Fecteau: The Dramatic Fall of Laufton Ascencao

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Democrat State representative-elect Laufton Ascencao made a stupid mistake. He promised to send out a mailer supporting Democratic candidates, failed to do so, and then tried to cover it up. That’s really stupid.

Ironically, one of his concerns with the Democratic incumbent state Rep. Kenny Marshall that he was misusing taxpayer money, and yet, here we are with Ascencao. 

Ascencao was supposed to a rising star in Rhode Island progressive circles. He managed a number of progressive state campaigns; had the experience to make a great legislator, and even voted against the dreaded conservative House Speaker Rep. Nicholas Mattiello. This was a progressive that other progressives would hope to change our state for the better.

Ascencao could have saved face by admitting his mistake from the beginning. He did not. Now, he may face a criminal investigation. He also voluntarily forfeited his house seat. Now, another special election must be held to fill it; costing the taxpayers even more money.

My Take

Here is how I think it went down. The campaign consumed Ascencao, and he did not send out a mailer. He either forgot or he didn’t have time. After which time, he freaked out and made up an elaborate story. To make his story believable, he then faked an invoice to prove he sent out the mailer he did not. (Did I mention just how stupid this was?)

While this progressive political star dimmed just a little bit, this is Rhode Island. Rhode Islanders have a way to forgive and let’s be honest, forget people’s mistakes. Rhode Island has a long list of current and former officeholders that can attest to that. Ascencao made a mistake, and he confessed his mistake. Perhaps there should be an investigation to determine criminality, but that is at the discretion of the state and local authorities.

Lessons Learned?

Ascencao is down, but, hopefully, we will see him again in the future, but next time, a little bit wiser.

We need to do ourselves a favor and cease from perennially condemning each other especially when the party or parties accepted responsibility, and made penance for their mistake. After all, no one is perfect, not Ascencao or even me – if you can believe that.

It’s the holiday season. Let he who is without sin, and all that. We all make mistakes. So let’s learn from our own, as well as his.

 

Matthew Fecteau
Matt Fecteau of Pawtucket, Rhode Island is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and an Iraq War veteran. Send him email at Matthew.Fecteau@gmail.com
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