Metts Says He Doesn’t Know How He Got On ALEC List

Another Democratic state legislator says he doesn’t know how he got on a list of current and former ALEC members at the State House. Sen Harold Metts, a progressive Democrat from Providence, told me he doesn’t know why he was listed as a former member of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

“The only thing I can think of is my former colleague Leo Blais put me on there,” Metts said. Blais, a former conservative Republican state Senator from Coventry, was the state chair for ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, before he lost his reelection bid in a 2010 primary to Nick Kettle.

“I think what he was doing was trying to get us to look at both sides of the issues,” Metts said, noting that he doesn’t believe Blais has any malicious intents, if he did in fact sign him up. Blais, who is rumored to be considering running for his former Senate seat, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Previously, senators Josh Miller, of Cranston, and Rhoda Perry, also said they didn’t know how they got on the ALEC list. All three of their memberships expired in 2012.

In the House, Rep. John Edwards, a moderate Democrat from Tiverton, said he was signed up this year by Rep. Jon Brien, a conservative Democrat from Woonsocket and member of the ALEC board of directors who is at the group’s spring conference today. Rep. Sam Azzinaro, a Westerly Democrat said he didn’t know how he got on the list.

Metts said he has asked State House staff to remove his name from the ALEC list even though he is no longer a member.

“I just want to make sure my name is not on there,” he said, “especially when you don’t know why it is listed.”

He said ALEC’s “conservative agenda is much different than what I’m fighting for on behalf of my district.”

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Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.

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