After allegations surfaced that he had misled a group of Warren Town Council candidates about campaign expenditures, Representative-elect Laufton Ascencao vacated his would-be house seat prior to be sworn in. On March 5th, a special election will be held for the vacated HD-68 seat, pitting Democrat June Speakman, independent Ken Marshall, Libertarian William Hunt and independent James R. McCanna III against each other.
Identical questionnaires were delivered to each of the four candidates, the answers to which will be published on 990wbob.com to help voters within the district choose the candidate that will be the best representation of the area.
William Hunt, the Libertarian candidate, believes that he is the best option to serve his community.
BILL BARTHOLOMEW: If elected, what are some the specific ways you would work to make elections and state government more open and accountable?
WILLIAM HUNT: I think the act of electing someone who is outside the political mainstream, who is free to speak out on issues without the fear of repercussions from party leaders, is a giant step towards making the government more transparent.
Electing a Libertarian will also demonstrate that good candidates can win elections in Rhode Island - even if they run as something other than a Democrat. More choice on the ballot is the only way to make elections more open and accountable. Regardless of the outcome of this election, I hope to inspire others to run for office and to challenge the status quo just as I was inspired to do by those that came before me.
BB: What are some of the key issues that you believe can forge inter-party and intra-party coalitions within the House. What are your positions on those issues?
WH: The Libertarian philosophy is based on a set of principles that align with political positions of both Democrats and Republicans.
This puts me in a unique position to collaborate with people on both sides of the isle on different issues. While the left won’t agree with my support of the second amendment, they will agree with my support of LGBTQ rights. While the right won’t agree with my fight to end the failed war on drugs, they will agree with my efforts to lower the overall tax burden and reduce unnecessary business regulations.
When polarizing issues need to be discussed, I hope to be the bridge to foster compromise instead of gridlock.
BB: Would you identify yourself as someone likely to be a part of “The Reform Caucus?” Do you believe that power should be less consolidated within The General Assembly?
WH: I support many of the planks of the Reform Caucus’ platform, and have run on many of the same issues since 2016; including the line item veto and various reforms to the house rules to decentralize power. Many of these same ideas have been around for a long time and have been championed by the Republican minority. I am in favor of any measure that makes our state government more open and transparent no matter who comes-up with the idea. However, before I would agree to join the caucus, I would need to be convinced that the true purpose is to create meaningful reform and not just to push a specific political agenda.
BB: What makes you uniquely qualified to serve HD 68 in The House?
WH: As an insurance professional who works with small businesses, I have a unique perspective on the difficulties they face trying to survive in Rhode Island’s unfriendly business climate. I advise business owners on how to budget and manage their risks every day. This enables them to do something as simple as qualify for financing, or to manage more complex risk transfer and financing strategies to ensure they can keep their doors open if a disaster were to occur.
With most of our legislature comprised of lawyers and current/retired state workers who lack basic understanding of what it takes to run a small business, I believe my pragmatic business-minded approach would add tremendous value to Smith Hill.
Bill Bartholomew is a podcast host, producer and musician based in Providence, RI. Listen to Bartholomewtown Radio Hour LIVE every Tuesday at 6pm on 990wbob.com
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