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  • Stacey Weinstein

Who we elect matters

It is easy to get stuck in the negativity of the events happening in and around our country, and too easy to lose sight of the good. I am not sure how to begin this, or if there are even words that grasp the range of emotions I am feeling after last Friday’s news about Roe V. Wade, so for that reason I am not going to talk about the hurt, anger and fear I feel, but instead I am going to focus on what I think needs to be heard: the gratefulness I felt for the work of the people I have voted for, supported and elected to represent me.

Days after the Parkland Florida shooting former Governor Raimondo became the first in the country to sign an executive order putting a “Red Flag” law in place which allows police to petition the courts to remove a gun from a person who may be considered a danger to themselves or others. Following that in June 2018 our Reps and Senators at the statehouse worked quickly, effectively, and collaboratively to pass both a bill which made the “Reg Flag” law permanent as well as ban on bump stocks, the type of gun stock used in a 2017 Las Vegas shooting which left 60 people dead. After just one year of the Red Flag law being passed it was used 21 times.

In 2018 when outwardly conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh was sworn into the Supreme Court, it lit a fire of panic in the Rhode Islanders and in the statehouse. Almost exactly 3 years ago now, in June of 2019 the RI congress passed a law which codified Roe V. Wade in Rhode Island in fear that what finally happened this past Friday, would be inevitable with now conservative majority Supreme Court (a body, by the way, whose goal is impartiality by the way).

While my heart genuinely breaks for citizens of other states, I recognize that without that action by our elected representatives at the Statehouse Friday’s news would have been much more concerning for Rhode Islanders.

The bottom line is that who we elect matters. To that end I want to take this moment to thank the elected officials up and down the ballet who have not only relentlessly defended the rights and beliefs that they promised to, but also the accomplishments they have made while doing so. In particular that means a big thank you to my Senator, Bridget Valverde, who testified at the Senate Judicial committee hearings alongside hundreds of other constituents who urged the committee to pass the measure.

Thank you to Rep. Bob Craven, who as the head of the House Judiciary Chair led his committee to pass this important measure. Thank you to the Town Council, who with a Democratic majority have been able to accomplish so much in the past two years. I have been in Virginia these past almost 2 years, and to be able to see the progress this council has made around town is incredible. And thank you for the things we cannot yet see, in particular thank you to Councilor Katie Anderson who helped to secure a grant which has brought hundreds of thousands of dollars to the town to protect its coastline.

And a special thank you to the School Committee, who despite a horrendous situation coming to light over the past few months, has managed to maintain one of the state's best school systems for over 20 years now. Who, despite being wrongfully underfunded at times by the town council, has managed to uphold a superior education system in our community. Who through a pandemic, and again an underfunded school budget from the Town (even though I fought tooth and nail for their full ask) was able to keep kids in our community both safe and engaged. (I would also like to throw a thank you to the teachers in our system who I have seen firsthand make that possible too.)

The strength of our community is in large part due to the people we have elected to uphold the values we deeply care about. This fall we have the opportunity once again to ensure the ideals of our community are being defended, because we all know there is still so much work to be done. Please get out and vote, because it truly does matter.


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