TOM WARD - Turn up political heat for better government

TOM WARD - Turn up political heat for better government

Clearly, Rhode Island’s political leaders are on defense. The people are on the offense. Keep it up.

On Sunday, a very odd thing happened. Gov. Gina Raimondo wrote a commentary piece in the Sunday Journal calling for “good government reforms” including:

• A vote by the people on a line-item veto, a process in 44 other states that allows a governor to veto certain “lines” in a budget, as opposed to the entire budget;

• Ethics Commission oversight of General Assembly members, and;

• Improving the process of awarding of state (and legislative) grants.

There is one undeniable truth, though. None of these important matters were on her agenda one month ago, before state Rep. and Finance Committee Chairman Ray Gallison left the General Assembly as his use of grant money was being investigated. In fact, a hearing was held on the line-item veto legislation last week and the governor did not attend to testify. Why not?

If we want to put a stop to “the perception of corrupt government in Rhode Island,” as she writes, then mean it! Leadership should include a robust and public effort by our governor – the Gina Raimondo of pension reform. Quiet behind-the-scenes politicking won’t cut it.

Raimondo points to recent successes, including the elimination of the state’s “master lever” that allowed straight-line voting, or online voter registration. Fair enough, but let’s give Ken Block and other good government activist groups like the R.I. Center for Freedom and Prosperity and Operation Clean Government credit for helping push the master lever off the cliff.

I would also add – where the governor did not – the commonsense Voter ID law which requires photo identification at the polls. Nobody – and I mean nobody! – complains about this but progressives, which makes you wonder why they are so hell-bent on allowing unidentified people to vote.

Getting back to legislative grants, I applaud the Sunday Journal for one of it’s most powerful editorials in years, calling out the “fraud” of last week’s “dog-and-pony exhibition” hearings called to defend the giveaway of your hard-earned money to organizations that are “close” to the insiders who bring home the bacon.

While it is true that many of those organizations are good causes, the entire program is disgraceful. As the Journal wrote, “Rhode Island voters are not as stupid as House leaders would make them out to be. They can be sympathetic to funding good causes without being sympathetic to the stench of these grants.”

We can count on the governor to write an op-ed, and we can count on her to sign the line-item veto if it reaches her desk. But we can’t necessarily count on her vigorous push for this good-government bill today. As for legislative grants, we have to watch General Assembly members tie themselves in knots defending this mess. Ethics reform, something that wasn’t on House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s agenda a month ago, now looks likely to happen. In the meantime – right now – the people of Rhode Island have more voice than usual in the wake of the Gallison scandal. Don’t, as they say, let a good crisis go to waste! Call or write to your local legislators today.

• I think I’ve finally figured out why Donald Trump is so popular. The man who flip-flops around just about every issue, and scares the bejeezes out of so many citizens, does project a full-throated assault on political correctness every chance he gets. And for that, even I offer applause. Political correctness is nothing more than the leftist assault on our free speech, the nanny-staters’ effort to demand that you speak (and eventually think and behave) in a certain way. Their way.

For years, I listened to “traditional Republicans” wring their hands with worry over how they were going to be perceived in a campaign where the nominee would have to “go after” a woman (Hillary Clinton, specifically). Trump, speaking for millions, has no qualms about calling the former first lady an “enabler” of her disgusting husband’s way of life, and vigorously challenging her “credentials.”

No matter how uncomfortable he makes us, Trump will continue his fearless and strident attacks on Hillary Clinton’s utter lack of character, and the loathsome political correctness that protects her. It’s probably a winning formula. Who knew?

Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze newspapers


Sent my email to Senators Picard and Cote, Reps. Casey, Phillips, and Morin. Only the Senators responded to my email. No Reps responded. The Senators said...

Good Morning John:

I have consistently co-sponsored the ethics commission and line-item veto legislation, and I support the elimination of the grants.



Hey John,

I have no issue with line item veto- I believe there should be enough safeguards in this not to allow any type of vengeful act against any community. No issue with the ethic legislation. And if there is a vote to get rid of the legislative grants I would vote for it- however while they are in place I will continue to fight for organizations to obtain some.

Hope this helps.


EXCELLENT editorial, Tom! Finally, the PEOPLE are starting to wake up and realizing how so many of the POLITICIANS are taking advantage of our State's funding system.

Apparently, the GRANT activities are/were NOT being monitored as appropriately needed. Should we be surprised? Now that the TRUTH is being revealed, i. e., that certain POLITICIANS have been exposed, they are on the defensive! The PEOPLE are fed up with having their "intelligence" insulted! We can, somewhat, thank TRUMP for "waking up" many of them !

When voting in November, let's hope that the PEOPLE will REMEMBER those POLITICIANS who have been involved and exposed in situations such as the GRANT one, etc... Of course, we can't also forget the TOLL 'adventure'.

The Journal should be COMMENDED regarding their most recent articles regarding the GRANT situation-----and NOT CHASTISED for publishing the TRUTH!

What is it that when POLITICIANS "SCREW UP", they are making "mistakes" or "missteps" and usually suffer NO repercussions for their actions??? Also, when they TRY to give explanations for their MISMANAGEMENT, they always either BLAME others or try to JUSTIFY their actions through various "NEEDS" for their CONSTITUENTS or "THEE CHILDREN"! Enough said!

Again, great job regarding this article.


It is a golden moment for the speaker to stand up tall and fix the legislature. Another corrupt practice is that judges are selected from the ranks of lawyers who's sole purpose for being in the legislature is to create this path. This insures that the judiciary is corrupt as well and will do the bidding of the "leadership" there by abrogating our constitutional right for separation of powers.

Tom, thanks for this great article. Although people are starting to see the light the sad part is that there isn't enough of them to make a difference. I will be more than willing to bet you that come November not much will change regarding our elected officials. Why do I say that, because in this state there are far more people who are part of the problem in comparison to how many there are to want change. It's as simple as that. It's who we are Tom, corruption starts with the people, not the politicians. Our elected officials are not stupid people by any means. When it comes to corruption what they do and how the do it is what they know we the people will allow them to get away with. So there are far more people in this state that are living off the corruption than there are people who want change.