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Paul Devine Wants to Be a Delegate

May 23, 2007 – As a prospective delegate to the Fifth Constitutional Convention, my intention is to convince the delegates to overhaul the existing government system. Since 1954, the year the legislature was created, we have historically seen the legislative branch of government take on an executive branch role. This was true because the executive branch at that time was headed by a governor appointed by the President. This system was flawed because the appointed governor was little more than a rubber stamp to the legislature. For 16 years the legislature enacted laws giving that body powers that rightfully should have been executive branch functions. This disparity can be changed by writing the Constitution such that the separation of power, and thus, the checks and balances required in a republican form of government can be properly adhered to.
The issue of district voting and legislative size is an important one and I would push for the elimination of at-large senators, creating senatorial districts and reducing the size (to 9 members), the length of sessions and the compensation of senators. How the legislative branch enacts laws must be considered so that it would bring back powers to the people that historically have been lost. An example is the when taxation and appropriations bills are considered which would require public hearings in all districts before any taxation or appropriations could be enacted.
The functions of the executive branch need to be modified so that the governor has the power to carry out the mandates of law. Presently, much of that power is vested in the legislature. We need to separate power to run the government more efficiently. A Constitution can finally allow language, which creates the judicial branch and those powers required to further the separation of the three branches
I am in favor of municipal government, not as another "layer" of government but a true form where locals make decisions about their daily lives, keep the local property taxes within the municipality and institute constitutional language whereby the government shares other taxes in order help offset the cost of running the local government. This would greatly REDUCE the size of government, thus saving money.
There are many more issues that need to be addressed. I have written a draft Constitution that I want to share with the general public and I plan to hold public forums where citizens can have input on that draft prior to the convening of the convention and during. Citizens need real input and if elected, I would ensure that my constituency would have that say.
Paul Devine, Delegate from the St Thomas, St John District

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