open letter newport ri
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To The Editor,

I am writing this letting in strong support of Mike Smith for State Senate in the District 13 special election next week. His core issues are not only what are needed for the towns of Newport and Jamestown, but are policies that will benefit the state as a whole. First and foremost, Mike recognizes that the towns in District 13 need to rely on most long-term economic strategy and less on quick-fix of the tourism. By enacting pro-job/pro-growth policies, this will help combat high taxes, regulation and cost-of-living that make the Ocean State one of the lowest-ranked states according to a number of recent studies. Furthermore, his focus on small-businesses issues, such as reducing the misuse of tax-dollars such as the legislative grant program still in effect, are just the type of policy goals that can make economic opportunity happen.

It is this reason above all that Mike Smith can be a vital change agent for The State House: the need for high ethics, honesty and transparency in our public officials. As many will recall, corruption hit home recently with the scandal of Raymond Gallison, the former Aquidneck-area State Representative and powerful chair House Finance Committee who pleaded guilty to nine federal counts, including of taking hundreds of thousands from the estate of a client, nearly $9,000 from a disabled individual’s trust fund, as well as misusing funds from his taxpayer-funded nonprofit, Alternative Educational Programming (AEP). This June, he was sentenced to 51 months in prison.

This story is one I followed with great interest, not only as a life-long Rhode Islander in the district, but also the last candidate to run against Mr. Gallison years before this scandal caught the eyes of federal investigators. In 2008 and 2010 I attempted to give voters a choice: stick with the status quo  business-as-usual, or give the people of the district a new vision, new ideas, and innovation in government for a better tomorrow. This was because the then-Rep. Gallison was in direct conflict of interest with his employment with the College Readiness Program and the continued state legislative grant funding to the Alternate Education Partnership (AEP). This showed itself in 2007 when Mr. Gallison’s failure to disclose this conflict came to surface with RI Ethics Commission.

Since my unsuccessful attempts at public office, I have continued to sound the clarion call for good, honest ethical people with new ideas and loyalty to all constituents and tax-payers to be elected to public office. It is for this that I urge all voters to elect Mike Smith to the State Senate next week; let us turn a page on corruption and self-interest and elect a true statesman to represent the people.

Will Sousa Grapentine
Bristol, RI
The views and opinions expressed in this letter are not those necessarily of What’sUpNewp or of its contributors, advertisers or partners. To submit a Letter To The Editor, e-mail Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.
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