It appears Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy, D-Westerly, who represents most of the land mass of Hopkinton and the northern part of Westerly, needs to represent his area better. His Democratic Party has controlled state government for decades, although the Republicans have won the governorship from time to time. The Democrats have controlled the Rhode Island House of Representatives since January 1941; approaching 80 years!
He is obviously close to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, D-Cranston, otherwise he would not be Speaker Pro Tempore. I will acknowledge he is also the “Dean of the House,” the longest continuous serving member of that body. What does his district really have to show for that length of time? He has been in office since January 1989. I realize the district lines have changed over time.
Rep. Kennedy is the only Rhode Island state legislator in the Chariho region who supported the toll proposal passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly. The telling thing about that vote, regardless of arguments in favor of it, is it was rushed through. That vote was not an emergency!
It is interesting that when the “powers that be” want something, it can really move in Rhode Island. Why are you for the tolls, Rep. Kennedy, and why was it crucial to have had a quick vote? Where does your loyalty lie, with your constituents, or maintaining your status with the leadership position in the Rhode Island House of Representatives? Why are tolls slated for our part of Rhode Island, and the northern part of the state? Is this just another example of South County getting the short end of the stick, Rep. Kennedy? Rep. Kennedy, what did you do to prevent this kind of treatment for South County?
On Tuesday, Nov. 22, a hearing was held at the Chariho Middle School about the proposed tolls. Rep. Kennedy was absent. As a local legislator and the leading toll proponent in the Chariho region, at the very least he could have attended. He needs to face his constituents on this matter. Sen. Elaine Morgan, R-Hopkinton, was there, and Rhode Island House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, R-West Warwick, was there, as well as another Republican state legislator. Out of fairness to Rep. Kennedy, not all Chariho area state legislators were present. I was not present myself, as I was at work.
Public works have for the most part been neglected in our state. It has not been the priority it should have been over a period of years, if not decades. Interest on issues like education and other matters always seem to take precedence, and public works becomes a lesser priority. Good roads, bridges, and the like, are important to our state as well as good schools and other things.
Speaking of priorities, Rep. Kennedy, where do you stand on the Pawtucket Red Sox stadium deal? I assume you are for it, and sitting mum, as the power players in your party seem to be for it. What real financial benefit will it have for Rhode Island? Also, Rep. Kennedy, to what extent should Rhode Island finance private businesses, like the Pawtucket Red Sox?
It appears the power players are getting nervous about that deal. That stadium deal is something you are quite quiet on, Rep. Kennedy!
I will close by noting that Rep. Kennedy is not that much of a frequent sight locally; he needs to spend more time locally and seeing his constituents.
Scott Bill Hirst
The writer is Hopkinton town moderator and chairperson of the Hopkinton Republican Town Committee.