The Scoop: Block Calls Speaker Fox Imperialistic; Fox Responds

Thursday, October 17, 2013


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Welcome to The Scoop, the 4 p.m. report on everything politics in Rhode Island – the inside daily report exclusively on

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Block Calls Speaker Fox an Imperialistic Leader; Fox Responds

Moderate Party candidate for governor Ken Block is accusing House Speaker Gordon Fox of being an imperial speaker who does not have his constituents’ best interests in mind.

“The Speaker of the House exerts almost complete control over the legislative process in the RI General Assembly,” Block told GoLocal. “No bill passes that the Speaker does not want to pass.”

Specifically, Block references Fox’s decision to kill the Master Lever bill, which looked to repeal a 1939 Rhode Island law that created a straight party option at the polls.

“Despite the support of a majority of 42 state Representatives, thousands of emails from concerned RI voters and unanimous testimony of more than 100 people who came to the State House in person to testify that the Master Lever had to go, the Speaker personally killed the bill in the most unaccountable way possible—he did not allow the House Judiciary Committee to vote on the bill,” Block told GoLocal.

According to Block, Speaker Fox’s approach puts him at odds with the will of the people.

“When the Speaker defies the wishes of both the people who he is elected to represent and his legislative members who have clearly indicated their position on this issue, he is not working in the best interest of Rhode Island citizens,” Block told GoLocal.

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Speaker Fox’s Reaction

“Once again, gubernatorial candidate Ken Block is issuing self-serving statements for his own political gain," said Larry Berman, spokesman for Speaker Fox. "Speaker Fox has stated on numerous occasions that he believes the master lever is a legitimate option that many voters choose to utilize.”

Master Lever Debate

In April, Block released data showing that killing the Master Lever legislation helped Speaker Fox avoid defeat in November. According to Block, the final results of the District 4 State Representative race between Speaker Fox and challenger Mark Binder showed that Master Lever votes likely made the difference in helping the Speaker keep his seat.

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