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LEADERSHIP FORUM: National Experts & Local Leaders to Discuss State’s 48th Ranking in Family Prosperity Report

Media Advisory: January 11, 2017

Rhode Island Center For Freedom & Prosperity and ACU Foundation to Sponsor Rhode Island Family Prosperity Leadership Forum

BACKGROUND: Rhode Island ranked 48th in the nation on the 2016 Family Prosperity Index. Local and national experts will convene to discuss the factors that led to this ranking as well as ideas for political, religious, and civic leaders in the state to consider as they work to expand prosperity across the Ocean State.

Pre-registration and full participant bios and other details can be viewed here: http://www.rifamilies.org/family_prosperity_forum

WHAT: Family Prosperity Leadership Forum: From Family Disintegration to Family Prosperity – Turning the Tide in the Ocean State

WHEN: January 17, 2017; Lunch 12:00 pm Forum: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

WHERE: Bryant University, Bello Center Grand Hall
1150 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, RI 02917

HOST: Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership

SPONSORS: The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity;
American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF)

INVITEES: Community, Religious, Business & Political Leaders
(Pre-Registration Required)

WHO: National & Local Civic & Policy Experts

National Presenters:
Grant Collins: Sr. VP, FedCap; ex US Dep’t of Health & Human Services
Nick Eberstadt, Ph.D.: Political economist at American Enterprise Institute
Angela Flood: Communications and policy advisor, ACUF
Thomas Hoenig, Ph.D.: Vice Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)
J. Scott Moody: Economist; Director Family Prosperity Initiative
David Safavian: Deputy Director for ACUF Criminal Justice Reform
Daniel Schneider: Executive Director ACUF
Wendy Warcholik, Ph.D.: Economist; Director Family Prosperity Initiative

Local Participants:
Ray Rickman: President, Rickman Group, former State Representative
Gary Sasse: Director, Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership; Founder, RIPEC
Mike Stenhouse: CEO, RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity

WHY: The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, along with its national partner, The American Conservative Union Foundation, today announced that they will conduct a public forum to analyze factors contributing to the Ocean State’s dismal 48th national rank on the Family Prosperity Index (FPI) as highlighted in their December release of the Rhode Island Family Prosperity report. The report highlights Rhode Island’s poor scores across a broad spectrum of measures of well-being, including family self-sufficiency, family structure, fertility, and illicit drug use, compounded by its significant out-migration rate.

fpi_ri-logoThe Family Prosperity Index was created by the ACUF as new tool that does what no resource has done before – demonstrate quantitatively the undeniable link between economic and social policy in determining family prosperity. In so doing, the Index provides a road map for finding real solutions to the cultural and financial problems that keep families – and the nation – from flourishing.

A more holistic measure than the one-dimensional unemployment rate or GDP, which only considers economic data, the FPI makes it possible to measure U.S. progress every year and rate states against each other according to how well they are providing an environment for families to flourish.

Rhode Island is just the second state in the nation to roll-out a detailed state-specific FPI report.

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Democrat Boycott #2; Southern RI Chamber Candidate Forum to Proceed Tonight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 20, 2016
Candidate Forum to Proceed Despite Democrat Boycott

Challengers Sven Soderberg and Bruce Waidler to Participate
Incumbents Susan Sosnowski and Kathleen Fogarty Refuse

Providence, RI — For the second time in a week, a General Assembly candidate forum will be held without Democrat candidates. The nonpartisan Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, a highly respected south county business group, will proceed tonight with its scheduled candidate forum for the Senate District 37 and House District 35 races. The forum, co-sponsored by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, will be conducted at 7:00 pm this evening at the Chamber on 230 Old Tower Hill Road in Wakefield. The moderator for the forum will Elizabeth Berman, Director of the Chamber.

Senate District 37 challenger, Sven Soderberg, has accepted the invitation, while incumbent Senator Susan Sosnowski (Democrat) has declined.

Similarly, the challenger for the House District 35 seat, Bruce Waidler (Independent) will participate, while incumbent Representative Kathleen Fogarty (Democrat) has refused to participate.

“With the worst business climate in the nation and the 48th rank in family prosperity, it is disappointing that some candidates refuse to face voters and explain their plan to remedy these unacceptable rankings,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. Links to post event videos and other information can be found on the Center’s debate homepage at www.RIFreedom.org/Debates.

The media and the public are welcome to attend.

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Democrats Boycott; East Bay General Assembly Candidate Forum Still on for Tonight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 12, 2016
Candidate Forum to Proceed Despite Democrat Party Boycott

Ken Mendonca and John Pagliarini to Participate
Linda Finn and James Seveney Refuse Invitation

Providence, RI — Apparently 630-WPRO AM radio is not the only boycott instituted by the Rhode Island Democrat Party. Portsmouth Concerned Citizens (PCC), which for many years has successfully conducted fair and nonpartisan successful debates, will move forward tonight with its scheduled Candidate’s Night Forum for the Senate District 11 and House District 72 races. The forum, sponsored by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, will be conducted at 7:00 pm at the Portsmouth Council Chamber on 2200 East Main Road. The moderator for the forum will be Kate Nagle, political reporter and editor for GoLocalProv.com.

Incumbent Senator John Pagliarini (Republican) from District 11 has accepted the invitation, while his challenger, James Seveney (Democrat) has declined.

Vying for the open House District 72 seat, are Ken Mendonca (Republican) who has also accepted, and former Representative Linda Finn (Democrat), who similarly followed the orders of the Portsmouth Democrat party and will not take part in the event.

“It is clear that Mr. Seveny and Ms. Finn are not willing to defend the status quo failures of their party, which have caused our state to suffer from the worst business climate in the nation and the 48th rank in family prosperity,” suggested Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center.

The likely reason for the refusal to debate from the two Democrat candidates is a September 18 open letter from Leonard Katzman, Chair of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee. In the letter, Mr. Katzman called into question the “legitimacy” of the candidate forums and the “fairness” of the PCC.

Video recordings of the forum events will be submitted to the Public Access Studio for play on Cable Channel 16. The videos will also be posted online on the Center’s debate homepage at www.RIFreedom.org/Debates

The media and the public are welcome to attend and are encouraged to submit questions for the candidates. This is also an opportunity to meet the candidates and express your concerns directly. Coffee and refreshments will be served following each session.

Center to Sponsor GA Candidate Debates. Kate Nagle to Moderate. Portsmouth Democrat Controversy?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2016
Center to Sponsor Two Debates in Partnership with Local Groups

Kate Nagle from GoLocalProv.com to be moderator.
Portsmouth Democrats create controversy so as to not participate?
Other local groups invited to partner with the Center.

Providence, RI — The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity announced today that it has reached an arrangement with a local group to sponsor two East Bay General Assembly candidate debates on October 12 in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Concerned Citizens (PCC), which for many years has successfully conducted similar debates, has invited the candidates for Senate District 11 and House District 72 to participate in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm event, which will be held at the Portsmouth Council Chamber on 2200 East Main Road. The moderator for the two debates will be Kate Nagle, political reporter and editor for GoLocalProv.com.

Incumbent Senator John Pagliarini (Republican) from District 11 has accepted the invitation, while his challenger, James Seveney (Democrat) has not yet responded.

Vying for the open House District 72 seat, are Ken Mendonca (Republican) who has accepted, and former Representative Linda Finn (Democrat), who also has not yet responded.

As sponsor of the debate, the Center’s role is largely promotional: to raise state and local awareness and to potentially host a post-debate video of the event. The Center has also collaborated with the PCC to develop up to four questions of statewide interest that will be asked of each candidate. All other operations and logistics are the responsibility of the local group, in the PCC case, with all other questions to come from the audience.

Garnering a lead, front page story in today’s Newport Daily News, a likely reason for the lack of response from the two

Democrat candidates is a September 18 open letter from Leonard Katzman, Chair of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee. In the letter, Mr. Katzman called into question the “legitimacy” of the candidate forums and the “fairness” of the PCC. Katzman also cast aspersions on the Center by falsely claiming Koch-brother backing and that the Center’s agenda is “antithetical to Democratic Party principles.”

“Our Center has earned the reputation as a nonpartisan and strong advocate for taxpayers: I cannot imagine that Mr. Katzman believes that looking out for taxpayers goes against his Democrat party principles. After all isn’t a debate supposed to be about discussing varying views of government? What are he and his candidates afraid of,” questioned Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Further, his mindless attempt to impugn the credibility of our Center through a bogus ploy of guilt-by-association to certain non-donors … is completely false. I call on Mr. Katzman to retract that statement.”

Thanks to the generosity of some of its donors, the Center has the financial capacity to sponsor additional debates. Local, nonpartisan groups interested in conducting their own debates should send an email to info@rifreedom.org.

Stenhouse commentary: Legislative Grants – Cheers to 10 Lawmakers, Shame on You

Commentary: CEO Stenhouse congratulates 10 lawmakers who have resisted immoral legislative grants, and rips the public policy culture they perpetuate.

See the video on The Ocean State CurrentStenSpeech3

Good day Rhode Island, I’m Mike Stenhouse with the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity welcoming you to our debate series, “What’s really in your best interests?”. Today we’ll explore the recently publicized and controversial topic of legislative grants. Are lawmakers the only people at fault, or is there a larger, more fundamental problem at play?

Legislative grants hand-out your taxpayer dollars to organizations in an arbitrary, yet highly politicized process. When your local Little League or parade receives such a grant, totaling anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, local lawmakers gets the credit for giving away your money … assuming those lawmakers, of course, are in favor with House and Senate leadership – this is where the internal politics comes in.

Much of the media attention has focused on lawmakers who have applied for such grants in a corrupt process to gain favor with voters. In looking at the other side of the coin, however, I’d like to recognize 10 lawmakers in the General Assembly who have not applied for a single legislative grant this year. In alphabetical order, they are:

Rep Greg Constantino, Democrat, Lincoln

Rep Blake Filippi, Independent, New Shoreham

Senator Mark Gee, Republican, East Greenwich

Rep Robert Jacquard, Democrat, Providence

Rep Karen MacBeth, Democrat turned Republican, Cumberland

Rep Brian Newberry, Republican minority leader, North Smithfield

Rep Jeremiah O’Grady, Democrat, Lincoln

Senator Ed O’Neill, Independent turned Republican, Lincoln

Senator John Pagliarini, Republican, Bristol

Rep Sheri Roberts, Republican, West Greenwich

These 10 lawmakers apparently understand the larger “principle” involved here … that the politicization of your hard-earned taxpayer dollars is simply wrong! I applaud these 10 lawmakers and I ask you to thank them next time you see them.

However, while we give “cheers” to these 10, there is another group who roundly deserve “boos”. The problem with legislative grants is not just the waste of your taxpayer dollars, but it’s the culture they perpetuate. It seems more and more, whether it be 38 Studios, a baseball stadium, the Superman building, local groups, and countless other private enterprises … that far too many individuals and businesses are becoming increasingly dependent on government handouts to survive or to boost their profits.

Just go up to Smith Hill some day. See who’s hanging around outside and inside the legislative chambers, listen to who testifies at the various hearings, and if you’re like me you’ll be sickened by sheer number of people up there demanding they get some of your money … as if it’s their right. No wonder some call it a “Den of Thieves”.

I say shame on you if you’re one of these businesses or groups who come begging to Smith Hill, to your legislators, or to your local town and city council with your hands out; whether seeking tax credits, subsidies, loan guarantees, tax stabilization plans, or, yes, a legislative grant.

If you’re one of these beggars, you are as big a problem as the lawmakers who accede to your demands.

You help perpetuate a special-interest culture of corruption

You help create an unfair playing field that distorts the free-market economy.

Why does your organization have any right to my money?

You are not examples of successful American capitalism  … you are byproducts of insider cronyism.

This overly-politicized “money” culture is immoral and it must stop. If we are to reform this corrupt culture, it must start with you … the people of Rhode Island. Our Center has never taken and never will take a single dime of taxpayer money. We depend entirely on the generosity of private individuals and private foundations.

Stop seeking government handouts … instead, start doing it yourself.

Stop supporting special-interest spending policies … instead, start demanding broad-based tax and regulatory cuts that benefit all of us.

Stop cozying up to politicians in order to curry monetary favor from them … instead, start holding them accountable when they politicize your money.

Friends, together, we can stop this corruption that benefits the insiders and hurts the rest of us. Let’s make a point of congratulating these 10 lawmakers … and among ourselves, let’s pledg to build our futures, on our own, so that our prosperity will be based on nothing more than our own hard work and ingenuity.

This how Rhode Island can be returned to prosperity.
In liberty, I remain at your service. This is Mike Stenhouse, good day.

Debate Shut Down? Center Blasts House Committee for Passing Flawed Bill that Creates Rigged Housing Commission

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2016

Enhancements to H7989 Rejected. Misleading and Provocative Language Would Create Affordable Housing Commission Rigged with Biased Members
Hypocrisy from Speaker’s Office Ensures that RhodeMap RI Moves Onward

Providence, RI — It is the mission of the Center to engage in a rigorous and honest debate about important policy issues. Conversely, at least one bill sponsor and her Committee partisans disagree; instead preferring a rigged, one-sided debate, in a demonstrably hypocritical process.

Despite a prior appeal from the Chairman and a motion from other committee members, the House Committee on Municipal Government disregarded fairness and passed a bill that would shut down open and legitimate debate on an issue of great interest to many Rhode Islanders. This after rejecting improvements to the bill as formally suggested by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

H7989A, which will soon move receive a full House vote, would create a commission unfairly stacked with affordable housing advocates and without any legitimate representation of property owners, taxpayers or good government groups. Following its testimony on the original bill earlier in the month, the Center was asked by the Chairman, Rep. Robert Craven (D, N. Kingston), to work with the bill sponsor, Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D, Central Falls), to work out an arrangement whereby the nonprofit Center would be allowed to appoint at least one additional commission member. Maldonado rejected the concept, instead choosing to keep alternative voices off of the commission, which might disrupt the commission from reaching its pre-determined conclusions.

Also, despite passionate appeals and a motion from Rep. Blake Filippi (I, New Shoreham) and Rep. Justin Price (R, Exter) for the Center to be able to designate a commission member, the Chairman allowed the Democrat-controlled committee nonetheless to rubber-stamp Maldonado’s bill.

Hypocrisy? Even the legal council for the Speaker’s office was consulted in a ploy to put down the motion. However, both his and the Chairman’s claims that amending the bill in any substantial way, ostensibly by designating the Center to appoint an additional commission member, then immediately voting on bill, might violate the state’s Open Meetings Act. Incredibly, just moments later, the committee passed a sub-A version of the bill that indeed added a new commission member who had the favor of the bill sponsor.

The bill is flawed not only in that it creates an unfair commission membership, but it is also based on a misleading premise, while making unsupported racial implications.

Also rejected by Maldonado, was language suggested by the Center to correct the bill’s inaccurate and inflammatory language. The bill states that multiple localities are not meeting and have disregarded their required “state-mandated” affordable housing “thresholds”. as the Center pointed out in its testimony, no such mandates exist in state law.

The bill language further cites that “institutional” and “discriminatory actions” that limit home ownership must be addressed. The Center called on the sponsor to provide direct evidence of such provocative accusations, or withdraw the language. This appeal was also rejected.

The Center does not oppose the commission concept and welcomes the opportunity for a public debate. However, it is the Center’s position that it is necessary to have a fairly constructed commission that will explore all sides of this controversial topic; and, by virtue of the high level of research and public awareness it has raised on this issue, that the Center has earned a spot on the commission.

The Center maintains that the commission must be designed to properly debate the Brookings Institution, RhodeMap RI, and the federal government’s HUD agendas, as they relate to this topic, which the commission is obviously designed to advance. The Center also believes that the commission’s formation should be premised on accurate and tempered language.

Ironically, the committee’s actions occurred less than one week after Rob Astorino, Executive for Westchester County (NY), the poster-child for HUD infringement on local sovereignty, spoke of HUD’s heavy-handed tactics at a fundraising event for Center in the Chairman’s own district in North Kingstown.

PolitiFact RI Should be Condemned for Ruling on Center’s HPV Statement

Commentary

PolitiFact RI Should be Sentenced to Journalistic Death

Once again twists truth to support pre-determined ruling

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity calls on the Providence Journal to issue a death sentence to its PolitFact RI kangaroo court.

Time after time, in defending the status quo, the so-called “Truth-o-meter” has used tortuously twisted logic and intellectually dishonest rationale as evidence to support  what are obviously pre-determined, biased rulings.

In challenging the corrupt, status quo politics in RI, our Center recently issued the following statement about the burgeoning HPV vaccine mandate debate:

“Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”

In ruling that our Center’s statement was only “Half True”, PolitiFact-RI not only continued its pattern of seeking to find fault with accurate and honest statements, but one of Politifact’s twisted arguments was that a “requirement” is not a “mandate”. In its zeal to condemn our Center, it may not have been clear to the prosecutor-judge-and-jury-all-in-one writers that, PolitiFact’s ruling contradicted its own newspaper headlines.

On July 29, the day before the Center released its statement, the Providence Journal ran this headline at the very top of its front page:  “Rhode Island to mandate HPV vaccine for 7th graders.” The article itself used the word “mandatory” five times.

Further, in reaching its farcical ruling, PolitiFact purposely attempted to deceive our Center. In its initial inquiry to the Center, PolitFact asked:

“We are asking you to provide evidence to support this statement. There are two elements. First, that Rhode Island is the only state to mandate the vaccine. And second, that no other state has mandated the vaccine in the particular way that you describe.”

As the reader can also see in the entire email thread below, there are three important deceptions to point out:

  1. Politifact itself misrepresented the facts in question, as we never claimed that RI was the “only” state to mandate the vaccine. Nice try.
  2. PolitiFact refused to clarify which aspect of our statement they were challenging, despite repeated requests from our end
  3. Similarly, as has also been their pattern, PolitiFact utilized a bait-and-switch tactic; seemingly inquiring about one aspect of the statement, when, in practice, they base their ruling on a contrived interpretation of some other, more obscure aspect (ie, is this a mandate?)

Pointing out other under-handed tactics, Justin Katz further wrote in a related post in The Ocean State Current:

The brief summary under the “Truth-o-meter” reading “Half True” on PolitiFact RI’s main page emphasizes: “Pretty flexible for a despot.”  That’s a reference to the most weaselly part of Mark Reynolds’s quote-unquote analysis, which reads as follows:

[CEO Mike] Stenhouse labels the policies in Virginia and Rhode Island as mandates. But Jason L. Schwartz, an assistant professor at the Yale University School of Public Health, says you can’t call policies with such liberal exemptions mandates. At best, this is an example of the frequent PolitiFact tactic of finding somebody whose opinion the writer prefers and treating that as the authoritative fact.

One wonders, though, what rating PolitiFact RI would give its own newspaper.

As for the PolitiFact rating, there are three relevant premises:

Rhode Island is only the second state to require the HPV vaccine for students. Even PolitiFact admits this is true.

The requirement is a mandate. This is so true that the supposedly objective journalists at PolitiFact RI’s home paper ran it in the most prominent spot on the paper.

The mandate was implemented without public debate.  PolitiFact’s evidence of “public debate”  is that the professional activists at the ACLU managed to send in a written objection and post about it on Facebook.  Well, then.

The fact that PolitiFact considers the awareness of the ACLU to be “public debate” — as opposed to hearings and a floor debate by the public’s elected representatives — is one of two highly disturbing aspects of Reynolds’s essay.  The other is the latitude that it gives to government officials to adjust the truth to suit their needs.  Days after the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity helped drum up actual public debate and concern about the HPV mandate, the Dept. of Health came forward to assert that the exemptions are so broad that its mandates should really be considered something more like suggestions.

The Providence Journal should end this fraudulent, government-propaganda feature.  It distorts public awareness and undermines the political process.

Finally, PolitiFact refused to publish the official statement our Center provided in response to its inquiry:

“The Center stands by its statement. In mishandling the plainly presented content of our research in PolitiFact’s original inquiry to us, combined with PolitiFact’s past pattern of twisting the obvious intent of straightforward statements, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has lost faith in PolitiFact’s mission to “find the truth” and will no longer participate in a process, where one organization plays prosecutor, judge, and jury in often reaching intellectually dishonest rulings.

The vital components of our statement have been validated by the Providence Journal’s own reporting and in your own emails to us. The Center further invites PolitiFact readers to conduct their own independent online search on the National Conference of State Legislatures website.”

PolitiFact has become PolitFarce. The people of Rhode Island deserve an honest debate about major public policy issues, where each side has a forum to openly present their respective points of view. When the resources of  a powerful organization like the Providence Journal are used to serve as self-proclaimed judge, yet consistently, and likely purposely, corrupts what should be a helpful fact-finding process, it’s time for PolitiFact RI to be sentenced to journalistic death.

THE ENTIRE EMAIL THREAD
—— Original Message ——
From: “Mike Stenhouse”
To: “Reynolds, Mark” <mreynold@providencejournal.com>
Cc: “Justin Katz” <jkatz@oceanstatecurrent.com>
Sent: 8/13/2015 7:34:08 AM
Subject: Re[6]: PolitiFact/Providence Journal
Mark – thank your for your responses, however Politifact’s mishandling of our simple statement, combined with the changing nature of your questions to us, has generated serious concern by our Center about PolitiFact’s capacity to conduct a fair investigation. Below is the only statement our Center will make on this matter, and we ask you to publish it – in full – as our official response to your inquiry:
“The Center stands by its statement. In mishandling the plainly presented content of our research in PolitiFact’s original inquiry to us, combined with PolitiFact’s past pattern of twisting the obvious intent of straightforward statements, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has lost faith in PolitiFact’s mission to “find the truth” and will no longer participate in a process, where one organization plays prosecutor, judge, and jury in often reaching intellectually dishonest rulings.
The vital components of our statement have been validated by the Providence Journal’s own reporting and in your own emails to us. The Center further invites PolitiFact readers to conduct their own independent online search on the National Conference of State Legislatures website.”
Mike Stenhouse
CEO
—— Original Message ——
From: “Reynolds, Mark” <mreynold@providencejournal.com>
To: “Mike Stenhouse”
Sent: 8/12/2015 4:22:30 PM
Subject: Re: Re[4]: PolitiFact/Providence Journal
Hi Mike,
The statement we are reviewing and using for the PolitiFact item is the entire statement we sent originally including the part about Virginia.
It’s the following: “Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”
–MR
On Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 2:16 PM, Mike Stenhouse wrote:
Hi Mark – appreciate the clarification, but you’ve also raised some new questions. May I ask a question in response?
Will Politifact include the aspects of my original statement that you have since determined to be true as part of your ruling, or is Politifact now focused on the “fiat” and “public debate” aspects as the entire basis to make your ruling?
Regards,
Mike Stenhouse
CEO
—— Original Message ——
From: “Reynolds, Mark” <mreynold@providencejournal.com>
To: “Mike Stenhouse”
Sent: 8/12/2015 12:11:48 PM
Subject: Re: Re[2]: PolitiFact/Providence Journal
Dear Mr. Stenhouse,
Wanted to get back to you on my recent outreach and hopefully provide greater clarity than before about where I am at in this process.
As you recall, I saw two elements, or halves, of the statement.
The first part was: “Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine.” I’ve determined that this part of the statement looks like it’s true. The only other state was Virginia. Also, Virginia enacted legislation for requiring the vaccine. It appears Virginia has some opt out provisions. Some say this raises questions about whether the vaccine is really mandated if students can opt out. Do you have any thoughts about that?
So the second part of the statement was: ” … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”
I now have some information on this. It’s clear that Rhode Island did not enact legislation as Virginia did. I’m told that the director of the Department of Health, Michael Fine, adopted a regulation that actually took effect on July 1, 2014.
This regulation called for requiring all students entering seventh grade to have at least one dose of the HPV vaccine “beginning Aug. 1, 2015.” Also, the Department of Health did have a public hearing on Jan. 16, 2014, prior to the adoption of the new regulation.
I am curious about your use of the word “fiat.” Why did you choose that particular word?  I’m hoping you find this note helpful. Respectfully,
Mark Reynolds
On Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 2:18 PM, Mike Stenhouse wrote:
Again Mark, sorry, but I’m still not clear what you’re looking for. You state you are interested in only 2 elements, yet there are 3 elements in the statement you cite, including “without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”
Are you asking us to respond to just 2 or all 3 components?
Enjoy your weekend,
Mike Stenhouse
CEO
—— Original Message ——
From: “Reynolds, Mark” <mreynold@providencejournal.com>
To: “Mike Stenhouse”
Sent: 7/30/2015 6:56:44 PM
Subject: Re: PolitiFact/Providence Journal
Dear Mr. Stenhouse,
My apologies for misstating that and my thanks for an opportunity to restate it. The first element is that Rhode Island would be just the second state to mandate the vaccine. To clarify the related question I ask, how do you know that only one state so far has mandated the vaccine?
Let me also be clear that I am formally asking you to provide evidence to support both elements of the statement I’ve referred to, including the second element, which is that Rhode Island, as you put it, would be “the only state to do so(mandate the vaccine) by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”
Respectfully,
Mark Reynolds
On Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 6:25 PM, Mike Stenhouse wrote:
Mark – thank you for your inquiry, however the premise of your question is incorrect:
Among the two elements you suggest, you wrote: “First, that Rhode Island is the only state to mandate the vaccine.” This is not what we stated and is a flat-out inaccurate characterization of our statement. Please clarify your inquiry.
I m copying our research director, Justin Katz, so he can monitor your inquiry.
Thank you,
Mike Stenhouse
CEO
—— Original Message ——
From: “Reynolds, Mark” <mreynold@providencejournal.com>
To: Mike Stenhouse
Sent: 7/30/2015 5:33:15 PM
Subject: PolitiFact/Providence Journal
To; Mike Stenhouse, CEO,  RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity
From: Mark Reynolds, Staff Writer, The Providence Journal/PolitiFact.com
July 30, 2015
Dear Mr. Stenhouse,
My name is Mark Reynolds. I’m a longtime reporter for The Providence Journal assigned to PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking organization.
We recently noticed this statement on the web-site for the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity:
“Rhode Island will become just the second state to mandate the vaccine … and the only state to do so by regulatory fiat, without public debate, and without consideration from the elected representatives of the people.”
We are asking you to provide evidence to support this statement. There are two elements. First, that Rhode Island is the only state to mandate the vaccine. And second, that no other state has mandated the vaccine in the particular way that you describe.
This is your opportunity to back up both elements of the statement with evidence such as documents or whatever you based these observations on.
Also, it seems obvious to ask this sequence of questions: The first element of the statement reflects a knowledge that all but two states have not mandated the vaccine. How do you know this? Did you check this in each of the other states. If so, what did you base your determinations on?
Feel free to telephone me at (401) 277-7490 with any questions about this communication.
Respectfully,
Mark Reynolds

UnleashRI Debate Series: Debate Panelists

DebateLogo2

 

(go back to debate home page)

As part of its UnleashRI debate series, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is pleased that the following policy experts and advocates have agreed to participate as debate panelists in our April 26, 2014 debate on the University of Rhode Island Campus, entitled: “What’s Really In Our Best Interests?”

Debate Segment 1: Policy and Economic Philosophy

steve-mooreSTEPHEN MOORE recently joined The Heritage Foundation as Heritage’s chief economist. Prior to taking a position at Heritage, Moore served for nine years as the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal editorial page and a member of the Journal’s editorial board. He is the founder and President of the Club for Growth and served as a Senior Economist for the Joint Economic Committee. Moore worked for two presidential commissions under the Reagan Administration. He has authored 6 books and appears daily on Fox News Channel and is seen frequently on CNN and CNBC. Moore was a graduate from the University of Illinois and holds an MA in Economics from George Mason University.

TOM SGOUROS is a freelance public policy researcher, engineer, and writer in Rhode Island. His policy work spans a range of topics, including economics, health care, public finance, and budgeting. Over a 26-year career, he has consulted with dozens of campaigns, elected officials, and activist groups, offering legislation, testimony, and technical reports. He has had clients in many states, but still treasures most his work here and his complete set of Rhode Island state budget documents, dating back to 1990. He also works as a software engineer and statistician, and is a frequent contributor to rifuture.org. He has just completed a book about banking: “Checking the Banks: The Nuts and Bolts of Banking for People Who Want to Fix It” see checkingthebanks.com.

Debate Segment 2: Moral Aspects to Public Policy

RICH BENJAMIN is Senior Fellow with Demos, bringing an astute, original voice to politics and social issues, in the US and abroad.  He is the author of Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America, winner of an Editor’s Choice Award from Booklist and the American Library Association (2009).

Rich’s commentary appears regularly in the media, including on NPR, MSNBC, CSPAN,The New York TimesUSA Today, and CNN.com.  Rich is a contributor forTime/Time.com in partnership with CNN. He also sits on the Board of Contributors for USA Today.  As an expert on politics and culture, Rich has held teaching and research positions at Stanford University, Brown University, and the Columbia University School of Law.

Rich earned a BA in English and political science from Wesleyan University and his PhD in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University.  ?He is a member of the Authors Guild, PEN American Center, and the National Book Critics Circle. Please visit him at www.richbenjamin.com.

DON WATKINS is coauthor, with Yaron Brook, of the national best-sellerFree Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government,and a fellow of the Ayn Rand Institute, where he studies Social Security reform, poverty and the moral foundations of capitalism.

As one of today’s most vocal champions of laissez-faire capitalism, Mr. Watkins has been interviewed on hundreds of radio and TV programs, and speaks regularly at conferences and university campuses, including Stanford, Brown, the University of Virginia, and the University of Chicago. He has briefed congressional staffers on Capitol Hill. His writings have appeared in The GuardianUSA TodayForbesChristian Science MonitorInvestor’s Business DailyDaily Caller and Foxnews.com, among many others. He is coauthor of a regular column at Forbes.com, along with Yaron Brook.

Student Panelists:

One of the unique features of this debate, is that paired with each policy expert in Segment-1 will be an area college student or recent graduate to give the debate a more local and youthful flavor. Our Center would like to introduce you to:

JustinBraga

Justin Braga: paired with Steve Moore in Segment 1, Justin is currently the Chairman of the College Republican Federation of RI and also serves as President of the Alexander Hamilton society at Brown University, where he is a student, studying political science.

SamuelBell

Samuel Bell:  paired with Tom Sgouros in Segment 1, Samuel is the RI state coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America and also serves as VP of Young Democrats of RI.  He is a recent Amherst College graduate and Brown Univ. graduate student.

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