Anchor Staff Writer
Rhode Island State Representative George Nardone (R-Dist. 28, Coventry) is a life-long Rhode Islander. This November, he was re-elected to his second term as State Representative of District 28. As a State Representative, Nardone will serve as a member of the prestigious House Finance Committee. During an interview earlier this month, Nardone spoke on a wide range of topics including his reasons for entering politics and his position on term limits.
“Well, I never really wanted to get into politics per se, but it kind of just evolved.” Nardone said. “When I was a kid, I was always interested in history and politics. And when you’re interested in history, politics kind of just comes with that.”
“I never saw myself running for office at that stage of my life, but as I got into my early thirties, I opened up my own business, and I met a guy on the East Side named Ted Low. Mr. Low was the last Republican to represent the East Side of Providence. Seeing that he was interested in history, we’d have many conversations about politics and history, and he’d always encourage me to take it up and run for office.”
Nardone continued, “After my daughter had graduated from college, and I was done coaching little league teams, I had sold my building and downsized my business. I found out I had more time [to get involved in politics].”
“I was friendly with the Representative for District 41, Robert Quattrocchi. He had just ran his campaign, and I had helped him with his campaign. Then when the District 28 seat had opened, he said, ‘We’re looking for someone to run [for the seat].’ And I said to myself, ‘I think I can do this, and I’m going to do this.’ Here I am in my second term.”
On Nardone’s agenda is an issue Republicans have advocated for years -- line-item veto power for the Governor. When asked how he thinks it can benefit Rhode Island, Nardone said, “I think it’s important that you have a line-item veto because when the budget is being passed, at the final hour, there’s a lot of things crammed into the budget that cost the taxpayers money, and to me, some of them are not necessary.” Nardone stated, “When that budget goes back to the Governor, she [Governor Raimondo] doesn’t have the ability to knock off the pork spending. She has to sign the budget as it is.”
Nardone continued, “If you do have the line-item veto, she can check off those things that she feels are just frivolous and unnecessary spending. And it doesn’t mean that those line items are done, they can go back to the General Assembly, and they can re-implement those line items with a ⅔’s majority vote. It also puts me and other Representatives right on the hot seat. You can take cover as a Rep. when there’s no line-item veto. Now if that line-item goes back to the General Assembly, you’re on the hot seat on the vote for that.”
Regarding term-limited for Rhode Island General Assembly members Nardone asserted, “Yeah, I would be for term limits.” He said, “What I find as a Representative is that you can very easily hem yourself in. When I first got elected, a Senator I knew said ‘This job is yours as long as you want it. As long as you don’t do anything to go against the general will of your constituents, this job will be yours until you want to relinquish the seat.’ So, it becomes very difficult to knock the incumbent out. They have a big advantage because of the little things they can do for their constituents that build up a voter base. What that does, I believe is it boxes out anybody from even trying to run against an incumbent. That would give me an extreme advantage, so I would be for term limits to get some kind of diversity among the district.”
Nardone also said that if it were up to him, he would set it to four two-year terms. Nardone said that although term-limits for assembly members are unlikely to pass in the near future he would not run for more than four terms. He stated, “After four terms (eight years), no I probably would not, I would stand on principle on that one.”
The interview can be seen in its entirety here.