Stenhouse Testimony to Blast RI Innovates as Illegitimate at House/Senate Hearings


March 15, 2016

Will Question Illegitimate Process – Citing Transparency, Ethical, and Legal Concerns

Providence, RI — As yet another example of state political leaders bypassing generally accepted good-government practices, the CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, Mike Stenhouse, will detail the illegitimate process by which “RI Innovates”, a continuation of the controversial RhodeMap RI agenda, was adopted as Rhode Island’s official economic development plan.

Designed by the Brookings Institution with a grant of $1.3 million, the RI Innovates plan is set to receive its statutorily required hearings when the Senate and House Finance Committees hold separate hearings this afternoon at 2:30 (Room 313) and at the rise (Room 35) respectively at the State House.

In his prepared remarks, Stenhouse will raise a number of concerns about the process, including its legal shortcomings, deceptive agenda, funding issues, and purposeful avoidance of public transparency. The Brookings plan was recommended by the Governor and adopted by the state planning council without any public debate.

The Center commends Senator Lou Raptakis (D, Coventry) who yesterday issued a media release, also critical of the process, which does not require a vote of lawmakers, as insufficient from an oversight perspective. The Senator indicated he will submit legislation requiring a General Assembly vote to approve RI Innovates.

Regarding the plan itself, Stenhouse, who holds a degree in Economics from Harvard University, will expose the narrow, pre-designed conclusions and recommendations in the plan as part of federal agenda to advance a dubious sustainable development, or smart growth, philosophy … as opposed to a custom plan for the Ocean State.

In a related matter, the Center hopes to also present testimony at a Senate Judiciary hearing of Senate bill 2409 (Room 310 at the rise) that would preclude the use of eminent domain for private, economic development purposes. Aggressive use of eminent domain to seize land from property owners is a major tool of the general smart growth agenda and is strongly implied in the Brookings plan.

Stenhouse’s revised remarks will be posted later this evening on the Center’s website at .

Media Contact:
Mike Stenhouse, CEO
401.429.6115 |

About the Center
The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise research and advocacy organization. The nonprofit Center is funded entirely by private tax-deductible donations and never accepts public funding. The mission of the 501-C-3 organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting individual freedoms