Playing around with the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Freedom Index, today, I noticed that the individual pages for legislators give their seniority. Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio (D; Providence, North Providence), an employee of a branch of the Laborers union, is the most senior member of the senate. He’s been there since 1984.
I was eight when that session began. Van Halen was still fronted by David Lee Roth and was enjoying some of its biggest hits with an album bearing the year as its title, with one hit song instructing fans to “Jump.” Three decades have passed, and yet voters in Ruggerio’s district still somehow think that the same guy is the best representation they can find among their neighbors for the state Senate.
In the House, the winner is Brian Kennedy (D; Hopkinton, Westerly) who is at least less high-profile. He started in 1988. Van Halen had moved on to Sammy Hagar and released OU812. The hit-song instruction was now to “Finish What Ya Started.”
If the goal of Rhode Island politicians in the ’80s was the destruction of the state’s economy and subjugation of its people, one can only opine that these long-timers are well on their way to accomplishing just that.