Local rep. criticizes House Speaker election process

Rep. Liana Cassar had declared her candidacy for Speaker

Posted 1/5/21

Barrington resident and local Rep. Liana Cassar called the selection process for the next House Speaker a “non-competitive, confirmatory ritual” in a statement she released late last …

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Local rep. criticizes House Speaker election process

Rep. Liana Cassar had declared her candidacy for Speaker

Posted

Barrington resident and local Rep. Liana Cassar called the selection process for the next House Speaker a “non-competitive, confirmatory ritual” in a statement she released late last week.

Rep. Cassar (House, District 66), who has constituents in Barrington and East Providence, said she declared her candidacy for House Speaker back in October, but has been disappointed in the process. In the statement she released last week, she announced she was not moving forward with her candidacy.

“The current selection process for House Speaker is not an election in which the candidates earn the votes of their colleagues through the merits of their plans to lead the Chamber to uphold the public's interest, but is a non-competitive, confirmatory ritual of a long-standing tradition that our current General Assembly has inherited,” she stated.

“Instead of being an open, democratic election, it is a tradition of affirming the ascension through the ranks for the designated Majority Leader and a small number of other members of the prior Speaker's leadership team. The process of the past few months has shown that there is room for innovation in the State House to improve the leadership selection process so that it is transparent and competitive.”

Rep. Cassar said it was important that corrections be made to ensure that legislators who were dismissed in the past due to previous Speaker votes do not experience the same “ostracism.”

“Rhode Island cannot afford to have any members of our Chamber sidelined, nor any of our Districts denied adequate representation as we respond to the public health crisis and economic disruptions of this past year,” she stated.

“While my Speaker candidacy is coming to an end, I vow to continue to fight for a House of Representatives that is transparent, inclusive and efficient so that we, together, can get the work done for the people of Rhode Island.”

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