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.
- “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.
- 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 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.