Mike Smith, Republican candidate for Rhode Island Senate District 13 special election, spoke to the Rhode Island Republican Liberty Caucus (RIRLC) Tuesday evening about his campaign and about his values. RIRLC is a conservative, “political action organization dedicated to promoting the ideals of individual rights, limited government and free enterprise within the Republican Party.” Rhode Island state Representative Robert Lancia (Republican, District 16, Cranston) is vice-chair of the organization, though he did not attend last night’s meeting.
Smith was introduced by Luis Vargas, who has been driving to Newport and Jamestown every weekend to door knock and help the campaign. Smith’s short talk was well received by the caucus. Members referred to Smith as the kind of candidate who could serve as a model for transforming Rhode Island politics and swinging the state to the right. Beating his opponent, Democrat Dawn Euer, would be an important and symbolic victory for all of Rhode Island. Smith described Euer as a “left progressive.”
In his speech Smith hit several conservative talking points, saying for instance that “the system of large government, the system of big government, the system of tax and spend, without any accountability, does not work.”
Smith took issue with the way in which progressives talk about rights and liberty. “I’ve heard a lot in this race from my opponent that ‘we have a right to this,’ for example, ‘we have a right to a job, we have a right to health care, we have a right to this product or that product” and you know, the only thing that we have a right to is liberty. That is the only thing we have a right to. That’s something that is God-given.
“The other thing is that we have a right to earn. We also have a right to fail. And I want that right. I want the right to be able to learn, to fail and to earn for my own family.”
“The issues that we face,” said Smith, “are not political party issues any more. They are issues of family, freedom and the reality that the state of affairs that we’re in right now is constricting the rights of people to be able to do, to grow, to fail, to earn, to do the things that we all have to do inside of us.”
“This race can actually transform this state,” said Smith. “This is the first major race of the year. It’s the only major race of the year. If this race is won, against the machine I’m running against- We have MoveOn.org which is going to set up camp in Newport over the next to weeks. We’ve got a number of far left progressive groups that have put tens of thousands of dollars…”
“Planned Parenthood?” interrupted one of the attendees.
“Yes,” said Smith. “That’s one of them.”
“Boo!” said another attendee.
A number of outside groups are interested in this race, said Smith, “because this is a transforming race. This race is a catalyst. This is what is going to determine what occurs next year. If this race is won, a lot of people like myself, middle-class small business owners, family people, are going to say, ‘You know what? I’m going to put down my farm equipment or do whatever, and I’m going to go serve, for a limited capacity, just like the framers of our Constitution intended.
“I don’t even know how to explain what the next two weeks are going to be like. It is going to be the center of politics in this state, even on the East Coast. It’s all going to be centered on Newport and Jamestown…
“This race is something that is really going to set a spark that could create a wildfire next year. And because our state is moving, so far to one pendulum that has taxed, spent and tolled our citizens to the brink, I feel that in the next eight to ten years that our state will change political parties.”