With the House reconvening in a few short days, I want to take an opportunity to thank my colleagues in the Senate. When session came to a grinding halt, I, as a brand new legislator, felt embarrassed and even a bit angry that we had failed to complete the bare minimum of our responsibilities as public servants. When the dust had settled, we found that the legislative process had become a political version of the shield and spear paradox. The budget had been stymied by an unstoppable force colliding head on with an immovable object and there were a finite number of conclusions to such a scenario. I, for one, fully expected that the political impasse would carry on until January. I saw no universe in which one side would back down or admit defeat.
But clearly I’m no Nostradamus.
When the Senate President announced that the Senate would reconvene prior to the 2018 sessions to finalize the budget and tie up loose ends, I found myself genuinely impressed by how unselfish an act it was. Even as local news outlets announced “winners and losers” of the budget battle, I saw something else:
I saw a leader willing to take the slings and arrows of newscasters and journalists in order to ensure that our state had a working budget.
Senate President Dominick Ruggiero’s leadership and humility has given us, members of the General Assembly, the opportunity to keep the promises we made to Rhode Islanders. He has given us another chance to pass legislative packages like the fair shot agenda, the mental health initiative and the justice reinvestment package, proving that the needs of the people are paramount to his pride. His decision shows true leadership and I, for one, am supremely grateful.
In a few short days, my colleagues and I will return to the State House and the people of Rhode Island can thank the Senate for that.