Empower Your Vote: Unveiling the Hidden Financial Histories of Local Candidates. Learn how to conduct a simple background check on your officials to uncover potential fiscal ineptness. Take charge, attend local council meetings, and ensure your community is led by individuals with sound financial records. The change begins with an informed public.

How to Find Out Who We Are Electing

​​A question that I often ask myself is “who are we voting for and why”? When this question is asked to our friends and colleagues, more often than not the answers that we get do not justify the casting of a vote. There is no question that many people cast a vote in protest of another candidate that they are not happy with, as opposed to the quality of the opposing candidate. While I am sure that there are several reasons for this, I believe that we can all agree that one of the most outstanding reasons is the lack of quality candidates. Why are so few quality people being drawn into the political spectrum?

Being known locally as an outspoken person in my community and being routinely labeled as a “watchdog” I have been asked the same question many times – Why don’t you run for office? My personal answer is that the political system in Warwick is so broken, so corrupt, and so interlocked with union chicanery that my personality would not be a good fit. Being self employed for my entire life I have zero tolerance for the behavior that I witness in the local government in the city of Warwick. My time is better spent performing research and bringing facts to the public relative to the failed policies in my local government.

I have a deep resentment for the majority of my local office holders due to the poor fiscal decisions that they continuously make in an effort to bolster their popularity with special interest groups. It is because of the numerous examples of fiscal ineptness that I began to perform background checks on candidates and elected officials and the results have been eye opening. I firmly believe that people that are making decisions that impact an entire community should have a track record of making sound fiscal decisions for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, not only in Warwick, but in many local municipalities and even into the general assembly. It should be of great concern to voters if the candidate of their choice has court records showing cases lodged against them for non-payment of credit debt.

The research that I have performed has shown that numerous public officials have disastrous personal finance records with default judgments. These people are often the policy makers and the bean counters of the debt bestowed upon the taxpayers. While I won’t get into the specific individuals in this writing, the magnitude of elected officials that I have identified has caused the Ethics Commission disclosure laws to be changed in the last general assembly session to now include default credit debt. Many elected officials will now have to publicly disclose their unpaid debts and this information will be available to anyone at anytime. I can assure you that you have this issue in your city or town.

The problem is that without knowing how to perform a simple background check on your candidate this issue often goes undetected. We currently have people in high level elected positions that are repeat offenders and this needs to stop.
I would encourage everyone to perform financial background checks on their local officials. It is a simple process and the steps are as follows:

  1. Go to Rijudiciary.com and click access to case information
  2. On the right side click Public eService Access
  3. On the left side click Smart Search
  4. Enter your candidate or public official’s name

This procedure will open up to pages of case information whether criminal or civil in nature. Often to accurately identify the person you will need the candidate or officials date of birth which can be found from numerous sources on line and at your local board of canvassers.

Once you have identified case information on the individual you will see the disposition of the case at the bottom of the page. Additional information and the specifics of the case(s) can be ascertained by taking a trip to the courthouse and using the computers on site or by asking the clerk.
What is most interesting is that by accessing the computers at the courthouse, all of the documents pertaining to these cases are available. You will see the complaint from the collection agencies, the narrative and history of the debt, any communication from the defendant to the collection agency, liens, wage attachments, summons, etc.

In the case of a particular Warwick official we can view narratives from collection agencies indicating that the person opened credit cards, took numerous cash advances, failed to pay and then entered into minimum payment plans, opened other credit cards and did the same thing several times then defaulted on all of the collection attempts.
Unfortunately, this type of behavior of candidates and elected officials is not isolated. People that comport their personal finances in this manner should not hold office and should not play any role in the accumulation of municipal debt. Unfortunately, the only action that stops individuals of this type from becoming elected is an informed public, and that takes some work on the part of the voter.

If we want Rhode Island to change, the change begins at the local level. The first step is to attend and interact with your city or town council. Know what is taking place particularly with expenditures. Pay attention to the meeting agenda and bid packages presented to the finance committee. Obtain the budget and read and understand it and attend the budget hearings. Secondly, identify defective elected officials and candidates and take steps to prevent them from taking office. Stop talking about needing change and doing nothing about it. These politicians thrive on lack of knowledge from the public. Pay attention and speak up. Do your homework and ask tough questions. Don’t rely on others as this is all of our responsibility.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in The Ocean State Current, including text, graphics, images, and information are solely those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the views and opinions of The Current, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, or its members or staff. The Current cannot be held responsible for information posted or provided by third-party sources. Readers are encouraged to fact check any information on this web site with other sources.

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