Letter: Former State Sen. Lenihan Praises Sheehan

Former State Sen. J. Michael Lenihan praises the work of Sen. James Sheehan.

Dear editor, 

In the 40 years of my public service, I’ve served with hundreds of colleagues.  Rarely have I had the opportunity, however, to serve with one as determined and relentless in pursuit of honorable goals as Sen. James Sheehan.  Once Jim has studied a problem and selected the best options to address that problem, he will pursue his options purposefully and creatively.  

Jim and I have had the opportunity to work together on many issues affecting the community and our state such as Separation of Powers, ethics disclosure laws, Narragansett Water quality, government accountability and oversight, economic development and so on.  In working together, Jim Sheehan has shown himself to be an ardent, intelligent and effective legislator. 

As a case in point, for a number of years I labored to make government records more transparent and open to the public as a means to increase greater public accountability.  When I retired from the Senate, Jim undertook the enormous task of getting this important piece of contentious legislation approved.  Jim went straight to work, gaining a depth of understanding of both the critical issues involved as well as the very disparate stakeholder groups tugging in various directions.   Jim, working with his counterpart in the House, managed to bring all parties to the table, finding common ground where there had been little room for compromise before.  Two years later, Senator Jim Sheehan successfully won passage of landmark Access to Public Records law, setting our state head and shoulders above many other states in terms of open government. 

This issue illustrates how Jim is willing to work with his colleagues to reach the accommodations necessary for passage of good legislation.  Jim knows that compromise is one of the currencies in which representative democracy trades.  However, Jim will not compromise where his principles are involved.  In both public and private I have seen Jim stand up to the attacks, disapproval and confrontation of others because he refused to retreat from his standards of right and wrong in government.  

In conclusion, it should be said that North Kingstown and Narragansett share a senator to whom ethics is more than just a word in the dictionary, to whom hard work is no stranger and to whom service is a watchword.  I don’t write letters of endorsement very often but in Jim Sheehan’s case I do so without reservation. 

J. Michael Lenihan

East Greenwich

State Senator, Retired, District 35

Govstench October 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I have to question the need for this former senator to come out to endorse Sheehan. I sense Sheehan may have put out the "help" request because he is in trouble. How Mr. Lenihan can support this person who is challenged by his ethical stand on voting for binding arbitration for teacher's wages when he himself is a school teacher. That just doesn't square it. His own voting record follows the tired tax and spend policies of his party and is driving this state to fiscal ruin. There is not one state budget that showed a significant cut in spending. Even when the great recession hit in 2008, the budget figures were carried over from 2007 - no cuts, no savings to the taxpayers. The state is in serious trouble and is heading for a fiscal cliff itself and it is the party in charge that is responsible. The state is hooked into the federal government spending machine and supports the state budget by 1/3! What happens when the FEDS cut their spending to the states? RI is overtaxed now and cannot compensate that much of a drop in revenue. Sheehan doesn't challenge these budgets, just rubber stamps them under orders of the leadership. Perhaps the people are finally figuring out what is going on at the state house.
Jason Demers October 17, 2012 at 03:42 PM
The Propaganda never ends Govstench. You should have worked for the Soviet paper Pravda. Sheehan is a fiscally responsible legislator who has voted against budgets not to mention voted for pension reform saving the state literally billions! You Tea Party folks just can't deal in fact or evidence. Why don't you actually research Senator Sheehan's record, instead of spewing your right wing venom. Oh, that's right you are in the pocket of Tea Party Republican Tina McKendall. Politics as usual!
Jason Demers October 17, 2012 at 03:44 PM
PS: For anyone seeking to know what a phony Govstench is just go to: www.senatorsheehan.com
Lotta Krapp October 17, 2012 at 06:05 PM
I have to question the validity of Govstench who is fixated on the fact that Sen Sheehan is a teacher.This obsession in every comment shows govstench to manifest a fixation or obsession that can manifest itself in a pathological form. It is also apparent govstench is jealous. Everyone has a write to write an opinion and who has better credentials than the person who had the job before the Senator. Writing opinions is a right for every citizen if they wish to exercise their point of view. IF Senator Lenihan wishes to inform people of his district that Sen Sheehan is an ethical hardworking senator and wishes to endorse the good work of the senator, that is his right. I would find Sen Lenihan's words more credible than the BS jelaous exaggerated untruths of govstench anytime anywhere on any subject. Sen Lenihan has legal, social and ethical principals and standards of his own. If he felt Jim Sheehan was not doing a good job, rest assured you would not find his opinion here. The people who have had the job and the experience are the people who have more of a right to speak up than those who have No political experiences or credentials. Sen Lenihan has real facts; all govstench has are emotional rantings based on jealousy.
Catherine Powers October 17, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Sen. Lenihan is an upstanding, honest, hardworking public servant – VERY few people could even hold a candle to his integrity. His endorsement of Sen. Sheehan is spot on. Imagine for a moment NK being represented by Costa, Erhardt, Hodgson, and McKendall?! Nothing would have a chance in hell of getting passed, especially in the Senate! Sen. Hodgson is loathed by the Senate leadership and McKendall would get eaten alive – both are “my way or the highway” types; even if Erhardt passed a bill in the House it would never get through the Senate. Sheehan was the one who got the Wickford Arts bill passed in the Senate, but Erhardt couldn’t even get a HEARING in the House – a shame, it was a good bill to start revitalizing Wickford meaning the only one fighting for a revitalization of NK’s economy was Sheehan! If McKendall is elected and Erhardt gets the Arts bill passed in the House next session, it is going to die in the Senate and won’t be revisited for 2 more years! Costa’s record is ZERO bills passed in TWO years!! (except a pro forma NK bond issue.) The Arts bill is just one example! A McKendall/Hodgson team would make NK and NAR completely IRRELEVANT and INVISIBLE for two years…I want to do anything I can to make sure that these two towns are NOT on the outside looking in! And that must include re-electing Senator Sheehan, even if you don’t agree with all of his votes. NK and NAR can’t afford ineffective representation for two years!
Govstench October 18, 2012 at 07:13 PM
@Lotta Krapp - your comments fits your blog name. Just go back to the 2011 Senate journal when the Senate pushed that bill through for the teachers. Sheehan likes to tout his position on ethics but then violates his own position by voting on that bill. Any Senator who is a teacher and was confronted with that bill should have recused themselves. That is ethical behavior! It's that simple. Making smart remarks about the facts, which are accurate if you would take the time to enlighten yourself, just indicates to me how biased your really are. I am fully aware who the people are on this website. They are entitled to their opinions on the issues but I choose to ignore the negative comments as it only underscores their ignorance or their choice to accept the facts. They may also have a hidden agenda which is of no interest to me.
magician October 19, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Mr. Lenihan had an excellent record as senator. He is a stand-up guy who has never been into the bs. He carved out a place for himself on smith hill that few can even attempt to follow. When he retired we all lost and he has not been replaced. He understood the need to move the needle even if it was not a popular position. Many of today's so called leaders would do well to follow his lead. As for you govstench--you are simply a republican shill who doesn't even live in NK. You are so typical of the nut balls that have infested the political landscape. Whether it be the right or left it doesn't matter, it's still political pollution. You do a disservice which only fuels your self importance.
Catherine Powers October 19, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Hey Govstench, how are you going to defend your girl Tina now? I read in the paper today that she flat out LIED about filing her campaign finance report. She claimed she turned it in before it was even due, but her story was not corroborated by the campaign finance director who reiterated that she never turned it in. So much for transparency, huh? Guess she might turn out to be a crooked politician after all...if she were more skilled she would have come up with a good excuse why she never filed, but no, a bold faced lie...can you smell the stink 'Stench?
CompassCarrier October 19, 2012 at 12:54 PM
And take a look at who's contributing to Ms McKendall: CHARLIE STAMM, Judy (wife of Jim) Mcguire, Will King, Sharon Gamba..........
Catherine Powers October 19, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Very astute comment Compass - you did forget one name however, the illustrious Gov. Donald Carcieri, the unequivocal architect of the 38 Studios fiasco and chairman of the EDC board when the EDC BOARD approved the $75 mil to 38. It's funny how he quickly went into hiding and has yet to answer questions; however glad to see he was able to emerge for Ms. McKendall's fundraiser! I guess you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep :-)


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