A Line from the Town to the State
On my wish list of general changes to Rhode Island government structure is bringing state representation more directly in line with voter residence. I’ve argued that legislators would thereby be more accessible and that such a system would create a more direct line for involved residents to move up the ladder of governance — moving from local committees, to town councils, to state senator. State Senate candidate Dawson Hodges adds some fuel to the fire:
So long as Rhode Island maintains home rule for its municipalities, a more prudent constitutional reform might be to reapportion the Senate to one seat for each city and town. Senators representing cities and towns would give municipal governments, which are responsible for the bulk of government expenditures and services, a voice in the State House.
Municipality-based Senate representation would also restore some influence to those well managed cities and towns whose residents shoulder a disproportionate share of Rhode Island’s tax burden.
Of course, I might as well have added “imaginary” before “wish list,” above, because gerrymandering is one of the mechanisms that keeps the old guard in power.