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To the Editor,

Since returning to Newport a few years ago, after a career in public policy in Washington, I resumed an interest in working here on issues that I care about, concentrating on waterfront and coastal access, environmental protection, and transportation planning.  As I got more involved, one name kept coming up as a person I should meet with, State Representative Lauren Carson.  

Lauren was a key leader on two legislative commissions important to all Newporters: one dealing with improving the operations of the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and a second dealing with lateral access along the shore. While State House commissions are often places where good ideas go to die, both of these commissions delivered results.  Due to Lauren’s efforts, the CRMC commission’s work has already resulted in increased funding that will improve the integrity of the hearing process and increase enforcement. 

The lateral access commission succeeded far beyond the expectations of most observers and achieved a common-sense consensus: that the existing coastal boundary definition is obsolete and should be replaced by an easily recognizable, observable, and traditional reference, the “Recognizable High Tide Line,” along with an adequate landward extension of the right to allow dry lateral shoreline access.  The bill to implement this new definition was passed unanimously by the House.  While the House bill passed too late for the Senate to act before adjourning, it will be a top priority in the next session of the Assembly.  Lauren’s continued leadership will be crucial in getting this needed legislation over the finish line.

Lauren has a proven track record of delivering for her constituents on other issues as well.  One notable legislative accomplishment was the passage of enabling legislation for Newport to create a two-tiered property tax system for residents and non-residents.  Lauren also led efforts to address the impacts of short-term rentals by championing a bill that requires the owners of such properties to register them with the State, and she demonstrated her independence by rallying support to override the Governor’s veto of this much-needed legislation

Lauren is interested, energetic, available, and responsive to her constituents.  While she is running unopposed this year, she is nonetheless most worthy of your support when you vote in the upcoming general election.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Gibson,  Jr., Newport resident

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