Should conservative Rhode Islanders create a sanctuary town?

Mairead McArdle has been writing about conservative areas around the country that have been trying to break away from their progressive municipalities, and today’s essay asks, “How Could Conservative Pockets Break Away From The Liberal Local Governments That Control Them?”

McArdle directs readers to a summary of procedures collected by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, which includes the following, for Rhode Island:

Rhode Island

  • Cities in Rhode Island are established by special act and exist outside the area of any town. In addition to the usual city functions, Rhode Island cities also provide services commonly assigned in other states to county governments
  • There are eight city governments in Rhode Island. They are: Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence, Woonsocket, Newport, and Central Falls. All eight operate under a charter
  • The entire area of the state is encompassed by town government except for areas within the boundaries of cities. Rhode Island towns perform services that in other states are commonly associated with county and city governments
  • Incorporation is by special act of the State legislature; there is no minimum population requirement

In short, all it takes to create a new town is an act by the General Assembly.  Other than that, the only requirements would be political:  How many participants, in what circumstances, would be able to convince the General Assembly and governor to allow the split?

We’re still (probably) in the condition that it would simply be easier to make an existing municipality more conservative through persuasion, organization, and maybe even intentional relocation, but as those methods become increasingly impossible, other strategies become more plausible, even though extremely difficulty.

Of course, the unfortunate reality is that the easiest approach will always be simply to up and leave.


Featured image by Elizabeth Lies on Unsplash.

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