N. Prov Rep. Hull has no regrets after no vote on tolls gets him demoted

N. Prov Rep. Hull has no regrets after no vote on tolls gets him demoted

PROVIDENCE – Even with the benefit of hindsight, Rep. Raymond Hull says he has no regrets about his choice to vote against Gov. Gina Raimondo’s RhodeWorks infrastructure and toll plan.

Hull was the lone Democrat to vote against the plan when it was before the House Finance Committee last Tuesday. After voting against it again when it came before the full House at day later, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello took Hull off the powerful House Finance Committee and relegated him to the Environmental Committee.

Rep. Robert Phillips and Rep. Joseph Solomon, two other Democrats who opposed Mattiello on tolls, were also removed from top committee posts.

Hull, who serves Providence and North Providence in House District 6, told The Breeze he voted against the toll plan because he didn’t believe it was the best one for Rhode Island. As a member of House Finance, he’d seen the plans from the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, and liked option two from that group, which would have required no tolls.

“I remember who elects me,” he said. “I listened to my people.”

He said he has no ill feelings toward Mattiello for taking him off House Finance.

“It’s just the ugly side of politics,” he said, adding that it “goes with the territory.”

His decision to vote no was purely about “me and the people who put me in my position,” said Hull. There was “no disrespect” intended toward either Raimondo or Mattiello, but he had to vote the way he believed was right.

Hull added that he was grateful to have the finance position, but in the end those are “just seats that are inside that dome” and don’t impact his ability to represent his constituents the right way.

He said he wasn’t going to speculate why he lost his committee position and some others kept theirs. He said political pressure in the General Assembly is part of the job he knew he was taking when first elected in 2010.

“That’s the nature of the business,” he said.

Hull said he’s gotten “a lot of positive responses” from his constituents, as well as people across the state, but insists he did nothing special in voting his conscience.

“I’m a unique individual who actually believes in people. I’m not there because I’m better or the best, I’m there to represent those people,” he said.

Hull said he’s seen a lot of anger about the toll plan, and he can understand why.

Hull issued a written explanation immediately after the House Finance Committee vote on why he decided to join three Republicans in saying no.

“As a member of the House Finance Committee, I am asked to make difficult decisions regarding how to best improve the state’s economic situation and craft responsible, sensible budgets,” he said. “While I recognize the crisis situation regarding our state’s transportation infrastructure, I cannot support the proposed RhodeWorks legislation as proposed by the governor’s office. I believe we need a comprehensive approach to solving this problem, an approach that is put together in a transparent manner and does not merely focus on one industry to pay additional costs.”

According to Hull, “Tthe initial RhodeWorks proposal failed to lay out where the tolling stations (or so-called gantries) would be located.” On the eve of the House Finance Committee’s vote, members learned that the state had information on anticipated diversion routes that was released only hours before the vote.

“It is just one example of the flurry of information and the lingering questions that remain about this proposal,” he said. “While a campaign has been undertaken to bring business organizations together to support this measure, no one has bothered to effectively refute a recent report by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council that indicated the toll-and-borrow approach was going to cost more than simply borrowing.

“Given the lack of time taken to consider these and other concerns, I cannot in good conscience lend my support to this proposal,” he added.

“The simple fact of the matter is that when we rush to address problems or enact new policies in Rhode Island, we don’t get good public policy outcomes.”

Comments

Congratulations to Rep Hull for voting as his constituents wanted and how he really felt about a 30 year toll and bond bill that didn't have to be done.
Conservative folks are generally from the Republican party but it is known that a lot of declared Democrats would like to be conservative but are party players to get along with the Speaker and his crew.
This bill is the WORST possible thing that the Governor and loud Majority of Spending Unionized Democrats in the GA has ever done and that is saying a lot.
No matter what political perswasion you are there can be few that could support what this wrecking crew in the GA and Governor has done.
Remember folks, come November, vote those Yes men and women out of office, they are not representing you.
Once again, thank you Rep Hull and the other Democrats and Republicans that voted for the people and NO for this horrendous bill.

We need more people like you that represent the people that voted you in. Your continued contributions to the finance committee would have been appreciated.
We will vote out those that voted YES come November.

I am not a constituent of Rep Hull but legislators like Mr. Hull serve ALL the citizens of Rhode Island. He deserves our support.

What a refreshing moment! Representative Hull brings true honor to his position. He can rest assured that he has the admiration and respect of those in district for this courageous act. Our best to you sir!

FYI Rep. Patricia Morgan introduced and amendment to the toll bill that would have TOLLED ALL TRUCKS but at a cap. So when the lying republicans in this state say they were against tolling they are lying. Rep Morgan and all here minions voted yes for the amendment which wanted to toll trucks but unless you watched the nonsense going down you wouldn't know that.

" grarnold ", here's one for you. I will be willing to bet that the same people who are in office today will be re-elected in November. Our current politicians are in trouble come election time and they all know it. So, anyone who will want to run against them will more than likely get paid in back door deals to stay out of the election. Hence, what will happen in November is we will have no one else to vote for but our current officials because no one worthy will be running against them. So, after the election it will be the " Same Ole Story ", year after year.

Thank you Rep Hull for your courage to vote the way your constitutes wanted and not for your political gain as the rest of the House did. I'll raise a glass of scotch in your honor.

Thank you Rep. Hull for taking a stand against this bad deal for RI. You stood up to the special interest and establishment. Please keep up the good work and thank you for representing the People!

Thank You for your service Sir.

I sure wish Rep Hull was my Rep. Ours have no spine and just like the worms they are slither along with the rest of the spineless worms.

Mattiello is only the latest example of thug mentality - you do it MY way or else. This whole toll debacle will come back and bite them all in the butt. I look forward to being able to tell them I told you so but, when the truck tolls DON'T exact enough revenue they have the infrastructure in place and you and I will be tasked with paying the bill.

The funny thing about this is WE will pay the bill in any of these scenarios. Buck up mateys, it's gonna be an interesting ride.

Thank you Representative Hull....finally an elected official with a conscious! It is a shame that I have to be represented by a spineless rep by the name of O'Grady from Lincoln.
Not only did he SUPPORT the tolls, but he chose to ignore my numerous calls and emails prior to the vote. He then had the audacity to write a letter to the editor attempting to disguise his disdain and lack of concern for the very people who elected him and the blind obedience he holds for that bully speaker of the house.
I tip my had to you Rep Hull, walk tall, you did the right thing!

Finally a politician, regardless of his party, doing the right thing. When was the last time anyone could ever say that????
Now what needs to happen, is the truth about the arm twisting and back door dealings need to be made public, and consequences need to be paid.
Politics needs to come to an end, and we need to start having governing.

Please let me commend Rep Hull for considering RI voters when making decisions in government.

If Rep Hull ever seeks higher office in Rhode Island he will get serious consideration for my vote.

Thank you Sir.

Lincoln
O’Grady is the state representative for Dist. 46, Lincoln and Pawtucket.

Rep O'Grady sent a letter to the editor explaining that the truck toll proposal reduces a benefit to truckers who cause a majority of road damage and in this way reflects the same kind of benefit reduction shouldered by RI Pensioners in 2011. For a Rep in service since 2010 ( Rep O'Grady that is ) this reflects a lack of appreciation of where RI tax revenues come from. Taxes come from RI consumers whose costs will rise as these costs are passed along from those truckers that can't avoid the tolls. The fundamental difference between Rep Hull & Rep O'Grady is that Rep Hull understands that after 7 years of economic expansion, RI legislators need to have been saving more the past few years for when times inevitably get tougher in a few years when the next recession arrives. This is an economic reality Rep O'Grady chooses to ignore.

In summary:
Rep Hull wants spending controls implemented here to fund road work while Rep O'Grady wants to tax ( reduce benefits ) and spend, that is Rep O'Grady wants to tax & spend despite the pressures it will place on RI tax revenues over the next few years in lost RI business growth and inevitable car tolls in RI.

You stood up for your contituents and what is the RIGHT decision for this state. Thank you sir for standing up for what you believe in! You have true GRIT and COURAGE!

God bless sir!