The 25-Year-Old Keeping the Senate Together

To hear RI Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio (D, Providence) tell it, Rhode Island’s legislature is practically run by 25-year-old Stephen Iannazzi (son of the highest-paid union boss in the state… in the same union for which Mr. Ruggerio makes a hefty salary, as well):

Mr. Iannazzi showed extreme competence and was an invaluable asset to the Senate and the people of Rhode Island, whom we serve. While not seeking to give an exhaustive list of Mr. Iannazzi’s credentials in this space; it is these qualifications which have come under attack. I therefore find it important to note just how well-qualified Mr. Iannazzi is for the specialized role he has been asked to fill.

Well, if young Iannazzi’s “competence” was “extreme,” how can anybody argue against his receiving $90,000 of taxpayer dollars in salary? Of course, in the manner typical of hyperbolic letters of recommendation, Ruggerio lists a number of initiatives in which Iannazzi played a role, but doesn’t go into detail about the actual tasks that he completed.
For example, Iannazzi helped staff the Senate’s Small Business Task Force. Does that mean that he reviewed the experience of every potential candidate and made recommendations, or that he called the assistants of legislators on a list that he was given? He helped draft various bits of legislation (which, having read through many bills, I don’t take to be inherently impressive), but does that mean that he did legal research concerning the law to be changed and comparable laws in other states, or that he typed in changes to laws that others had reviewed?
Even so, by what calculation did Ruggerio arrive at a salary? The quarter-century kid wouldn’t work for a penny less? Sorry: It still looks like a corrupt transfer of public money to a union pal’s son. In keeping with his specific avoidance of details, Ruggerio asserts that “numerous senators and other government officials have voluntarily approached [him] to praise Stephen’s ability, work ethic, and knowledge of the issues facing the Senate.” Well, let those legislators and officials come out from behind the vague reference and publicly stake their reputations on the capabilities of a young high-school graduate hired at a high-end salary in the midst of a continuing recession and with the state facing massive deficits year after year.
Then let the public watch Mr. Iannazzi and be wowed.

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Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
10 years ago

These union morons have no shame whatsoever. Do they really think they are fooling us?
Someone tell Rubbers Ruggiero we ain’t buying his load of BS.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

“Do they really think they are fooling us?”
Doesn’t matter. They only have to fool their own constituents.
I’d like to know who else applied for the position? Where was it posted? For how long? Who else was interviewed? I’m assuming that the state’s HR department has all of that on record, right?
Heh, I know, dumb questions. Silly of me to ask.

michael
michael
10 years ago

“For example, Iannazzi helped staff the Senate’s Small Business Task Force.”
There’s a small business task force? Wonder why I still have to pat $120.00 to have my 4 gallon water heater inspected every year. Maybe the “Task Force” is behind it, because they certainly haven’t done much to help the small business person in this case, I’m looking at a $500.00 fine for refusing to cooperate.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

I sent Ruggerio’s opinion piece to all of my friends by e-mail so that they can get as big of a laugh out of it as I did and see for themselves what an utter joke Rhode Island is. I assured them that nothing would be done about this embarrassment. Unlike Ruggerio in his pathetic attempt to defend the indefensible, I included the sordid backstory of Ruggerio’s son’s employment in the elder Iannazzi’s union to capture the full comedy of the situation.
The best is Ruggerio’s claim that Iannazzi “draft[s] legislation” for the senate. Based on his half a degree in “labor studies,” I’d be surprised if Iannazzi is capable of drafting a birthday invitation. Although, considering this IS Rhode Island, maybe it would explain a lot if 25-year-old high school grads selected through nepotism really are drafting the bills up on Corruption Hill.
(Taking my lunch break, Phil. Is that okay with you?)

jparis
jparis
10 years ago

As one of the resident liberal bloggers, I’d just like to again remind everyone that the people that write the Federal laws in this nation (most of them are called “Legislative Assistants”) normally have not only a full Bachelors degree, but also some advanced degree in Law, Political Theory, or Public Administration.
And how much money do they make? Well, you can go Google “Legistorm” yourself, but in my experience the average is slightly LESS THAN HALF of what this 25-yr old with no degree is making.
As much as I’m willing to accept that some people are just really great at what they do without going to college, I highly doubt that without formal training, this young person could *possibly* be competent to draft effective legislation.
And yes, it does make us look like a nepotistic backwards state.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

“They only have to fool their own constituents.”
More accurately, they only have to “buy” them.
“As one of the resident liberal bloggers, I’d just like to again remind everyone that the people that write the Federal laws in this nation (most of them are called “Legislative Assistants”) normally have not only a full Bachelors degree, but also some advanced degree in Law, Political Theory, or Public Administration… in my experience the average is slightly LESS THAN HALF of what this 25-yr old with no degree is making.”
I draft federal regulations with a J.D. and I make a bit more than that. Not anywhere near $90k mind you. A PhD or equivalent experience corresponds to GS-12 in the federal pay scale, which is $75k for the Providence area. Iannazzi is just that good, it seems. Forget completing his “labor studies” degree, URI should make him a full-blown professor.
Lawmaking and rulemaking is very challenging work (when done correctly) and I have no problem stating that I would not have the skills required for it without having gone through law school or some equivalent professional writing program. In some ways it’s even more difficult than legal brief writing because briefs need only persuade the reader and thus have more leeway. Laws and regulations must account for every possibility and exception and be clearly written so as not to be open to multiple interpretations. Ah, I’m sure Iannazzi could teach me a thing or two about it, he’s obviously way above my level.

ANTHONY
ANTHONY
10 years ago

Folks,
I left RI in 1979. It has gotten worse. In 1979 you never felt like you had a shot at a good job unless you knew someone. Now there is no feeling about it. It is a fact. Start your own business? Admirable except that 25 yr. old connected punks are looking to write regulations and come up with gimmick taxes to penalize you out of existence. RI is sadly headed off the cliff with people like this kid pushing from behind.

John
John
10 years ago

I wonder how much of a raise he will get if he completes his college work and gets a degree???

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

No less qualified than Gayvid’s gay crony Paul Brooks, the $100,000 a year “Director Of Protocol” for 8 years.
Oh, he also got his sister a $70k no show JCLS job as an assistant to the associate director or some sort of nonsense.

riborn
riborn
10 years ago

I knew I shouldn’t hit the link in this piece and read what Ruggerio wrote.
These thugs must be laughing all the way to their banks with our money when they get something like this printed. It’s not bad enough that Ruggerio and his thug union cronies are in the State house, but now here comes the next generation of thug, little Stevie I., with his “special skill set”.
This “job” and everything about it smells illegal, and Paiva Weed and her dem cronies and thugs don’t do or say a thing. Where’s Kilmartin on this? Oh, his wife has one of these state gimme jobs too right?

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

“I wonder how much of a raise he will get if he completes his college work and gets a degree???”
NOOOO!!!

bella
bella
10 years ago

There comes a time when she just have to get rid of the problems – Paiva-Weed and Ruggerio.
For Paiva-Weed, unite with the SSM supporters who want her out. For Ruggerio, unite with the people who don’t want La Casa Nostra running their state any more than it already does.
You can topple these two. There’s a pretty good number of liberals who are sick of their act, too.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Bella doesn’t see any connection between progressive fiscal policies, public unionism, identity politics, the RIFuture bunch and the corruption plaguing the State House today. I give you the average RI voter and precisely why the state is doomed.

swamper
swamper
10 years ago

I’m not sure what is worse. An 88,000 dollar/year job as appointment maker, telephone answerer, coffee boy, or all around general go’fer. Or the thought of this unelected kid drafting legislation. How ’bout the fact that he makes more than 5X the salary of his boss?
I’ll concede that a formal education with a degree in law and/or the English language is a must if this kid is not the personal assistant I thought him to be. I realize that lawmaking is difficult business. Our system is plagued with poorly written laws that are vague and ambiguous. Often they are written as clear as mud. It sure would be nice if the average American could discern the meaning and intent of many of our laws without the need to enlist the services a lawyer to translate what is written.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

“It sure would be nice if the average American could discern the meaning and intent of many of our laws without the need to enlist the services a lawyer to translate what is written.”
But then… you wouldn’t need lawyers anymore…

bella
bella
10 years ago

And Dan illustrates why our state is in trouble. Conservatives don’t want to work with liberals when their interests coincide (I.e., getting rid of Ruggerio and Paiva-Weed), just so they can have somebody to point the finger at when things go wrong. Guess it’s more important to keep same-sex marriage illegal than end the Stephen Iannazzi stories in our government.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Bella – I agree with you on the arbitrary SSM topic, but prioritization is necessary. You vote with your emotions and that’s why your wallet is empty. Even if you had your way and same-sex marriage passed into law, we would still have all the the wicked progressive machinations present in Rhode Island that caused this corrupt, bankrupt mess in the first place through failed interventionist economic policies, outrageous taxation levels, and perverted market incentives. What you don’t understand is that even if you removed your “foe” Ruggerio on some SSM proxy vote, there will be another corrupt union boss waiting in line behind him ready to pick up right where Ruggerio left off. You need to think bigger picture – same-sex marriage is just a distraction while the entire progressive, statist, redistributionist infrastructure of the state comes crashing down and the pigs in the Animal Farm farmhouse continue to fatten themselves at the dinner table with those you claim to despise.
If you take one thing away from this conversation, remember this well: the statist economic policies that you and your progressive allies support CREATED Ruggerio. He feeds off of the lifeblood you willingly supply to him.

bella
bella
10 years ago

Ruggerio has had opponents, unlike one Joe Trillo this past November, but I don’t see the people who claim Ruggerio is a big part of our problem supporting them. Paiva Weed had an opponent, too, but opponents of the “progressive” agenda didn’t make her a priority. You can take down leaders if you’re willing to do the work. Look at all the entrenched Democratic incumbents who were taken down in this election.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

“You can take down leaders if you’re willing to do the work.”
You’re missing the point. The moment you cut off one hydra head there will be two more sprouting up into its place until you fix the failed progressive economic policies in RI that unleashed the hydra in the first place.
“Look at all the entrenched Democratic incumbents who were taken down in this election.”
Yes, in sane parts of the country that were willing to reform. Did anything change in RI? No. Will anything ever change in RI while progressives keep demonizing businesses, raising taxes, and passing egomaniacal interventionist laws that keep RI’s economy from growing? No.

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

“Look at all the entrenched Democratic incumbents who were taken down in this election.”
In Rhode Island??? The only Democrats that were taken down were conservative Democrats. The union supporting progressives made sure of that.

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