One item within the Tiverton Town Charter that has become a contentious topic of debate is the current signature count (50) required to gain access to the ballot as a valid candidate for the Charter Review Commission.
My belief is that the current requirement of 50 signatures is adequate and respects the right of any citizen who wishes to seek public office. In some recent letters, the idea of raising the count to over 600 required signatures has been proposed and to put that number in perspective current Rhode Island law requires 500 signatures to run for US Congress.
Raising the signature count to ridiculous numbers threatens to silence the voice of hardworking taxpaying citizens who may wish to run for local elected positions, placing dangerous unchecked power in the hands of the well-connected and politically entrenched.
One of the questions on the survey provided by Tiverton Taxpayers Association asked if candidates would consider increasing the number of signatures required, only half of the 24 candidates responded to this survey and only 12 candidates responded to the survey question with a resounding “no” to any potential increase of signature count. By going to this web address you can see all the tough survey questions answered.
As for the rest of the candidates who did not respond to the survey, there is no excuse or justification as to why you chose not to participate and your silence speaks volumes. This Charter Review Commission is supposed to be a bipartisan effort to review and improve the Town Charter where appropriate. For any candidate to downplay the importance of taxes or to simply say they are qualified because of rookie political newcomer inexperience is troubling and shouldn’t be taken lightly. The fact that some are citing their political inexperience shows they are not looking to bridge the gap in a bipartisan fashion, rather they are coming in with a specific one-sided partisan agenda.
The Tiverton Taxpayers Association endorsed 9 uniquely qualified and talented group of energetic candidates who have proven they can answer the tough questions and will do a fantastic job ensuring that the Town Charter continues to protect the voice of every tax paying citizen of Tiverton, not just the select or privileged few.
My growing family loves our home town, and on July 18 I will proudly be voting for the following 9 candidates who will protect Tiverton from radical and unnecessary change: Justin LaCroix, Nancy Driggs, Jeffrey Caron, Richard Rom, Robert Coulter, Raymond Fougere, Stephen Clarke, William Lopes, Donna Cook, and I encourage you to do the same.