ARLENE VIOLET - A vote for better R.I. government

ARLENE VIOLET - A vote for better R.I. government

"Creating Jobs" seems to be the catch-all phrase during this election as candidates vie for statewide and local office. Imagine for a moment, though, that you are an outsider potentially looking for a place to plant your firm or manufacturing plant. When you look at Rhode Island what would be the first thing that you would associate with this state? Certainly, it would not be the hoped-for designation as the Ocean State. Chances are you'd think corruption or the worst place to do business according to all national measures, or the give-away state because of burgeoning welfare programs.

Needless to say that the defenders of the latter designations who make their living keeping Rhode Island hostage to their gravy train want to stop a Constitutional Convention by scare tactics. The folks who really want to spearhead real reform in order to get back on the right track all support a Constitutional Convention. I am one of them who will vote "Yes" on Question 3 next Tuesday, Nov. 4.

I hope that you will support 'Yes" on Question 3. You will have a chance to buck the trend of this state's demise. Necessary reforms that the Constitutional Convention members who would be subsequently be elected by you include ethics reform to bring the General Assembly members under the purview of the state's ethics code, the establishment of a line-item veto for the governor, term limits, and the tightening up of bond practices to avoid another 38 Studios debacle. Redistricting needs to be done in a fair and equitable manner rather than the quasi-gerrymandering process it is now which creates an insurance policy for re-election of incumbents.

There is a vocal opposition group with lots of money who are trying to poison the well by its scare tactics and misinformation. Their ranks include labor unions and social welfare minions who are wedded to the status quo and their one-sided influence on the actions of their pals in the General Assembly. If you think that government is working for all then you belong on their team. If you know that you are no better off after years of the General Assembly being the only show in town to protect your rights than you are a "Yes" for the Constitutional Convention.

Here's the process. On Nov. 4th voters approve or reject this Constitutional Convention which comes up every 10 years for approval (1986 was the last one). If approved there will be a special election to select the 75 delegates from across the state to serve. These elected delegates will hold the Convention, debate and propose any changes to the Constitution and these proposals are then put back on a ballot for your approval or rejection. You are the last word on what changes are to be made, if any.

When you really analyze the objections of the special interests, in effect, they are saying that you cannot be trusted to do the right thing and vote in the public interest. These objectors believe only their General Assembly supporters are capable of that. You, they think, are too stupid to do that.

Please prove them wrong. Vote "Yes" on Question 3 in support of the Constitutional Convention. In the process, let outside businesses know that you control your own fate by this checks and balances measure.

Violet is an attorney and former state attorney general.