Assembly Rolling Back Reform, Almond Says (posted June 4, 2000)
Speaking on WPRI's "Newsmakers" television show today with Jack White and Scott MacKay, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Almond accused the General Assembly of rolling back the reform movement in voting to support a ballot measure allowing citizens to reconsider their previous vote to reduce the size of the legislature. Enacted earlier this decade by state voters, legislative downsizing was part of a more general movement toward four-year terms for state officeholders, reforms in the way Supreme Court justices were chosen, ethics reform, and campaign finance reform.
Talking about the House's decision to put the downsizing measure back on the ballot for a second vote, Almond said "it is an error" and indicated he feared the move was part of a more general effort to roll back a series of political reforms enacted over the course of the 1990s designed to improve the functioning of the political system. He said that legislators were merely worried about incumbents having to run against one another in a downsized legislature and that the real problem in the Assembly is "lack of competition in electoral office." Almond stated that if the downsizing measure goes on the ballot, he would campaign against it as an anti-reform move.
In other items, Almond also described his legacy as governor as a strong position on child care, investing in higher education, building the Economic Policy Council, creating a Centers of Excellence program, funding transportation, lessening debt, cleaning and paving roads, repairing the state's infrastructure, cutting taxes, presiding over historic employment level, diversifying the economy, and getting the state's fiscal house in order without tax increases.