“There's also more of an ethical issue of why is there this position in state government that's one and only job is to sit around and wait for the governor to die?” - Kris Frieswick
As a Libertarian I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home or bedroom. Nor do I care what you choose to put in your own body. However, I am fiscally conservative, that is, I expect the government to run as lean as possible and I ask that they be good stewards of taxpayer money.
As our own state, and states across the country struggle with poor economic conditions I, like many before me, have to ask the question: “Do we really need a lieutenant governor?” several states say no, as do I; that’s why I’ve decided to run for said “office”.
As your next (and hopefully last) Lieutenant Governor I would be happy to serve voluntarily, but I would collect no salary and hire no staff, thereby saving taxpayers over $1 million for each year of the term (totaling $4 million over the term’s duration) I would also work toward abolishing the office of Lieutenant Governor.
If I win
Even should I win, a constitutional amendment would be needed to abolish the lieutenant governor’s office. Here's how the RI Constitution addresses the “job”"Article IV, Section 3: "When the governor-elect shall die, remove from the state, refuse to serve; become insane, or be otherwise incapacitated, the lieutenant governor-elect shall be qualified as governor at the beginning of the term for which the governor was elected.”Article IX, Section 9: “Section 9. Vacancy in office of governor. -- If the office of the governor shall be vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment or inability to serve, the lieutenant governor shall shall fill the office of governor, and exercise the powers and authority appertaining thereto, until a governor is qualified to act, or until the office is filled at the next election."
So, in essence, everybody who is seeking or gets elected to this office is simply using it for their own pet projects, while in reality, they have no actual power vested from the office. They are asking the taxpayers to pay them to hang out as they promote their own personal agenda, whatever it might be…on your dime.
We do have a Constitutional provision for the absence of a lieutenant governor:"Article IX, Section 10. Vacancies in both offices of governor and lieutenant governor. -- If the offices of governor and lieutenant governor be both vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, or inability to serve, the speaker of the house of representatives shall in like manner fill
the office of governor during such vacancy."
Now, I'm not a constitutional scholar, but it appears it would only take a simple amendment or revision to the RI Constitution to eliminate the office. Yes, there is precedence for this: Up until 2003, the lieutenant governor served as presiding officer of the RI State Senate, however in 2003 the Senate was allowed to elect its own officer (Art. VIII, Sec. 1 and 2). Moreover, a quick scan of the full text of the RI Constitution shows that there have been at least three articles repealed since its ratification.
I submit to you that Rhode Island does not need this office, and that by eliminating the Lieutenant Governorship we could save the taxpayers over $1 million per year.
My name is Matt Fecteau and I am seeking the Democratic Nomination for Rhode Island’s 1st District. I am the most progressive candidate in this race by far. Despite my progressive leanings, both Republicans and Democrats, including myself, can agree on some key issues. This will require compromise and consensus, not empty rhetoric and demagoguery.
We need leaders from both parties that will reach across the aisle and sincerely work together. Let’s get the job done by identifying key issues we all can agree on such as:
- tax reform. A broader, simplified tax code would benefit low income and middle class families, and also small businesses. We spend far too long on taxes each year and the tax code is too complex. In addition, our statutory tax rate is the highest in the world at 35%. Add in the additional state taxes of around 4% and we are looking at a tax rate of around 39%. We should look for ways to reduce this tax rate, and simplify the tax code. A significant amount of members from both parties agree here.
- reducing Government Waste. While Republicans and Democrats tend to disagree on whether the answer is less government or smarter government, both parties agree that reduction in waste and red tape would benefit the American people. Let’s keep refining our government to make it more efficient thus reducing unwarranted expenditures.
- reforming the Earn Income Tax Credit. Surprisingly, both Democrats and prominent Republicans such as Representative Paul Ryan believe the Earn Income Tax Credit penalizes married couples and individuals with no children living at or below the poverty line. Representative Ryan and the Democratic caucus have touched on this issue several times.
- a Payroll Tax Cut. Both parties have disagreements about whether we should increase the minimum wage, but instituting a payroll tax has attracted bipartisan support in the past and would be a de facto increase in the minimum wage. Tax cuts are popular with the Republican Party and Democrats want to increase the wages for the working class. Reinstituting the payroll tax cut is another area of agreement.
- investment in Our Infrastructure. Republicans and Democrats agree we need to invest and improve our infrastructure, but they have different ideas. The Republicans want to expand the powers and budget of the Department of Transportation while the Democrats and some prominent Republicans support an infrastructure bank. Regardless, both parties agree we need to do something about our infrastructure.
The War on al Qaeda. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that al Qaeda needs to be marginalized and eroded. This issue has the most bipartisan support of all.
- Reforming Minimum Sentencing Laws. Grover Norquist, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joined forces to introduce Justice Safety Valve Act which would give federal judges more federal leeway when handing down sentences considering our prison system is overcrowded by 40% and half of the federal offenders are nonviolent drug arrests. We need to continue to build momentum for this legislation going forward.
These issues will not solve all our problems nor are they a panacea for the gridlock in Congress, but they are reasonable starting points.
We should put aside partisan parlor tricks and focus on pragmatism over idealism. We won’t agree with everything, but pointing fingers only adds to the partisan gridlock in Congress. We need leaders who will work through this partisan congestion not contribute to the noise in Congress. The time for change is now and yes, this is also where we can agree too.
Matt Fecteau, Democrat for Congress contact info.
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