Grover Norquist’s visit to Rhode Island makes it obvious that outside forces are sharpening their knives in preparation for a chance to carve up Rhode Island’s Constitution into bite-sized chunks. Perhaps even small enough to drown in a bathtub?
The progressive coalition against such a fate, the Citizens for a Responsible Government, held a press conference outside the Squantum Association minutes before Grover Norquist gave his short pep talk to those in support of a Constitutional Convention at a fundraising luncheon. Coalition spokesperson Pablo Rodriguez was joined by Kate Brewster, head of the Economic Progress Institute and Michael Araujo, business agent for the International Association of Theatrical and Stage Employees, Local 23.
Together the three speakers made a compelling case for why the very presence of Norquist, an out-of-state conservative lobbyist representing anonymous, big monied interests makes a compelling case against holding a constitutional convention.
“The poster child of wealthy out-of-state special interests is Grover Norquist,” said Pablo Rodriguez, who is also President of Latino Public Radio, “whose could use a Constitutional Convention as a vehicle to buy any issue he wants. If we allow a Constitutional Convention, we will essentially be handing the keys of our government over to people like Norquist and his billionaire friends.”
“The average Rhode Islander who is struggling to pay the mortgage, afford child care so they can get to work, or put their kids through college doesn’t have the time or the resources to fight wealthy, out-of-state special interests like Grover Norquist and his billionaire backers, the Koch brothers,” said Kate Brewster.
“Grover Norquist is a guy who once said, ‘My ideal citizen is the self-employed, homeschooling, IRA-owning guy with a concealed-carry permit,’” stated Michael Araujo. “Is this really who hard-working Rhode Islanders should be taking voting advice from?”
There is a reason that no state has held a constitutional convention since the last time we had one in Rhode Island, three decades ago. Big money wants to write the rules of our democracy, and corporate interests are served by weak governments that can’t afford to protect their citizens from being exploited.