A native-born Rhode Islander, educated in Providence Public Schools, went to college in North Carolina and a political junkie and pessimistic optimist.

18 responses to “Rep. Dickinson Attacks Speaker Fox, Cronyism”

  1. speakinguptoday

    It is disturbing to read the word progressive and Spencer Dickinson in the same post.  Clearly you don’t live in South Kingstown.  If you did, you would know that he is anti-choice and anti-marriage equality.  If I did not see the name Samuel Howard in the byline, I would have thought that it was written by Mr. Crowley or Mr. Liedecker.  Because, as everyone in SK knows, Spencer “works for the NEA”.  His words, not mine, when he spoke to the Superintendent of schools, which was then shared via email to the entire School Committee and then on to the entire town.  Spencer has no shot in this primary and writing that letter was the act of a desparate (and defeated) hack.

  2. jo ann

    What Spencer Dickinson wrote about the controlling Speaker is absolutely true and the rest of the Gen ASSembly lawmakers are sheeple…In fact, what ever Fox wants, his shadow MAjority Leader Mattiello makes sure he gets…Watch Capitol TV sometime and you will see that Mattiello is always the last person to speak before they vote.  He always says …”I urge you to vote for this…. It’s the best thing for us to do etc etc etc.” and then the sheeple do just that.
    Except for a handful of lawmakers, the rest are afraid… if they challenge Fox and Mattiello, his servant, then they won’t get their grant money and bills passed for their constituents, which means they can lose their jobs in the next election!  
    I would vote for Spencer if I lived in his district. You need a lawmaker hwo will not cave in to every beck & call of Gordon Fox like my rep does. I am voting the Majority leader out! And that is what….58 days away till NOv 6th…. We all need to vote the incumbents out…they’ve been in there too long…they have accumulated too much power & control…they have their own agenda and not they people they serve’s agenda…Look at the mess they have created. Vote them all out.

  3. speakinguptoday

    If you don’t like your representative, then vote him out.  That’s exactly what we are going to do here in SK, vote Dickinson out.  He introduced one bill this session and it went no where.  He is the most ineffective legislator at the State House.  That’s why we are going to vote him out.  He has done nothing for his district and can do nothing for his district in the future.  The reason you send someone to the legislature is to look out for the best interests of your district and the state.  Dickinson publicly states that he works for the NEA because that is who got him elected.  Tell me jo ann, how does that help the people of SK and how does it help you or the rest of the state?

  4. Mark Binder

    <Political Stuff ahead>

    As the candidate running against Gordon Fox, @Jo Ann, I hope you’re in the district!

    @speakinguptoday, it sounds as if Rep Dickinson had the deck stacked pretty far against him. If you go back and look at the news report of the smashup of Board of Higher Ed/Board of Regents, he was aghast that it was in the budget. And of course he had to vote for it, because… It was the budget.

    As an Independent opponent to Gordon Fox, I have already promised not to vote for bills I haven’t read, and not to support last minute body slams.

    The reason I am running, which gets more and more powerful, is that Gordon Fox has used his position to bully the legislature — to the detriment of Rhode Island. It has shown up again and again.

    Let me count the ways:

    Pushed 38 Studios through (but seems to “have escaped the fallout”)
    Combined Board of Ed and Board of Regents with no public discussion — and stuck it in the budget to make sure there was no way to oppose it
    Punted on Marriage Equality “because it wouldn’t pass the Senate.
    Punted on Payday Lending

    As the Speaker of the House, he has the power to call votes and to table bils. 
    He also seems to have the power to enforce his will.

    Please spread the word to your friends in District 4. Mark Your Ballot for Mark Binder 

    </political stuff> 

  5. speakinguptoday

    @mark binder… Clearly you haven’t read any of the above posts because Joann stated that she lives in the majority leader’s district. So, I guess it is all about you and not District 35. In District 35, we will not vote for Dickinson because he is a pro-life, anti-marriage equality, anti-woman DINO who is paid for and owned by the NEA. He is power hungry and longs for the day when he can relive his youth and overthrow a Speaker like he did in the 70′s. We in SK know him and will never vote for him. He can’t help our town, nor does he want to. Check the votes… Bought and paid for by the NEA. The real question is, why are so-called progressives supporting him?

  6. ml87

    I usually don’t comment but I’m kind of blown away by this debate going on.  Since when do progressives only care about social issues?  It’s my understanding that progressives throughout history have economic liberalism as one of their staples, with organized labor at the very top of the staple.  So progressives have to be social liberal but can be either economically liberal or fiscally conservative?  I don’t understand how someone, in the tradition of progressivism, could be against organized labor but still be considered progressive because of their social views.  Does that mean all libertarians are now progressive? 
    Then to say that anyone who is “pro-life, anti-marriage equality, anti-woman” is a DINO is just as ridiculous.  America is a two party system with several types of political thought that have to pick a side.  There isn’t a monopoly by one strand.  I’m personally a moderate on social issues but very liberal on economic issues.  Does that mean I’m not a Democrat?  Would that make me a Republican?  I think don’t so.  Before we start making accusations of who is what, maybe we need a better definition of exactly what those groups are.  Lastly, I agree with Sam, Spencer Dickinson or Kathy Fogarty, either way they are both Democrats who represent two different wings of the same party.  Neither one is a DINO.

  7. Rhody Towny

    You said, “Progressive is a label that is both pro-union and anti-union.”
    If this is true, then I don’t want to be a progressive.
    If all progressiveism is to be is a group of anti-worker, anti-middle class, pro-wall-street, pro-free-trade social libertarians, then count me out.
    If the left wing won’t even support labor, then who will?  Isn’t the fact that we’ve had two very neo-liberal pro-financialization parties for two decades primarily to blame for so many of the troubles we see today? 
    If there is such a thing as anti-union progressivism, then these people had better think long and hard about what they believe in.

  8. DogDiesel

    If this is true, then I don’t want to be a progressive. If all progressiveism is to be is a group of anti-worker, anti-middle class, pro-wall-street, pro-free-trade social libertarians, then count me out.”
    Hyperbole much? That’s not what Sam said but if you insist on being a sheep then you won’t see anything outside the flock.

    1. Rhody Towny


      I don’t see what’s hyperbolic about seeing a fundamental incompatibility between being anti-labor and progressive.  Now, I said that if there is a such thing as an anti-union progressive, they had better think long and hard about what they believe in.  Let me expound upon this, because I think there are important reasons why an anti-union progressive should think long and hard about their beliefs.  

      But first, let me address you directly.  This would be like you, being the Conservative that you are, deciding you were anti-business.  But no conservative does that.  I know you hate unions.  I also know you dislike the minimum wage.  But if progressives join you, then one must ask: What is it they will stand for?  

      Clearly what they stand for, then, are simple social liberties.  Or at the very least, Sam was intimating that social liberties trump economic equality so greatly that one can be at once in favor of social liberties and simultaneously against the right of labor to organize in collective bargaining with ownership.

      In a society where, during the work-day, the owner/guardian holds absolute power, any social liberties gained publicly will ultimately be hidden from view and denied during the majority of the waking hours of one’s adult existence.  And so, what liberty is gained, other than that which has always hitherto been practiced in the shadows and behind closed doors?

      Indeed, I find the concept of an anti-labor, anti-union, or anti-collective bargaining progressive to be so self-contradictory as to be wholly without philosophical merit.  How can one be, on one hand, for tolerance and the democratization of political power to isolated social groups, and simultaneously, on the other hand, against tolerance and the democratization of political power in the workplace?

      But you may go ahead and call me a sheep.  Which perhaps presupposes you to be the shepherd, or, better yet, the proprietor of the estate upon which the sheep graze.  Which probably allows you to believe yourself some natural right of superiority to me.  At the very least, you intimate that you are smarter than I and see more clearly the socio-political structures of modern American political discourse.  

      And this is the cornerstone of Conservative thinking.  That one is better by birthright than another, granted power by an Almighty Creator, who has bestowed upon you greater wealth and station at birth than your neighbor due to virtue, a natural order, and divine Providence, and that this should offer you special privilege and dominon over your neighbor.

      The Liberal answer to this has always been that we hold self-evident that all people are created equal, and endowed with inalienable rights.  Among these rights is the right to bargain for one’s wage in a labor contract. One cannot call oneself a Liberal and simply pick and choose the rights in which they believe.  Workplace rights are as integral as sexual rights, or any other.  And yet, somehow Sam divorces these.

      And in much the same sense, one cannot be an anti-labor progressive, lest they cede to Conservatives that proprietors deserve property and absolute authority over their workers or subjects by Divine Right, which, as a concept, has been antithetical to progressives since the 1600′s.  And yet it saddens me to observe that the argument somehow continues, as if no progress has been made in the intervening centuries.

      And so I spoke my mind, as I often do when I observe philosophical inconsistencies.  And you spoke your mind, as you often do when you find someone with whom you disagree.  Let us leave it at that and maintain civil discourse, lest we slide into calling each other sheep or snakes or any other manner of animal or insult that one may conjure to offend another.


      1. DogDiesel

        I know you hate unions.”
        May I add, judge much? I won’t deny being right of center but hating unions. Not quite. having been on both sides of the bargaining table, I think I have a unique insight has to how both sides operate. I’ve seen my own union cut their nose off to spite of their face. I’ve seen management trade financial benefit for management rights that they had no intentions of using. Despite your presumption, reasonable unions make life easier for reasonable management. It happens more often than not. Sorry to disappoint.

        1. Rhody Towny


          So first I was hyperbolic for pointing out a perceived philosophical inconsistency, and now I’m judgmental for calling the slant of your own personal views to the fore.

          Years of observation of your posts on ProJo, here, etc. have shown a pattern where, when a story involving politics occurs, you take the right-wing position.  Judgement, based on repeated observation, is among the highest quality judgement one can make.  So I could go through life not judging those I talk to, merely standing on the sidelines with no opinion of my own, or, I could use my collected knowledge and wisdom, gained through observation, and make the soundest judgement possible given the circumstances.  It’s called induction.  And often, without perfect knowledge, it is the best we can do.

          And so, I don’t know what qualifies as a reasonable union to you.  Nor am I aware of what qualifies as reasonable management in your mind.  But this is beside the point.  All things being equal, we know with whom you would side.  Everything else is just nit-picking and obfuscation.

          1. DogDiesel

            Thanks for making my point. That’s was a perfectly worded long winded confirmation.

  9. ml87

    @sam – I meant economic liberalism in the American sense.  I’m not even sure what Europeans would use as the alternative.  

    Anyways, I agree that this is a good debate to have.  It’s a debate that should be going on with all these definitions of progressive, conservative, RINO, DINO, etc.  I feel that it is difficult in a two-party system to peg a platform that half the country considers themselves part of.  Like Rhody, there are a lot of inconsistencies in the various philosophies of the right and left.  i really do think we shouldn’t start excluding folks based on a certain sect of policies they disagree with.

  10. Big stick

    You know nothing of South Kingstown, Spencer Dickinson or Kathy Fogarty. You are just choosing one form of poison over another. You think Kathy Fogarty is the Speaker’s tool because you read it in Spencer’s letter? Sometimes it is better to remember the old Chinese saying: “It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than it is to speak and remove all doubt.” Rail against corruption, cronyism all you want, but you brought in names without doing an ounce of research. So, when Mitt sends yo a letter telling you Barack Obama hates America, will you be posting a lament about how our President hates America? Do a little research and look at what was done in this race-by Pat Crowley, Maureen Martin et al, then tell me how Spencer Dickinson is someone who is “unafraid to keep his soul.” He already sold his soul. His rant against Fox was just a put up by his handlers because they, like him, are considered persona non gratis for their devious and underhanded tactics.

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