Dist. 66 challengers rip Rep. Hearn at forum

Dist. 66 challengers rip Rep. Hearn at forum

State Rep. Joy Hearn (left) held off the challenge from Republican Fred Diel (right) and Independent Eugene Saveory.

State Rep. Joy Hearn and challenger Manfred Diel sparred on a couple of issues Wednesday night.
Manfred Diel doesn’t see a difference between legislative grants and buying votes.

At a candidate forum on Wednesday night, the Republican challenger for House of Representatives Dist. 66 slammed the program during a debate with Democratic incumbent Joy Hearn and Independent candidate Eugene Saveory, who also criticized the program.

“It seems like all these grants come out just before election time,” Mr. Saveory said.

Rep. Hearn has previously used legislative grants for the East Providence High School softball team and Tap-In though she doesn’t exactly endorse the program.

“The legislative grant program is not one I backed but while it’s in existence I will use it for my constituents,” Rep. Hearn said.

Mr. Diel also criticized Rep. Hearn on the topic of 38 Studios. Mr. Diel said Rep. Hearn voted in favor of the loan guarantee for the failed video game company.

Rep. Hearn didn’t agree. She said the General Assembly approved a loan guarantee program for the state and not a particular business. She said the millions given to 38 Studios was the result of a deal orchestrated by former Republican Governor Donald Carcieri and EDC leadership.

“It was not the General Assembly that gave 38 Studios any money,” Rep. Hearn said. “I did not vote for 38 Studios.”

Other topics broached during the debate included table games for Newport and Lincoln casinos — supported by both Rep. Hearn and Mr. Diel — and reducing itemized tax deductions, which Mr. Saveory described as an “injustice” for the middle class.

All three candidates responded to a question on pensions.

Mr. Saveory said municipalities need more control over pension plans and Mr. Diel said he supports recent pension reform but believes there is more work to be done, such as looking at benefits for current retirees.

Rep. Hearn highlighted pension reform during her opening remarks, pointing to work with the House Finance Committee. Rep. Hearn also said that very few mayors came to the committee with details on how they were reining in pensions at the local level.

Rep. Hearn also called for expansion of RIPTA while Mr. Diel said that agency needs to be audited and evaluated to ensure public dollars are being spent correctly.

Mr. Diel later added he would support a repeal of the state’s affordable housing mandates while both Rep. Hearn and Mr. Saveory said they would favor re-visiting the legislation.


  1. I live in Riverside and due to redistricting, this is the first time i can nt vote for a senator or Rep from EP. But, I know Joy Hearn and I know Senator Bates. I will be voting for them in the next election. Rep Hearn is a good Rep and we would all be foolish to elect either of her opponets, one I know ver well. Senator Bates is a very good Senator and I have meet him and testified on many bills tht were before him. he is resonable and is always willing to listen to reason. Joy hearn is the same, a good Rep for Barrington AND East Providence. They both have my vote!

  2. The “Job Creation Guaranty Program” (38-Studios) Vote . . . http://www.statewidecoalition.com/the-job-creation-guaranty-program-38-studios-vote/default.aspx – Rep Joy Hearn last night Blamed all 38 Studio on Gov. Carcieri and the Republicans in both Barrington and East Providence. She stated at both League of Women Voter events she did not vote for 38 Studios. – Without this vote, there would have been no money or authority for the Governor and General Assembly lawyers to put into motion the 38 Studio deal – Is Joy Hearn saying she did not know what a $125M supplemental budget bill that she voted for was going to be spent on? – She may be a nice lady, but she does not belong in the State House wasting our Tax dollars

  3. Representative Hearn is using legislative grant money to buy votes in this election and her excuse about using it because it is there, doesn’t fool anyone.

    The main issue in our state is that we are failing. We are ranked DEAD LAST for business and number 2 for unemployment. We even scored a D- for transparency. Two weeks ago Majority Whip O’Neill resigned stating that “The Democrat leadership has no plan.” They had no plan yet they approved the money for 38 Studios? You just can’t make this stuff up.

    Representative Hearn is part of the problem as Democrats hold 90% of the seats in the General Assembly and have been in control for 75 years. If this were the private sector they would all be fired for lack of performance.

    Have you had enough? Educate yourself at RIrankedlast.com