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Letter: I Want a Senator With Commitment

One North Kingstown resident explains why she supports Sen. Sheehan.

I first came to know Senator Jim Sheehan through his leading the opposition to defeat the mega container port at Quonset years ago. I've been following him since, and am pleased that he doesn't just oppose things, he helps build them, too. Years ago, he was a staunch advocate of building out the new roads and rails at Quonset which now boasts well over 8,000 jobs!  Senator Sheehan championed Separation of Powers, opening public records to public scrutiny, quasi public agency reform, eminent domain reform etc... No wonder he was twice named the top good government legislator by nonpartisan Common Cause.  

In these trying times, Senator Sheehan successfully opposed the Governor's new sales, hotel and meals taxes!  He has also been a leader in turning our economy around, earning the NFIB Friend of Small Business Award with his red tape cutting new law.

Locally, Senator Sheehan sponsored the Senate law to create a license plate to help fund the restoration of the Plum Beach lighthouse. More recently he proposed to get Wickford declared a tax-free Arts District, which I think will help the galleries and art dealers there, and has helped countless constituents who turned to him for help.

It's easy to be angry at the government these days, and some candidates have nothing to offer but anger. Much harder is the arduous work of making steady progress year in year out.  No one gets to change things all at once just by demanding it. You have to sit through meetings and hearings and persuade your colleagues and skeptical voters. I want a Senator with a commitment to doing that kind of work, and Jim Sheehan is exactly that. 

Edna O'Neill Mattson

North Kingstown, RI

Govstench October 15, 2012 at 06:54 PM
He has also been a leader in turning our economy around? Are you kidding me? He has been in office for 12 years and voted for every budget - 85% increase in spending. Have you gotten pay raises to equal that figure? I doubt it. Sheehan has some positive points but he has many bad ones which out number the good ones. He likes to champion that he is a supporter of ethics but then votes for every teacher bill put before him. He is a Warwick history teacher - how unethical is that? He may have proposed some good legislation but his voting records says otherwise. People have grown tired of the "Chartering the Course to ruin."
Jack Brophy October 15, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Govstench, First of all, you are showing your naiveté. Have your home expenses gone DOWN over the past 12 years? If one has 20 different expense items and each go up a mere 2.5% per year, that’s a 50% increase, no? Surely you know that prices go up over time and that, as a percentage of where you start the calculations (in the case you make, 12 years ago), an 85% increase can occur by just maintaining the same services and adjusting for inflation. As far as your other points, do you mean like when Sheehan voted FOR pension reform, slashing his OWN (teacher’s) pension dramatically? He had nothing to do with the laws enacted some 50 years ago that put RI that position, but he certainly is bearing the brunt (personally). How would you like your employer to promise you a pension, then some 15-20 years later renege on that promise, bc the government acted irresponsibly (long before you ever arrived on the scene). I’m sure you would have voted to hurt your own pocketbook…and, he has taken no Senate pay or healthcare stipend for many years, as well. As you can see, when Sheehan can make the decision unilaterally, he does what citizens would want a good, solid, honest Senator to do. You underestimate what the other Senators do at the State House. He often fights the tide – and, with many successes for NK/Narr. McKendall, as a radical Tea Partier, won’t even get the attention of her own party! That won’t help anyone in District 36.
cranston taxpayer October 15, 2012 at 11:16 PM
You,govstench, are so obsessed with the good senator that you are no longer credible. We readers don't like emotional rantings where you fixate every article with the senator being a teacher.That is so sick. You speak of him being in conflict of interest to which he is not. Why don't you rant and rave about Rep Trillo who made laws on fire codes and voted on them when he owns a fire alarm business. Why don't you criticize your idol TeaParty Tina, when she supports no regulations on business when her hubby owns a business? Now that is a conflict of interest. It is also unethical to run for an office where you benefit yourself. So don't expound on ethics of others when you have none of your own. People on this site are growing tired of your one man crusade on a man who works hard for his constituents. Go peddle your unfounded criticisms and dribble elsewhere.
Jim Lawrence October 16, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Sheehan is as phony as a three dollar bill. That he voted for pension reform is simply of a matter of 1) it was popular 2) it was going to pass anyway He is among the worse, least genuine, democrat-stooges in RI. Charting The Course To Ruin <= THAT is a RIOT! So true!
Jack Brophy October 16, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Jim, to suggest Sen. Sheehan is among the “least genuine” … (people or Senators) in RI suggests you know him personally? Do you know him personally? If you did, you would not be making such frivolous assertions. Feel free to attack his record, but how about keeping the personal attacks to yourself? It clearly shows a bias on your part and renders your “arguments” less than credible. By the way, ask Gina R is Sen. Sheehan was only along for the ride on the legislation or a positive instrument is such legislation. I think you'd eat your words after that conversation...
Govstench October 17, 2012 at 11:57 AM
@Jack. First, thank you for the complement. Regarding the 85% figure, that is very accurate and does cover the 12 years Sheehan has been in office. Just taking the average per year increase, that's 7%! Have you received a 7% pay raise each year? I doubt it. The problem with state spending is the legislators, including Sheehan, don't know how to challenge or cut a budget. They rubber stamp the budget each year. The only time the Senate challenged a Supplemental budget was when Rep. Constantino tried to slide the 38 studios deal through using Article 7. That is fact! Regarding the pension, yes my employer also changed the game on pensions in the early 90s. Think back when IBM made changes and were going to abandon their plan for a 401K. There was significant pushback on that and agreed to keep a plan A but then started a plan B. The 401K still came in. Government is running 20 years behind the private sector with these benefits. The taxpayers cannot expect to pay for these high benefits when their own ends have been cut. I follow Sheehan's voting record along with the others and I don't find him impressive at all. He may file good bills but he doesn't take the time or effort to get them through the houses. 2/3 of that senate should be turned away next month for the damage they have done to this state. It's just too bad the people don't take the time to look up their records to see what they have been doing.
Govstench October 17, 2012 at 12:02 PM
@jo ann: If you think that a working teacher, sitting as an elected senator voting for binding arbitration for wages is not a conflict of interest, then I would say you have a skewed view. I do not respond to personal attacks on me as it just shows how small the writer of those really are. The unfounded criticisms and dribble, as you call it, are facts. Do the research, it speaks for itself.

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