I was relieved to see House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello garner the votes to keep his position as the “most powerful person in RI state government.” Yes, you read that correctly.
According to reports, after a Demcortic caucus, Mattiello received 44 votes to remain Speaker. There were 21 representatives in opposition.
First, let’s get something out of the way. Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and I have had our differences. Some might have even called them irreconcilable differences.
Oh, you don’t believe me? Have you seen this? http://www.golocalprov.com/politics/moore-speaker-mattiello-should-resign-over-38-studios
(I never thought that Speaker Mattiello would step down. But boy, that one sure did garner a lot of page views. Mission Accomplished!)
Times change. To that end, allow me to quote that great philosopher, Albus Dumbledore, in saying that “recent events must be taken into account”.
Those events I speak of are the reelection of a progressive governor, Gina Raimondo, whose idea of economic development is handing out taxpayer money to politically connected businesses. The Senate is run by progressives who think government is the answer to all our problems. (It’s not. It’s the cause of them.) The so-called progressives (socialists) made gains in both houses of the legislature.
Better Than Realistic Alternatives
And if Mattiello was deposed as Speaker, the next person might be even more leftist than the Senate!
Of course I get people’s frustration. Yes, Mattiello runs the House of Representatives in an antiquated, almost Byzantine fashion. Of course there could be more transparency.
I don’t like the truck tolls on our highways impeding interstate commerce. But Mattiello, for his part, did work to mitigate their impact on the economy. He deserves a modicum of credit for that.
I was certainly not a fan of the Pawsox legislation that passed the House of Representatives. But it was clearly less devastating to taxpayers than the Senate’s version. And it defacto protected taxpayers entirely, since it was so stingy that the Pawtucket Red Sox were compelled to rip off Massachusetts taxpayers instead. He deserves credit for that.
Speaker Mattiello passed several good government initiatives–most importantly the bill that allowed the restoration of the RI Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction over the state legislature. Yes, he mostly caved to pressure from good government advocates like myself, but he still did it. (http://www.golocalprov.com/politics/moore-call-on-mattiello-to-pass-ethics-bill)
And then there’s the car tax. I support the Speaker’s initiatives to fully phase-out that regressive tax 100-percent. That will keep more money in taxpayer’s pockets. It’s good for the economy. He deserves credit for that.
Good Government Bills
Of course Speaker Mattiello isn’t the best man for the job. That distinction would go to presumptive Republican Minority Leader Blake Filippi. (John Lombardi would also make an excellent Speaker.)
But government is about compromise. That means we need to make sure we don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I believe Mattiello is being treated unfairly over this business between Representatives Cale Keable and Katherine Kazarian. Kazarian has accused to Keable of sexual harassment.
Progressives are somehow insinuating that Mattiello didn’t do enough to punish Keable. But Keable isn’t his employee. The state representatives don’t work for the Speaker. And the things she accuses him of supposedly occurred outside of the statehouse.How is that Mattiello’s issue?
In the end, Mattiello has referred to himself as a “firewall” against state progressives. I can’t say he’s wrong. That’s why Rhode Islanders are better off with him as Speaker than some other leftist who might have taken over.