Letter to the Editor: What Does ‘Representation’ Mean to Caldwell? 

by | Oct 6, 2020

Submitted by Anthony Giarrusso

When it comes to representing the taxpayers and the needs of our local communities … Justine Caldwell has failed us.

My opponent, who is running for House District 30, lives in an alternate reality from me and the residents of East Greenwich and West Greenwich. I am seeking to return to the House of Representatives as over the past two years our voices have been blatantly ignored – to the taxpayer’s detriment and to the detriment of the municipal operations of our wonderful communities. 

For example:

 In July 2020, an annual report was issued, measuring how often legislators vote lock-step in support of a special interest agenda at the State House. In 2019, the last full General Assembly session, Caldwell voted with lawsuit-challenged Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, 99.1 percent of the time. That may be great for Cranston but has had dire consequences for the solvency of our town budgets and powers to negotiate. Caldwell put our municipal leaders in a fiscal disadvantage and a negotiation stranglehold when she voted for the union-sponsored Evergreen Bill and the recent Fireman’s Healthcare Bill – both votes cast against the will of East Greenwich and West Greenwich town managers and the taxpayers of Rhode Island. These bills are now headed to court, costing our towns unnecessary and costly legal fees. She also refused a request by the West Greenwich Town Manager to attend a crucial meeting that needed state-level insights and input. This is not responsive representation.

For the past seven months, Caldwell and her fellow Democrats have done nothing. They have been MIA with zero representation and zero checks and balances on the governor’s onerous government by Executive Order during the COVID pandemic. As hundreds of our elderly died in our nursing homes, there was zero legislative oversight on behalf of our most vulnerable. There have been zero calls to action by Caldwell to properly distribute the $1.25B federal CARES Act funds to upgrade our schools, which would have served as a means of safe in-person return to class for our students and teachers. She sits on the sidelines, as our struggling, and sadly closing, taxpaying small businesses are denied the designated federal funds that were intended to help our failing economy – instead, supporting the governor and the speaker in coveting those monies to cover up and fill in their $900M state budget deficit. A deficit created prior to COVID due to the gross mismanagement of core government functions and special interest programs. This is not effective representation.

Despite a taxpayer-funded independent study finding that there is an astonishing $600M taxpayer overpayment to IGT/Twin River within the proposed 20-year no-bid gaming contract, she has been silent. There has been a widely reported $20M shortfall in the operations of the Convention Center – again she has been silent in calling for an audit. Every one of these examples of mismanaged taxpayer dollars have a direct impact on your wallets, on our infrastructure, education quality and on our social services. This is absent representation.

Caldwell and the House Democrats own this fiasco after fiasco. As a result, many state programs, services and jobs will need to be cut. This is not thoughtful. This is not leadership. This is not representation.

So, I ask you – who is Caldwell representing, your best interest, the special interests or the speaker’s interests? You decide.

Anthony Giarrusso is running for House Dist. 30 as a Republican. 

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