Fair Elections Rally

Proponents of publicly financing Rhode Island elections are slated to hold a 3 pm rally in the State House rotunda tomorrow to highlight the introduction of related legislation. This will be the third year in which Clean Elections legislation has been introduced, so we'll see if it gets any further than in the past.

As Phil West, then the director of Common Cause of Rhode Island, told me when I wrote about this issue a few years back:

"We have to go to the very people [in the General Assembly] who are directly affected and say, 'Can we make it easier for someone to run against you? It's not an easy sell."

Still, the long journey of separation of powers, which became law last year after a fight that began in the '90s, shows that even improbable reform measures can come to fruition in Rhode Island with enough public support. West, who finds the youthful interest of [Te-Ping] Chen and her fellow Brown students [backing the measure] inspiring, was encouraged by how they began pushing the proposal last year. "It's a good thing you're freshman," he recalls telling them at the time, "because we might not get this done in a year."

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