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Harwood Says "All Options" on Table for Quonset (posted October 12, 2002)

Rhode Island House Speaker John Harwood says that "all options" are on the bargaining table for the development of Quonset Point. Speaking at the annual dinner of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, Harwood sought to appease South County legislators upset over his pushing of a container port at Quonset. Rather than continue to push a proposal that was unpopular with voters and with key legislators within his own party, Harwood signaled that the port proposal no longer would be the centerpiece of his economic development strategy.

The announcement was a concession on the Speaker's part that due to his personal scandal in the Wendy Collins case and his own declining popularity, he needed to remove some of the policy issues that have upset fellow legislators about his Speakership.

Even more telling was the Speaker's response when Governor Lincoln Almond called for passage of "separation of powers" legislation. With the audience and Senate Majority Leader William Irons applauding enthusiastically, a reluctant Harwood joined in the clapping even though he had an expression on his face that indicated he could not believe he was applauding a separation of powers bill.

It is doubtful that Harwood's speakership can survive the months of bad publicity he has gotten over his role in the Wendy Collins case. But the Speaker's policy moves on Quonset and separation of powers suggest he himself has not given up on his quest to hold onto his leadership position.
Copyright 2000Karen Martin Media Services