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The Status Quo Hires A Spokesman!

Democrats were smart to hire one of R.I.'s best lobbyist / PR men to speak on their behalf in the upcoming campaign: If they were left alone to run on their record, there wouldn't be much good to say.


Bill Fischer is one of the more skilled and reputable lobbyist – public affairs professionals I’ve interacted with at the State House. The Democratic Party recently engaged his services to speak on their behalf during the 2012 campaign.  It was a smart move, driven I suspect, by a realization that if their incumbents are left to just run on their records, there isn’t much good to say. No jobs. No prosperity. No trust in government. On the state and federal level, status-quo leaders have consistently failed to deliver. 

On the federal side, each of our current delegation has made it clear that they will continue to toe the party line. Right or wrong on specific issues, their unified dogmatic approach does not serve our state or country well. Partisan demagoguery will not fix this country, just the opposite. We need to elect people who are willing to fight for the middle ground of American politics, because that is where real leadership happens.   

Our Republican candidates are those high-quality leaders who embrace the middle ground. Barry Hinckley is a proven job creator who also happens to be pro-choice and pro-gay rights. Brendan Doherty is a public servant of unimpeachable character in a district where that is a major issue. He supports the middle road Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan over Paul Ryan’s plan (which has been embraced a higher decibel level by many in the party). Drawing on his financial expertise, Michael Riley has put forth his own plan to stabilize the dollar, which includes having oil companies who drill public land pay in to shore up Medicare and Social Security. These are quality candidates who offer to serve our state with real ideas and leadership. Mr. Fischer’s job is to tear them down.

Fischer is certainly an interesting choice to speak for the General Assembly Democrats (who usually depend on their state-employed spokesmen to make their case). As the lobbyist for a forward-thinking group called Democrats for Education Reform and recently as spokesman for Marriage Equality Rhode Island, he has seen each of his principled causes torpedoed by the politicians he now represents. It’s obviously a mercenary sort of business. In the shadow of 38 Studios, perpetual joblessness and America’s worst business environment, Mr. Fischer will certainly earn his fee if he can sell this message to R.I. voters one more time: “Everything will get better as long as we don’t change anything.”

Clearly, the status quo is not working. To get real change we need new leaders.   I’ve put my own professional life on hold to build a legislative record that supports a different vision of leadership than what we have now: a clean, competent government that makes responsible long-term decisions and remains accountable to the people. It’s a vision that requires hard work and sacrifice in and out of government. It requires good people with thick skins and strong constitutions to step forward and lead from the middle. That’s is the tradition of New England Republicanism that once upon a time Rhode Island was willing to embrace. If only we had a spokesman!   

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Joe B. September 04, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Please explain to me how making RI a "Right to work State" will lower unemployement. Thank you.
Lori Grayson September 04, 2012 at 08:27 PM
funny ;)
Ted Geisel September 05, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Hi Joe B. RI has about 79,000 union employees. As a percentage of the population that is 6th highest in the country and highest overall in New England. Ie... States that we compete with for businesses. Now lets says they pay an average of $35 a month in union dues. $420 dollars a year that they will never see in the paycheck. That's slightly over $33 million a year that unions are taking from the workers here in RI. I realize unions have expenses. Out of that $33 Million the unions have spent less that $400,000 on the elections but most year it's not that much. So where is the other money going? Collective bargaining? Okay? Some of it. The majority of that money is going out of state to support the national unions & is being spent in "battleground" states. $30+ million a year just being syphoned out of the economy, year after year. It's certainly not enough money to fix everything but it's a start & it would help our economy instead of states out west. Not everyone shares the same political beliefs, I understand that. So let me ask you this Joe B... Is it ethical to force someone to pay into a system that contributes almost exclusively to one party? Plus unions are losing their clout. Look at North Carolina and the DNC. When was the last time the Democrats had their convention in a right to work state? Nationally the Democrats have figured out the unions are gong to give them money no matter what, who else are they going to give it too?
Jim Halsband September 05, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Union or no union, there are no jobs in RI for anyone! There are none being created, just businesses failing due to the lack of business climate and leadership. I have been trying to bring new technology into RI for a year and a half. Tech that takes waste plastic and turns it back into oil for about 30 cents a gallon, my machines create jobs, reduce landfills, and provides cheap oil. I have approached our elected officials but they are dealing with spin control for giving 38 Studio $75 million. Here is what $75 million would do for our RI economy if was allocated to recycling plastic, it would provide for purchase and installation of 7 systems that would each process and convert 42 tons of plastic every day on a continuous 24-hr basis or close to 300 tons per day and produce about 70,000 gallons of light sweet crude oil, basically an home heating oil equivalent, per day! For about 30 cents per gallon! The long math on that is based on $3.00/gallon value, not sure what today's spot price of heating oil is but $3.00 is a low estimate, so we will use that figure to be conservative and not inflate any projections, and we will not project any rising oil costs, simply for sake of argument. (20 years ago oil was $17/bbl, today it is $94/bbl). 70,000 gallons of oil produced daily times 365 days/year times 20 years times a constant fixed gallon price of $3.00 comes to a grand total of $1,533,000,000, a billion and a half in revenue from an initial capital investment of $75 mil!
Jim Halsband September 05, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I ran out of time before the job creation aspect could be mentioned, these systems are automated but still require operators, technicians and service people, plus in the very near future, assembly and manufacture will be coming to the US to satisfy the demand this technology will create. Why not bring RI into the conversation for being the epicenter for manufacturing and assembly of this new tech, training centers for technicians and installers. Careers in civil and environmental engineering would no doubt add to the long term economic development in RI, this is the next big thing on the economic horizon, and I can be reached on our site, E-N-ergy(dot)com! Take a look at the future next time you dispose of a single use Dunkin Donuts coffee cup!
Jim Halsband September 05, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I guess I went a little off topic on the union or non-union thing, oh well, with no jobs, it's not an issue! For anyone who remembers the famous advice to Benjamin Braddock in the film, "The Graduate"......"plastics!" Still rings true!
Patrick Murray September 05, 2012 at 03:47 PM
The only action that will save our state is Right to Work legislation... We are close to becoming 51st in worst state to do business.. Puerto Rico has a strong recovery going... God save our state...
Jim Halsband September 05, 2012 at 04:19 PM
The point is, there are no jobs! attacking the unions, simply to bust them and destroy what they stand for, a decent living wage, and nothing more, and restore the old ways of no child labor laws, no overtime pay for long hours worked, that's all unions do, any argument against that is unfounded and false, a lie by corporations and their shills to reduce wages for the working middle class in order to maximize profits. That is the only truth behind busting unions, corporate greed! It is time to call out these liars for what they are. unions built the middle class, corporations have destroyed it!
Rose September 05, 2012 at 05:33 PM
"Right to work" is nothing more than a warped plan to be able to hire people to work at slave wages with no benefits. Yeah, help the rich get richer. That's what we need. Why can't people see that the wealthy are trying to destroy all the decent middle class jobs and union protection? If Romney/Ryan get elected, you can all kiss your futures goodbye. WAKE UP AMERICA!
Jim Halsband September 05, 2012 at 05:48 PM
They have outsourced so many jobs and the only ones left they want to downsize the paychecks of the working class, who have not had a cost of living wage hike in 40 years, the numbers are staggering, but blame the unions, such outright lies! Corporate greed stealing the American Dream, I am with you 100%, Rose! Romney's advice for starting a business, borrow money from your parents! Google that! How is it that 46% of those polled support this, when 30% of Americans are living at or under the poverty line, and RomneyRyan are going to take their last few dollars away and give it to their rich friends as tax breaks. I shake my head in disbelief that Americans can let this happen to their fellow Americans.
Ted Geisel September 05, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Rose, there are 23 right to work states. None of them pay the slave wages you mention. The top 4 states with the lowest unemployment??? All of them are right to work states. As are 9 of the top 13 states with the lowest unemployment. If I decide that I will work for a certain wage why can't I do that? Who are you or a union to tell me I can't? Why should I be forced to contribute part of my paycheck to a union who will give it to a political party I don't support? Is that fair? It sounds like you and Jim are looking for a scapegoat. Both parties are to blame for this mess. They both have things wrong with them. Saying that all rich people are bad is not only untrue it undermines your point. There is nothing wrong with being rich or wanting to be rich. Isn't every man entitled to the fruits of his labors? Jim you off all people should know that. You just went on about how your machine would generate billions in revenue. Do you think people aren't going to get rich off that machine? Does the inventor of such an amazing machine not deserve to make some serious money for that? Of course he does!!!!
Ted Geisel September 05, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Jim no one is going to do away with child labor laws. Are you serious? The same with overtime pay. If you want to see what unions really do here you go: Here are the heads of the boilermakers union. All rich people that you and Rose seem to dislike. Of course out of share coincidence most of them are related. Who would have thought. Must me a smart family. Six figure salaries all on the backs of the union brothers. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/05/13/148607/hefty-salaries-perks-for-union.html Here is the City of Detroit who actually have to employee a "Horseshoer" because the union won't let them get rid of the guy. They don't even have any horses! http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/17404 Here are four pages of recent AFSCME members who were convicted of ripping their union brothers off: http://www.freeenterprise.com/2010/10/afscme-is-quite-possibly-the-most-corrupt-organization-in-the-us How about this, find me one major union which isn't run by someone who is rich. I bet you can't! You're just rooting for different rich people, that's all...
Jim Halsband September 05, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Right to work forces the lowest wage earner, the minimum wage earner, the guy who breaks his back for minimum wage, with no chance of making a real living wage. The business model that I presented clearly addresses that, yes, I agree, now if the state of RI ran the program on a non-profit basis, those numbers would be reduced by 75%, that money would not disappear or vanish into this air, but would be reflected in exponential savings and unparalleled increase in the standard of living. If everyone's home heating bill was reduced by 75-80% for the next 20 years, and for example, Joe Six-pack only had to shell out $200/month for oil instead of $800/month, his family would pocket the savings! So why shouldn't the state run such a new business model, the entire flow of waste plastic is generated by we, the people, it is our trash, why can't we reap the rewards this time. Oh. no, state run, that is socialism isn't it, our schools are state run, is that socialism! Enough with that ridiculous argument, our society needs a break from all that crap, no one is screaming about social networks. Are we entitled to our own trash for cash!
Ted Geisel September 05, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Socialism is an entire economic system. School and fire departments are just socialized services. Jim if the device works like you say it does why don't you get a bank loan or find some investors. If the machine works and your returns are what you say they are then finding someone to finance it will not be a problem at all. Pay off the loan quickly and use the profits to turn RI into a paradise. You're only asking for what, $10 million and you're going to make over a billion from the machine? Banks should be lining up and fighting for your business.
Robert Trager September 05, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Only low wage earners break their backs? What sort of dribble is this? I know plenty of workaholics, some of modest means, some that are wealthier. If I'm willing to do a job for $20/hr vs a union wage earner, who may get $40/hr, so what? Now the employer can expand and hire more workers. More workers equal less unemployment, equals less taxes taken out of your paycheck to support the unemployed. It's not that difficult of a concept. When are people going to get it through their heads that "Government is not the solution to our problems; government IS the problem." Ronald Reagan
Jim Halsband September 05, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Ted, over the years I have has as many a 4 union cards in my wallet, locals #3 and #44 in Hollywood stage craft, teamsters in Vegas and Vegas carpenter's union, and yes, they all suck when it comes to corruption like that at the top. The entire country needs a good hydro-colonic enema as far as any of that is concerned, but I only speak of what I know, as a union hammer, I got paid a decent wage, had health care and a pension fund, as did all my union brothers who I worked with shoulder to shoulder. We made a little bit higher wage, and it certainly was not exorbitant by any stretch, but we were highly skilled and did a superior job, there is absolutely a sense of union pride in our work that was wrapped in the American flag, which I found to totally absent and lacking among the great unwashed with whom I toiled greatly with much grousing. Sure there are bad apples everywhere, some are even in Congress who believe some rape is "legitimate", but unions did contribute greatly to building the middle class, no question, and the banksters ruined it, that's all I'm saying.
Rose September 05, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Right to work may mean a few more jobs but NONE of them with a salary a family can live on or benefits for the future or health care. The sly and sneaky name of the movement really makes me want to retch. Should be the right to work at below poverty wages, My friend, you are being duped by the wealthy and the corporations which are striving to govern this country and keep the rest of us from advancing.
Jim Halsband September 05, 2012 at 08:33 PM
The banks will most likely line up once this technology performs as expected, I would like to see it burgeon as a social service, so that everyone benefits, but to challenge new technology and the business model that I presented with absolutely no knowledge of it is a bit presumptuous, unnecessary and frankly without merit nor base. This new proven, patented technology has been producing amazing results throughout Japan for over 10 years, only recently have they been able to offer it to the US market, independent of greedy banksters and Wall St, the greatest economic gain should be enjoyed by we, the people, a few good community organizers will be instrumental in retaining any and all wealth within the community as cooperative ventures grow local economies. This is a real plan for real jobs for real growth with real technology for real environmental benefits which should bring some real prosperity! If nothing else, this is a real opportunity!
Ted Geisel September 05, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Rose please just answer these questions... Should I be forced to pay union dues which will support a political party I'm again in order to keep my job? Do I have a right to know keep the spoils of my own hard work? Name one major union boss who is not rich. Just one. Jim there is a reason union membership is at a 70 year low. People are fed up with the corruption and cronyism. Look at all the pensions systems in shambles. The unions had a good run but the writing is on the wall. Read some of the articles I posted above. The union leadership is robbing members blind. Btw, there isn't a single person in congress who thinks rape is legitimate. Read the whole quote. The guy is a moron and shouldn't be in congress but he never said what you are claiming. Bankers also contributed to building the middle class. Correct? How come there roll isn't as notable as the unions???
Jim Halsband September 05, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I am not arguing that union leadership is not in need of a serious overhaul, my union cleaned house in Hollywood a few years ago, members aren't stupid, we're busy working, but corruption and power are everywhere, churches, Wall St, the Boy Scouts for goodness sake, but to disband and destroy all the unions and erode all the wage gains for the working class in order for the profit margin to expand is simply unfair, the profit margin is there because of the work done by the labor force, shouldn't they get some sort of credit in the form of a decent living wage, instead of squeezed so the stockholders can buy an extra yacht, or write themselves another bonus check. And do you really want to defend Wall St bankers? They did very little to build the middle class, handed out some loans, and such but that's what they're supposed to do, defending their actions is not a fight that you are going to win, to begin an argument for argument's sake is a fool's errand. Glad you agree that Akin is a moron! And I do know exactly what he said and what he meant, I did skew my comment to further disparage him, he is a craven idiot!
Ted Geisel September 05, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Hey Jim, I didn't mean to appear to defend wall street. You originally just said bankers and I thought you were talking about bankers like my neighbor who works at a credit union. The only thing horrible about him is his golf game. Wall street bankers and the politicians that bailed them out should all be in jail. And for a very long time. I think maybe some of our misunderstanding is that you're thinking private sector union and I'm thinking public sector. Private sector unions are now less that 7 percent of the pie. In public sector unions there is no profit taking. The higher wages are born on the shoulders of the other tax payers not lucky or connected enough to get a union job. How I'd that fair? The wage difference comes from my taxes and yours. Great of your in the union. Not so great for me or you. I'm enjoying the debate. Thank you for being civil and respectful.
Robert Trager September 05, 2012 at 11:48 PM
If it's a wage that you can't live on....dah! Don't take that job!
Robert Trager September 05, 2012 at 11:58 PM
I'm only going to make one more comment on this thread. This is the greatest country in the history of mankind. ANYONE can rise from poverty and make it here. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. That line seems appropriate in this conversation. It's not the government's job to make sure you're OK. It's the government's job to ensure your freedom to pursue prosperity. That's it! Let's hope for a turn around this November. I like to compare RI to a sinking ship. The Dem's want to buy more pumps to bail the water out. The Republicans want to fix the leaks and let the pumps we have take care of the rest.
Jim Halsband September 06, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I would just like to revisit this thread to clarify the point I was making regarding ill advised state funding to 38 Studios, and the difference that can be made when $75 million is invested wisely on proven and necessary technology instead of a video game. he video game market is beyond saturated and even if Schilling's was a huge hit, there were only a handful of new hires and all the profits would have gone to a select few, pretty much, himself. This same $75 million invested in new proven technology from a country famous for enduring quality, think Honda, which would create a broad spectrum of employment from technicians, to manufacturing to civil and environmental engineers for years to come with a scale of growth commensurate to the ongoing supply of 30 million tons of plastic waste we generate annually in the US plus the hundreds of millions laying fallow in landfills everywhere, again, my point is RI'ers would benefit and lead the US and once again be first in innovation and industry instead of dead last! This will be a crowdfunded enterprise and is an opportunity we should not miss!
RITaxpayer September 06, 2012 at 09:37 AM
I know this OT from the original post but here goes anyway. Mr Halsband, I've been to your web site, http://e-n-ergy.com, and found it pretty impressive, but I have a few questions. Why would you want to bring this industry here, to the worst state in the union to do business? I would think that anyone who cared about their bottom line would stay clear of our corrupt little state. Why RI? I sounds like you're looking for some kind of state backing (start up funds) to come here and set up. Have you tried any venture capital investors? If you're looking for state guarantees, most of us are a bit leary after the 38 Studios debacle. Are you looking for permission to set up here, or looking for money to set up here? If you've decided RI is the place for this, what's holding you up? I wish you the best of luck but I'm not willing to put up one nickle of my taxes towards it. I've been fleeced too many times out of my tax money to 'roll the dice' on another gamble. Thanks.
Jim Halsband September 06, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Thank you for taking the time to visit the web page and glad that you found it impressive. You posed some excellent questions, why did I choose RI, the worst economy and business climate in the nation, and corrupt, too? I was born here and left to satisfy my wanderlust, someone once said, "A man travels the world over and comes home to find himself." So there's some of that, and I came home to spend my final days among friends. The terrible business climate is challenging but being dead last will not last, so it can only improve, how quickly remains to be seen, I have been involved in booms before, so I know they happen. I have a history in RI, my grandfather built buildings that bear his name a century later, he started the first Buick dealership in NE plus he had his own A&P, both on Main St, EG! So it is with a sense of pride to honor his legacy and contribute what I can to the community he helped build 100 years ago. In reference to state funding, I was demonstrating simply how two different investment strategies could lead to different outcomes, as far as state money goes, that is not where this tech will find any funding, I just want state assistance in allowing this new tech to begin without the usual roadblocks and impediments, with public support for this tech from folks like you who took a look at it, will help me help the community, people are still leery after 38 Stud's, but there is no stopping an idea whose time has come! This is the next big thing! RI needs it
Ted Geisel September 06, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Jim without bankers there would be no economy. Think about it, take them out of the picture. Where would you get a mortgage? Where would you get a business loan? Where would you keep your money? RI is a democrats utopia. The last time Democrats did not control both chambers at the State house was 1958. The last time they did not control at least one chamber was 1940. The legislature in RI has historically always been very strong. How is it that in nearly 45 years of Democratic Party control that RI is not everything that the party wants it to be? Honestly??? 45 years and you can't get things the way you want them? Jim like the guy above said, RI isn't the place to setup business or one of these machines. It doesn't sound like you have the money to bribe anyone. I mean lobby them. Nor do I recognize your name as being a famous sports player. I am a bit sceptical of your technology. You've put it out here in a public forum so you have to expect that. In various posts you have stated that it was automated but then said it needs engineers, people to shovel into it and the like. So is it automated or not? How many people are employed to run one machine? Then you say it's "new proven" technology. What kind of marketing double speak is that? Is it new technology or proven technology. Prior to that you said it had been around in Japan for 10 years. 10 years is new? Like the other poster said, there is no chance it will ever happen in RI.
Jim Halsband September 06, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I can appreciate the other poster's comments as well as I can understand your skepticism, so let me try to advance this discussion. The other gentleman went to the web page and was impressed, his skepticism arose from my decision to launch it here, and absolutely correct in that assumption. RI'ers are very guarded for good reason, the corruption in govt has been pervasive for many generations and we, the people are fed up, but not enough to rally and run them out of office, it is a dilemma, but I am surprised that you haven't looked at the web page to in order to offer a more informed opinion regarding this new tech that I am introducing to N.E., NY/NJ and elsewhere, too. I am not limited to RI in any fashion, it is the greatest challenge of my life and I don't want to 'tap out', as my fellow citizens deserve the benefits that will spring from this oil well laying fallow in every waste dump. Defending the banks is your prerogative, I won't engage battling you on that point, I will not waste my time, my time is better served promoting the greater good of job creation(4 jobs per machine) making cheap oil(30 cents/gal), and helping my community thrive! This technology is new to the US, proven in Japan for 10 years, and it is coming here, I would like RI to be a leader in its advancement on merit and to pull RI out of the decaying morass, I am seeking crowdfunding through crowdsourcing, the community as a whole will succeed, chances of that are excellent!! KFC/Japan has it.
Jack Brophy September 10, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Jim, I wish you luck in your endeavor. I love to see people who are willing to take some risk – and then be rewarded for it. That’s the American Way. I do chuckle however, at the possible outcome: 1)You seek funding and get your money from a VC (say…Bain Capital Ventures) 2)You are wildly successful and many municipalities purchase your machines 3)Many new jobs are created; you make more than a few shekels as the Founder/CEO 4)Bain obviously reaps more than a few shekels, as well, as they doled out the $10M to get it going and helped build it with you (that’s their fiduciary responsibility) 5)Many of Bain’s investors reap a great return on their invested capital (many of those investors are public/private pension plans, Taft-Hartleys (eg. unions), etc.) 6)Bain is vilified for being greedy! Sounds like the Obama campaign’s rhetoric, doesn’t it!
Jim Halsband September 10, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Thanks Jack, I like the part where I am wildly successful with lots of shekels, but for right now, I will be dizzy with glee if my crowd funding effort produces the mere quarter million to launch this sustainable pilot model program and immediately place RI in the vanguard position in this new arena in recycling. For the price of a few BMW's, we could once again begin a new 2012 Industrial Revolution in plastic to oil conversion, recharge the state's economy, renew RI's prestige, the birthplace of freedom of religion. If you threw away a single-use styrofoam coffee cup or crumpled up a plastic bag to recycle, then you are invested at some level, instead of it winding up in the Central landfill, it will turn into heating oil right in your community for small change, a quarter and a couple nickels per gallon. Manufacturing and tech training could find its home in RI, job creation and job training, sustained economic recovery!

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