An Open Thread About State Government

So, a blog co-founded by an elected official is probably weird place to post this, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my voting habits when it comes to state government, and I kinda wanted to know about the rest of you felt.

Now, I’m not really directing this toward the political junkies or the people that are actually involved in state government.  I’m more wondering how other people, ones who don’t spend a lot of their time thinking about politics, choose to vote in elections where candidates aren’t spending millions of dollars on TV ads.  Like when it comes to state legislature, for instance.

Here’s an example:

In my district, Joanne Giannini is running against Patrick Ward.  Here’s what I know:

1. Joanne Giannini, a Democrat, has been in office for a long time.  I have never met her or corresponded with her, I don’t think, but I do know that people generally seem to think she’s doing a good job.  Matt at RIFuture does, anyway.  Her views on prostitution are naive, though well-intentioned, and I know that every year she puts a ridiculously large snowman on her lawn thanking people for voting for her.  Her lawn signs are white and fucshia.

2. Patrick Ward has green and white lawn signs.  My next-door neighbors are voting for him, as are the people with the McCain-Palin sign down the street.  (Which, by the way, is the only McCain-Palin sign I’ve seen anywhere in Rhode Island.)  Googling “Patrick Ward Providence” comes up with lots of results about a 6’7″ linebacker in Illinois, but by page two you see that he’s the guy that’s pushing for resident permit parking, which I totally support 100%.

Okay.  So I’m going to vote for Ward, probably, because the one thing I know about him is more positive than the one thing I know about Giannini.  But does that make sense?  Do I know how Patrick Ward feels about prostitution?  Do I know how Joanne Giannini feels about overnight parking?  Do I know how either one of them feels about anything else?  Do I know whether she even casts her votes in the assembly regularly, or whether Ward would?

I mean, these are things I could find out, but with less than three weeks to the election I doubt I’m going to.  And is anyone else?


24 thoughts on “An Open Thread About State Government”

  1. newmembersforutoo

    I just wanted to say Hi because this is the first time I am ever posting on a forum. I do not know if this is allowed or not to post here, but I hope I won’t be banned from me. So be happy for me that I finally achieved posting on a forum after many years of neglect!

  2. Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
    I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
    God will appreciate it.

  3. Did you read Wednesday’s Providence Journal?

    It says that Patrick Ward is running with Republican support.

    It appears that Mr. Ward is not telling the truth on this website.

  4. Wilson, you made me laugh…out load. I have known Jeff for 6 years and he is not a Republican operative in Providence. And to think he is the mastermind behind Patrick Ward….oh Willie….poor, poor Willie. He chuckled when I told him about your blog and had no intention to respond to such silliness. Since the end of the campaign in 2006, he has not been involved in the scene. And by the way, he is quite happy. So you are wrong.

    As for Patrick, he does not need anyone to speak for him. He can hold his own.

    So moving on, can you all talk about the issues (no dis-respect here Lauren) that are plaguing our economy like the highest unemployment in the country, and our high taxes? Why RI is in a mess. Taxing and spending maybe?

    Oh I forgot, Will, can you please show me what bills Joanne has introduced to support renewable energy, reduce toxic dumping and fighting global warming. Anyone can say they support a bill, but what has SHE done. I would be very interested.

    Regards, Judy

  5. Lauren Nocera

    I am a voter in the district and have spoken at some length about LGBT issues with both candidates. I also have reviewed the voting records and have some information that may help to clarify.

    There is a lot of misunderstanding of Joanne’s voting on LGBT issues and some of that is because her votes for many years were inconsistent, supporting some bills and not others. She did give us a *very* critical vote on the LGB rights bill in 1995 as a freshman legislator. She then voted for hospital visitation rights and the original hate crimes legislation, while voting against trans inclusion in the civil rights bill and the sodomy repeal bill during the same time period. It is no wonder some people say she is pro lgbt and some say she is against.

    However, in the last 4 years Joanne has voted for EVERY pro-LGBT bill that has come up for a vote, except for the hate crimes reporting bill as she wasn’t in attendance on that day (and I would assume, though I have not discussed it with her, that she would have voted yes had she been there). These votes includes yeses on death benefits for domestic partners of fire and police, fertility treatment for non married women including lesbians, removing the unfair tax burden on domestic partner benefits, and pension rights for domestic partners of state workers. She also voted for the veto override that ensured that the pension bill passed. Each and every time there has been a roll call vote in the last 4 years she has not only voted yes, but she has stood to second each bill prior to the vote and spoken from the floor in support of several of them.

    Her strong support on the LGBT bills that have reached the floor over the last several years does not give her a free pass to continue to remain “undecided” on the marriage issue. It is clearly time for her to fully stand with the LGBT community and it is tiresome that she has yet to do so.

    As for Mr. Ward, I appreciate greatly that he indicates that he is pro-marriage equality. There is no other relationship status that equal civil marriage in either benefits or social understanding. However, according to a recent PAC survey h is also pro-voter initiative (VI). VI is one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation to LGBT rights at the state level and it fundamentally challenges the functioning of a representative government. His acceptance of a concept in which the masses are allowed to vote on the rights of the few, and a system that is riddled with corruption, wealth and special interests leaves me to be concerns about the depth of his commitment to all families.

  6. I am supporting Joanne Giannini because Cleanwater Action has endorsed her. She has been one of the biggest supporters of renewable energy, reducing toxic dumping and fighting global warming.

    And I dont think that Patrick Ward is telling the truth.

    The Ocean State Republican website says this…”House 7 (Mt. Pleasant – Joanne Giannini) – PATRICK WARD is an Independent running with GOP support.”

    You can look for yourself.

    One of the top Republican operatives in Providence Jeff Szymanski is one of the coordinators of Patrick Ward’s campaign. Last election, Szymanski did not even win thirty % of the vote versus Joanne Giannini and he is trying to do better under the “Independent’ umbrella of Patrick Ward.

    Who is pulling the strings?

    And Patrick Ward is supporting extremist positions like voter initiative which has stripped women and gay and lesbians of rights all across the country.

    Here is where it says that.

    Joanne Giannini voted to override the veto of Governor Donald Carcieri on same sex benefits for domestic partners.

    Patrick Ward won’t even say on this blog that he support gay marriage.

    I wonder why.

    He tells different people, different things.

    Is that the kind of politician you want?

  7. Greetings, Mr. Ward, I am hoping to ask you some questions on this website.

    My mother called you and you told her your positions, are they true/?

    – you said that you attend Blessed Sacrament and that you are conservative on the issues.

    – you said that Mayor Cicciline and Chief Eserman were wrong on immigration and that you oppose immigrants.

    – you said that the reason that taxes were high are because of immigrants.

    – you said that you were Catholic and that you are pro-life.

    I consider myself sort of liberal on most issues and these positions seem very conservative to me. Is what you told my mother accurate?

  8. I’ll be moving to that district after election day. I wish I was there now. I’d vote for you in a heartbeat. In my district, I have an unopposed senator running and a choice between an incumbent democrat or a republican. I’m voting republican on that one simply because I want change in our GA. I normally support the more progressive/liberal candidates, but our GA isn’t really either.

    Anyone know where I can find information on the candidates for these local elections?

  9. Hi,
    I am having a busy day at work but would like to respond to some of this if I can.

    I am NOT a Republican. I am running as an Independent.

    I have attended NO GOP Fund raisers.

    I have accepted NO GOP donations. Please check my campaign finance reports.

    I have attended NO GOP photo events.

    Just because some guy adds my name to an e-mail doesn’t make it so.

    I am Pro Choice.

    I would support gay marriage. I can go into more of that later.

    If anyone wants to ask specific questions about the environment I would be happy to address them.

    I am running because taxes and unemployment are too high in Rhode Island. I think contested elections are important. I think this state is moving in the wrong direction.

    One more thing, there is a lady on Cathedral Ave who put my sign next to her Obama sign. So I guess what I have to say seems to resonate with lots of different people.

  10. I support overnight parking and went to one of Patrick Ward’s meetings. I was not impressed to say the least, the guy hasnt even gotten the issue off the ground or on the citys agenda. and Now you think he can reprseent us at the state House?? I think he is too much all about himself. Did he use this parking campaign as a steppingstool to run for office? what About the people?

    The representative Gianinnini is not much better, she has been around a long time.

    My plan is to not vote for either of them and wait for a better candidate to come along, if enough of us do that then we will show these people that we wont take their crap anymore.

  11. From what I’ve seen in voting records, most of the democrats in office (present company excluded) on Smith Hill are DINOs. anti-choice, anti-immigration, anti-gay marriage, anti-taxes for wealthy. Sure, sure, there are some amazing progressives in office, but I shake my head whenever I read about another “democrat” incumbent position on a progressive issue.

    I’d rather know who we’re dealing with (true repubs vs. fake democrats.) any day.

  12. Joanne gave a 2,000.00 (unsolicited grant) to the Friends of the Mt. Pleasant library. Part of that grant is to pay for some person to come to the library on the 27th to talk about politics. Seriously. Really. Giving the states money to pay someone to talk about politics…is this where our tax daollars should go too? That money could have gone to a shelter, a soup kitchen or to a local clinic. But no, it is so she can get a photo op with a big check. Don’t believe me, go the the library on the 27th.

  13. Jocelyn,…oh Jocelyn.

    His girfriend is Latino, and he has a strong base in the community.

    Joanne is a biggot.

    Can you please tell Joanne to remove the grafitti accross from her house on the street signs. I am sure the paint is seeping into the ground and water the runs through the parkway.

  14. I say vote for the non-incumbent. I plan on doing the same. The general assembly can’t seem to get anything done, time for them to resign. I agree with Frymaster’s views on that. I like Ward’s work for the overnight parking thing. Sure, it’s a municipal issue and not a state thing, but with a seat in the GA, he would have more influence over the city gov’t than he would as some guy who lives in Providence (sad, but true).

    Just because he’s not running as a progressive doesn’t mean he’s a staunch republican. Most libertarians consider themselves conservatives. I think he’s going for that angle. Libertarians can be progressive on many issues, and LGBT and abortion rights are certainly a libertarian thing… basically, they don’t care what you do with your own time/body as long as you don’t screw with them.

    But in general, I say vote against any incumbents. A fresh start would be a good thing in the RI general assembly, regardless of the political views.

  15. Summary:

    Here are details on some of the GOP support that he has received. There are certainly some good Republicans in Rhode Island, but it’s not a good sign, unless he makes it known that he’s more progressive than the party insiders.

    PROVIDENCE GOP FUNDRAISER – to benefit 13 Providence GOP Legislative candidates
    111 BLACKSTONE BLVD. (home of Chip Smith) on the East Side.
    Hosted by Chip Smith and Tom Pearlman.
    Candidates to be helped are:
    Senate 1 – Anthony Demings Senate 2 – Brian Mayben Senate 3 – Elaina Goldstein Senate 4 – Christine Spaziano Senate 5 – Kofua Kulah Senate 6 – Marc Coda Senate 7 – Greg Wright House 4 – David Anderson House 7 – Patrick ward House 9 – Noel Sanchez House 10 – Dave Talan House 11 – Renay Omisore House 13 – Damien Baldino
    When: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 530 pm – 7:00 pm
    Who: Dave Talan

  16. Matthew asked for perspectives of non-potliticos, so perhaps I should butt out, but-

    I like Patrick, and his work on overnight parking. Don’t know a heck of a lot about his politics otherwise, though he’s not running as a progressive. I support Joanne, as a good vote on enviro and labor and consumer-rights matters.

  17. joe bernstein

    Matt-there are some conservatives like me who pay no attention to marriage equality-it makes no difference in my life whatever two adults do or whether they marry,have a civil union,etc.
    Giannini has frequently seemed extremely ignorant on certain issues,like when she tried to push through a state law on prostitution that was unecessary,as there is a Federal law covering exactly the same offense.
    RI’s attitude on indoor prostitution has a nice libertarian aspect to it.Medical marijuana does too.
    I am mainly conservative because I am pro life,very much against more gun control(we have adequate laws),and against the abdication of governmental responsibility with regard to illegal immigration,which I approach from a legal,and NOT racial/ethnic aspect.
    I live just in the next district,but I think we are neighbors.I have only Wasylyk to vote for,and he sucks.
    Giannini has been in too long by far.She is one of those incumbents who needs to go this time out.
    Many years ago I was in her district and she seemed okay at the time,but I have to admit I barely paid attention back then.

  18. Jocelyn, you are totally wrong about Giannini and LGBT issues. She has voted against LGBT rights on several occasions. When constituents call her on that, she just reminds them that she did vote for the “gay rights bill”–in 1995. Her record since then has been very bad. She is also staunchly anti-abortion. My gay friends in that district who know Ward report that he supports marriage equality, which Giannini doesn’t despite having close gay relatives.

  19. I support your desire to vote out the incumbent.

    But Patrick Ward is very, very conservative.

    He is a step backwards.

    What would you rather have?

    A democrat who is pretty good on most of the issues such as the environment, health care and LGBT rights


    A republican who is wrong on most all of the issues???

    If you want a better State Representative, why don’t you run Matthew?

    Let’s take her out from the left.

    not from the right.

  20. His overnight parking work is good, but the state’s not in charge of that stuff. Ward’s politics are right-wing, and he’s endorsed by the Providence Republican party. He’s pretty bitterly anti-immigrant, and I’m pretty sure he sucks on most progressive issues. The environmentalist community is way behind Giannini

  21. There’s a McCain-Palin sign on a lawn, top of the hill on East Ave. That makes 2.

    I think you’re in good stead voting against the incumbent. Unless the candidate has a strong record of strong progressive positions and innovative yet practical ideas, I use the following dictum:


    Let’s see: RI=8.8% unemployment…2nd only to Michigan (and closing)

    All incumbents should resign out of embarrassment.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Providence Daily Dose