Congressman Patrick Kennedy Wants to Expand Gambling in Rhode Island, Even Though He Is “Personally Opposed”
Congressman Patrick Kennedy will seek to use Federal law to reverse the people of Rhode Island’s rejection of an Indian casino.
But don’t worry. According to John E. Mulligan and Katherine Gregg, reporting in today’s Projo, Congressman Kennedy does not support the expansion of gambling in Rhode Island. He just favors allowing gambling to be expanded in Rhode Island, without the approval of the state legislature or the people. Hey, it’s his position, not mine….
Nearly a decade after his first high-profile effort to free the Narragansett Indians from having to secure state and local voter approval before opening a gambling hall on their tribal land in Charlestown, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy says he is ready to pick up where he left off.The Projo article also includes a sentence Rhode Islanders should get used to reading for the next six years…
After meeting with tribal leaders and their lawyers in Washington this week, Kennedy said he will seek a congressional hearing on “the fairness” to the tribe of the so-called Chafee amendment that, in effect, made the Narragansetts abide by the same state gambling-approval laws as any commercial gambling operator….
Spokeswoman Robin Costello said [Congressman Kennedy] personally opposes the expansion of gambling in Rhode Island and voted against the Narragansetts’ proposed West Warwick casino in November, but “he feels the Chafee amendment impedes the sovereign rights of the Narragansetts.”
New U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s position is less clear.Mulligan and Gregg continue…
Without a specific bill in front of him, spokeswoman Alex Swartsel said Whitehouse could not speculate on his position, but he opposes the expansion of gambling and that would “guide” whatever position he ultimately takes.Senator Whitehouse’s position is remarkably similar to Congressman Kennedy’s position. He is opposed to expanding gambling, but not necessarily to legislation that expands gambling. Huh? Maybe “I am personally opposed, but will take whatever position the special interest groups and the activists order me to take!” is on its way to becoming the official Democratic position on all issues. Or, noting that in the Projo article, Senator Jack Reed and Congressman James Langevin express unambiguous opposition to repealing the Chafee amendment, maybe the problem is that politicians from patrician backgrounds are more likely to disregard the wishes of the huddled masses they purportedly represent. Let the voter beware.
If nothing alse, can we at least use this issue to dispense with the argument that voter initiative is bad idea because politicans are somehow immune from special interest influence that might sway the general public?