To the Editor:
With the beginning of the new General Assembly session gaveling in on New Year’s Day, many elected officials and political pundits have proffered suggestions on how legislators can set Rhode Island on the right road economically. Promises of productivity were bountiful in interviews with lawmakers after they were sworn in for the new term.
However, the most important predicate to positive change was not discussed at all. We need to change the bloated, over-represented and inefficient structure of the legislative branch itself.
There are four American cities with approximately the same amount of populous as the Ocean State. They are San Jose and San Diego, Calif., Jacksonville, Fla., and Indianapolis, Ind. These governments have a city mayor, a city manager and a seven- to nine-member city council. That's it! We have 113 members of the House and Senate and all the expense and all the molasses-like minutia that comes with this burdensome structure.
Essentially, Rhode Island is a big city masquerading as a state. As a result, our legislative branch is too unwieldy to accomplish anything truly economically beneficial long-term.
A Constitutional Convention is desperately needed, strictly composed of non-office holders, to build a new foundation for effective, streamlined government. Then, and only then, can real positive change occur.
Christopher M. Curran