December 2, 2005

Timothy Williamson and the Role of a Legislator

Carroll Andrew Morse

According to the ubiquitous Jim Baron of the Pawtucket Times, State Representative Tim Williamson (D-West Warwick/Coventry) is upset that he has been passed over for the job of House Judiciary Committee chairman (h/t RI Future)…

I am sure that Narragansett Rep. Donald Lally is grateful for his appointment as chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, but [Williamson], the vice-chairman of the committee, a heretofore staunch supporter of Murphy’s, is showing definite signs of discontent at being passed over for promotion. And he is demonstrating no inclination to suffer the slight in silence….

Williamson stresses that he has nothing against Lally, but adds that he "absolutely" would have liked to become chairman of Judiciary….

Williamson is looking for a sit-down with the Speaker to "determine what my purpose in the building (Statehouse) is."

Actually, Williamson answered his question for himself in a Greg Elais article in last week’s Kent County Times
"I do business for the people in District 25," Williamson said.
Elais’ article reported on a critic of Mr. Williamson, Harold Meyer, who maintains a rather saltily named, rough-and-tumble anti-Williamson website. This is what Mr. Williamson thinks of Mr. Meyer and his efforts...
"Mr. Meyer does not live in my district."

Williamson challenged Meyer to meet with him and "say what he had written to my face," describing the site as kind of comical.

"I don’t care about Mr. Meyer's opinion unless he lives in West Warwick or Coventry".

A defensible position? Perhaps for a backbencher, but certainly not for a legislator with leadership aspirations. A leadership role gives an individual power over all of the people of the state; a legislator who states that he is unwilling to listen to anyone outside of his district should not be considered for a leadership position.

Here’s a specific, relevant example of why. In the last session, the House Judiciary Committee killed several eminent domain reform bills without a vote, including one that would have made eminent domain seizures for commercial use development much more difficult. Representative Williamson is politically allied with supporters of commercial big-box development in West Warwick that would require large-scale eminent domain seizures.

Would a hypothetical Chairman Williamson, who considers only the interests of his constituents, and not the interests of the entire state, continue the Judiciary Committee’s tradition of killing eminent domain reform without a vote if he believes that large-scale eminent domian seizures are the best interests of West Warwick -- even if exisiting eminent domain law is not in the best interests of most citizens of Rhode Island?

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Williamson for the people?? Give me a break! My family and I are involved in the town of west warwick where Williamson's buddies have kicked my father out of his home (lived there for 28 years) after a mortgage company illegally foreclosed on my fathers home. It is at the supreme court of RI where we have been bullied by attorney's such as Williamson's buddy. I went to Williamson 4 years ago when this first started and he backed off as far as he could once he found out one of his lawyer friends in the local area (another attoney, as well as an appointed judge in West Warwick) was involved in this case up to is eyeballs!

Posted by: Todd A. Lamarqueq at December 5, 2005 5:28 PM