The allegations against former Senator Nick Kettle are ruinous.
The 27-year old resigned last week after being arrested following allegations that he took and distributed nude photographs of his girlfriend (without her knowledge or permission). Kettle is also accused of extorting sex from a teenage male page.
Senate President Dominick Ruggerio commented on the allegations, calling them unprecedented.
“The extremely serious allegations against Mr. Kettle, including sexual exploitation of a minor in the Senate page program, are unlike any I have witnessed during my time in the Senate. I am grateful that Mr. Kettle has chosen a path that avoids requiring his colleagues to consider expulsion.”
Kettle, who was first elected to the Rhode Island Senate in 2010 at age 19, has denied the charges, but investigation into both allegations is ongoing. The alleged victim from the page program, Zach Farnum, actually ran against Kettle in 2014, losing by a slim margin. Farnum is cooperating with the investigation, but seeking to move forward with his life.
In response, a former page from the Rhode Island Statehouse has reached out to WBOB to share his unique perspective of the page program and his insight into the allegations. The page, a Johnston residence and graduate from Rhode Island College, has requested to remain anonymous, but drafted an exclusive letter to WBOB detailing his thoughts on Kettle and his alleged abuse of power.
Read the letter below!
Dear Rhode Islanders,
I spent two years of my life as a page in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.
This was a great opportunity to experience the everyday politics of Rhode Island and witness our lawmakers voting and debating on issues that directly affect our daily lives; whether through taxes, laws, or other bills.
The first day on the job was overwhelming to say the least. I recall standing against the wall of a majestic chamber in the Statehouse that contained more than a century’s worth of political aspiration and accomplishment. Wow!
However, in wake of the a recent Senate controversy involving former Senator Nick Kettle, it is disheartening to have that fond and majestic memory of the Rhode Island State House tainted by the irresponsible actions of one individual. An individual elected to lead with poise, dignity, and conviction.
The men and women of our state legislature are responsible for controlling and executing order in Rhode Island’s political and economic landscape, and have earned their status through prestigious accomplishment, strategic campaigning, and dedication to their causes.
While Rhode Island has fallen victim to bad deals and scandal at several points in the past, the appalling actions of one political leader has created further public doubt in our state’s ability to govern - that is unfortunate and disheartening.
I write this letter because the majority of Rhode Island citizens do not have the opportunity to experience the behind the scenes action in the Statehouse. They do not get to see that most of the people on Smith Hill there are well-intentioned people who represent their constituency with diligence.
With the upcoming midterm elections in November, I urge voters to take a closer look at the candidate to whom they pledge support and ensure that they fulfill the character and resolution to represent their interests, and inspire confidence in their ability to lead.
[A former Rhode Island House of Representatives Page]
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