Bill Harsch for Attorney General: “The Present System Benefitting the Chosen Few at the Expense of Working Rhode Islanders has to be Changed”

At his official campaign kick-off on Friday, Rhode Island Attorney General candidate William Harsch explained that a key component of his campaign will be increasing awareness about what the office of the Attorney General should be doing, but is not doing under the tenure of the current office-holder.
According to Mr. Harsch, the mission of the Attorney General is twofold. The AG must act both defensively and proactively, fighting crime and corruption after something goes wrong, as well as advocating for the public in areas like utility rates and health costs before problems begin. Mr. Harsch laments that in Rhode Island, because “the pro-active piece has been totally missing for so long”, people have forgotten that it is an important part of the job.
With regard to corruption, Mr. Harsch promised to…

  • Join with Governor Carcieri to eliminate existing corruption and prevent future abuses and work to replace Rhode Island’s culture of corruption with a culture of integrity.
  • Hold individuals who have betrayed the public trust, including members of non-profit boards and members of the General Assembly, accountable for their actions.
With regard to utilities, Mr. Harsch promised to…
  • “Participate aggressively in every utility rate and facility filing before the Public Utilities Commission”. Mr. Harsch noted that, by law, the Attorney General is a party to board meetings and that his absence is noted if he fails to attend.
  • Go to Washington to address the fuel cost formula that determines utility rates in RI, because at least 70% of costs are determined by a formula that artificially ties all energy costs — even energy generated from alternative sources — to snapshots of oil and natural gas prices. According to Mr. Harsch, this odd system exists because nobody from the Attorney General’s office was present to represent Rhode Island when the current formula was created.
With regard to healthcare, Mr. Harsch promised to…
  • Look very hard and very aggressively at future proposals for rate increases, at proposals for coverage decreases, and at costs that have been wrapped up in the past for “bonuses, gifts, and perks of every kind”.
  • Investigate monies being lost to special reserve accounts and because of legislative add-ons.
Mr. Harsch went on to cite a few highlights from his 30-years of advocating for the public interest, including defending the constitutional rights of individuals from well-connected landfill owners who tried using lawsuits to suppress public criticism of their operation, taking on state government insiders who wanted to build an incinerator at Quonset (a project that would have stifled the development potential that the state is now realizing there), taking on the electric company “to end the rate-increase scam called pancaking”, taking on Foxwoods and Time-Warner to prevent them from building an amusement park in a rural town, and stopping the General Assembly from driving shell fisherman off of Narrgansett Bay.
Mr. Harsch said he has been and will continue to be effective in serving the public because he is willing to step on some toes, even well-connected toes, when that is what is necessary to protect the public interest. In concluding, he said that he does not view the rewards of public service in terms of access to special deals or fancy jobs. Instead…
My reward is being able to stand here today and say to you that I am ready give Rhode Islanders what they deserve for a change. Let the message be very clear. This state does not exist to make a few powerful families rich…Rhode Island needs an Attorney General who will be the people’s lawyer, an Attorney General who will do the people’s business, and not the business of a political machine or a political party, or some other special interest. I humbly submit to you that I am that candidate.

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Tom Shevlin
Tom Shevlin
18 years ago

I first want to thank Andrew for his recent postings on Attorney General candidate Bill Harsch, and for approaching Rhode Island’s political debate from such a high level. Although I may be preaching to the choir, I must emphasize the importance of the office of Attorney General. If Rhode Island is ever to break our cycle of corruption and insider politics we need an effective Attorney General. And while corruption has been a hallmark for Rhode Island for decades, we must recognize that there is a dire cost to that we are all paying as a result of that corruption. Just think about it: – Utility and healthcare rates that go unregulated because of political and personal connections with the utility companies – Lax enforcement of our existing fire codes with no recourse that result in untold millions in costs for landlords and businesses – The corruption of our non-profit and quasi-public institutions (Beacon Mutual, Roger Williams Hospital) – Government cronyism that yields huge budget shortfalls and jeopardizes Rhode Island’s future – And most of all, the perpetual control of the General Assembly by Democrat politicians bent on increasing taxes and expanding government handouts. We need have an Attorney General that can fight the rising cost of utilities and healthcare costs; that can put the fear of God into some of our elected officials to make them accountable to their constituents rather than political correctness and powerful labor unions; and that can work WITH the Governor rather than against him and help make Rhode Island a model state with a bright future. I urge you to visit Bill’s website, Learn about what the Attorney General can do for you, donate to the campaign, then tell your friends, family, and co-workers! The office of Attorney General is vital to the… Read more »

Fred on the Blog
Fred on the Blog
18 years ago

Is Bill Harsch a real Republican or just another Rhode Island RINO. I have to wonder. He was not a registered Republican last election? I know here comes the Ronald Reagan issue agian. I would have to respond I registered as a republican at 18 and so did Rush Limbaugh. Just can’t put full support behind someone which decided to go republican when it suits him.

Tom Shevlin
Tom Shevlin
18 years ago

Fred, As a charter member of the Rhode Island Young Republicans and a registered Republican since 18, I am particularly sensitive to this criticism. After spending countless hours with Bill on both a professional and personal level, I can say with 100% certainty that Bill is absolutely NOT a RINO. Bill is a reformer. He believes in strong checks on government power, a competitive marketplace, open government, the need for small businesses, and personal responsibility. He supports eminent domain reform and gun rights. He has a proven track record of fighting Rhode Island’s powers-that-be, and has extensive experience not only on the local and state level, but federally as well. If you look at his career he has consistently been a reformer, and he will be that as Attorney General as well. While Bill was not registered as a Republican last time out for a number of reasons, I implore you not to limit your view of Bill’s candidacy based on his past party affiliation. But just so you know, there are a number of reasons why Bill did not run as a Republican last time out. Firstly, as town solicitor for a number of Rhode Island communities, it is important not to be alligned with any given political party, hence his Independent affiliation. And secondly, Bill got into the race for AG at the 11th hour because no one in the RIGOP had the courage to stand up to the brother of the RI Democratic Party. Bill did have the courage to stand up, and was the 2nd leading non-democratic vote-getter on the ticket with 120,000 votes. The bottom line is this: The office of Attorney General is too important to let it go under-utilized. It cannot be another stepping stone for higher office or for political purposes. As… Read more »

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