A New Work Week for Congress

September 28, 2008

We need to change the way The House and Senate work, literally.  The current congressional work week was developed back when politicians had to travel to Washington D.C. on horseback.  The congressional work schedule must be updated to reflect current realities. 


The following proposal will limit the influence of lobbyist, increase transparency and put an end to the end of session legislative antics that Rhode Islanders know all to well.  I propose the following:


Congress will not meet in July or December.


Congress will meet in Washington one week per month.


Representatives will stay at home the other three weeks.  This will force them to spend less time with lobbyists and more with the people they represent.


One major issue will be addressed per month. 


The additional time can be used to deal with emergency issues. 


We can put an end to business as usual by changing the way government conducts its business.   


Small businesses are closing all the time.  Some local writers refer to these closures as “signs that the old Rhode Island is slipping away.”  I beg to differ.  The old Rhode Island is not slipping away; it is being strangled to death by self-serving politicians. 


Our political elites do not care about Rhode Island.  Some of them even exercise contempt for democracy.  Former (it feels good to say that) Democratic State Senator Stephen Alves’s efforts to overturn primary results in West Warwick is a recent example.  Alves, like the Narcissus of Greek mythology, only cares about himself.  I submit his legislative record as evidence of that fact.   


My opponent, Patrick Kennedy, was referred to as the “boy congressman” when he was elected in 1994.  He is all grown up now, but Rhode Island tax payers have raised him at considerable cost.  Mr. Kennedy has offered few solutions and often is part of the problem. 


Our state, once a cornerstone of American industry, now has the second highest unemployment rate in the country.  We have one of the worst business climates.  Our pension system is under-funded, and young people are fleeing the state for greener pastures. 


Congress is a mess and Mr. Kennedy represents a reactionary majority.  They had opportunities to prevent the current economic crisis but failed to do so.  As your representative I will be proactive in heeding economic warning signs. 


Rhode Island’s system is broken.  The only way to achieve real change is by changing our representation.  Patrick Kennedy is not a bad person, but he has been a bad representative.  He needs to be removed from office. 


The General Assembly needs to be changed as well.  Your representative or senator may be a good person, but elections should not be popularity contests.  Ask yourself one question before you vote:  is the person you are voting for working to empower you, or is that person working to empower the government?    


Rhode Island is slipping away but together we can pull it back. 

Hope for New Orleans

September 1, 2008

About a year ago I had the opportunity to tour parts of New Orleans that were still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.  My prayers are with the people of New Orleans and my friends at Desire Street Ministries.  Desire Street Ministries, which is run by former University of Florida football great, Danny Wuerffel, is truly doing God’s work on behalf of those hit hardest by Katrina.  My thoughts are with them in this time of crisis.