes on question #3. Approve the constitutional convention so we can reform our broken system of government and make Rhode Island government operate like other, better-run states.  

With your help, a Constitutional Convention will bring the reforms we need to turn our government around. The Constitutional Convention is a critical step towards a stronger Rhode Island.

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Ken Block was the Republican candidate for Governor.


Related Slideshow: Block April 2014 GOP Primary Voter Survey

On April 22 and 23, Fabrizio, Lee, and Associates conducted a survey of likely GOP primary voters statewide in Rhode Island, with a sample size of 300, for gubernatorial candidate Ken Block. 

Below are key findings from that survey. 

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Direction of State

Question: Generally speaking, would you say that things in State of Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or would you say things are seriously heading off on the wrong track?

                         October 2013    April 2014

Right                       7                    7

Wrong                   87                  90

Undecided              6                   3

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Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of each person?         

             Total Favorables   Unfav.


Oct 2013           45           9                                

April 2014          63          10                              


Oct 2013           69           5

April 2014          68         15

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Conservative vs. Liberal

Please tell me whether you think each one of the following people is a Liberal, Moderate, or Conservative in their political beliefs?                 

                 Total Cons    Total Mod    Total Lib


Oct. 2013         27             29               7

April 2014        40             29                7


Oct 2013          36            34               10

April 2014         34           39                14

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Most Important Issues

Which of the following issues are most important in deciding your vote for Governor?

                                           Oct. 13       April 14

Creating jobs                         44                41               

Eliminating Corruption           9                  17

Lowering Taxes                     9                   11

Balancing Budget                  9                  10

Eliminating Waste                  9                   6

Illegal Immigration                 6                   4

Family Values                        4                   3

Improving Education             2                   2

Reforming Welfare                2                   1

Improving Healthcare           1                    *

Fighting crime                       1                   *

Protecting Environment        -                   *

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General Assembly Approval

Generally speaking, do you approve or disapprove of the job the State Legislature is doing?

Total approve                10

Total disapprove            84

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Candidate Choice

If the primary election were held today, who would you vote for?




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