Nancy Driggs Sums Up a Campaign’s Rationale
On Saturday, Tiverton Citizens for Change hosted a fundraiser for local candidates, featuring speeches from several. Nancy Driggs, Republican for RI House District 70 (Portsmouth, Tiverton), gave us something a bit more comprehensive than a review of local issues. Here is what she said.
My name is Nancy Driggs, and I am the non-incumbent candidate for RI State Representative, District 70. I was graduated from the Univ. of Pennsylvania undergraduate, and from the U.C.L.A. School of Law. I am licensed to practice law in California, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. My major areas of practice have been in the corporate/securities area, both at the SEC and a major Boston law firm, and then for almost 20 years, in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as a litigator in child custody cases of child abuse and neglect, and ultimately termination of parental rights to free the child for adoption.
I have been married to John Perkins, a partner in the RI small business of Wellington Yacht Partners, for 34 years. We have three children, a daughter who is a pediatrician/neonatologist at Women’s and Infants, a son who is a financial analyst in Maryland, and another son who is a lawyer in Boston. We have two and three-quarters grandchildren.
In order to discuss what I consider the most compelling issues in our state, I have to discuss underlying principles, which guide me, and which inform these other issues.
The well-being of children, the most vulnerable amongst us, has been, always, a top priority for me. I believe, however, that we, as a society, and within our state, are destroying many young lives.
In my years of legal work in this arena I have seen the devastation wrought on families by our current “entitlement” and “benefit” culture. We have created, and continue to create, generations of government dependents. We have ruined families. A father’s role to support offspring is ignored — the state (substitute taxpayer), instead, becoming the provider. We have neutered and made irrelevant, any sense of personal accountability and responsibility for actions — substituting, again, the taxpayer to provide for their children.
I remember being in Family Court in Providence for a hearing. I represented, at that time, the one year old child of an 18 year old mother. The child was in foster care because of mother’s domestic violence issues with the child’s father. It became clear that day that mother was again pregnant, and I asked her how she expected to take care of that child. Her answer? I get aid from the state. There was no sense that aid actually came from taxpayer’s pockets. There was no shame that she would be taking it. There was no personal accountability.
I think, however, that this new vocabulary of “entitlements” and “benefits” that I witnessed in my work in the child custody arena, is symptomatic of society at large. And it needs to be changed. It has replaced the vocabulary of “fiscal accountability” and “personal accountability” that I grew up with. We are living in a surreal and dangerous world right now in Rhode Island where the government is demanding more and more money from the taxpayers to fund its ever-growing self and its many programs, and the taxpayers are finally saying, “enough, I’m out of here.”
And when the taxpayer goes, whether an individual, or a corporation, so go jobs, and so go their revenues from the state’s coffer.
It is as simple as that. We need to bring fiscal reality back into focus. We use the words “balance sheet” and “balanced budget,” but we ignore the definition. A financial statement and a budget are balanced when liabilities equal assets. We don’t run our household budget by expenditures that are based on a hoped-for gift from Uncle Sam, who, by the way, we know is also bankrupt and hugely in debt. We shouldn’t run our state this way, yet that is exactly the FY 2011 budget our State Representatives passed last year.
We know that when our household incomes are down, the first things we give up are the “extras” — eating out, movies, trips. We don’t first turn off our electricity, or the heat. Yet, we are told by our current representatives that if we cut back state spending the first thing to go will be police, firemen, ambulance, schools. That is nonsense, and it is time to call it that.
We don’t have a revenue problem in Rhode Island. We have a spending problem, exacerbated and heightened by this mentality of “entitlements” and “benefits.” My passion is to return “fiscal accountability” and “personal responsibility” to their proper and necessary function in society.
The America of our history, and our glory, always has been a “can do” country. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave, but we are at the brink of destroying the very values that still make us the country to which everyone wants to immigrate. Americans traditionally have been a hard-working people, intent on making a better life for those that follow. And until recently, that dream could be a reality. No more. If we don’t stop this reckless, unaccountable, unprincipled spending — at every level of government — for the first time in the history of this country our children will NOT be able to have the opportunity for a life better than ours.
Big government is a malignancy. Its many impersonal tentacles are wrapping themselves around more and more of our liberties and freedoms, most often in the guise of compassion. Big government needs to be excised from our lives.
This is probably the most important election in the history of our country. This election is about the soul of our country, and us. This election is about private property rights, about who is more entitled to the fruits of your labor, your wallet, and to make decisions of where your money should be spent — government or you. This election is about the proper role of government and the individual in society.
I believe in free enterprise. I believe the individual should be free to keep as much of his/her money as possible, and to determine where that money should be spent. I believe in the Constitution, and the limited role of government it envisions.
I believe if we return to my passion, replacing the current culture of “entitlements” and “benefits” with the principles of “fiscal accountability” and “personal responsibility,” if we allow these principles to inform our tax policy, our regulatory policy, our education standards, our healthcare debate, we will have gone a huge distance in bringing our cities, states and nation back from the brink of bankruptcy — moral and fiscal — upon which they all teeter.
This is why I am running.