Fox Foe Mark Binder Announces New Challenge to the Speaker

May 2, 2013

We're 18 months out from the November 2014 election, but that's not stopping Mark Binder from announcing on Thursday another legislative challenge to House Speaker Gordon Fox.

Via news release:

Binder commended Speaker Gordon Fox for bringing a gay marriage bill to a vote in the House this year and giving the Senate a chance to approve the measure, finally leaving the state poised to join the other New England states in giving gay couples the chance to enjoy the benefits of marriage.  But he said that outcome only came after a campaign where Binder focused on the Speaker’s failure to introduce gay marriage legislation in the previous legislative session, pointing to it as an example of Fox’s record of putting his political interests ahead of the interests of the district.

Rhode Island's disastrous investment in 38 Studios gave Binder a fighting chance last year when he ran an independent challenge against Fox in the Providence state rep district represented by the speaker. Fox fought back hard, and wound up winning the race with almost 58 percent of the vote.

Binder is pointing to the Superman Building as a new source of concern:

"I am deeply concerned" Binder added, “that we are seeing Gordon Fox's allies and former employees starting to turn up the heat and press the case that the state needs to step in with $40 million—or more—of taxpayer money to do what the private market won’t—dump funds into fixing the building. The lesson of 38 Studios was that late-night votes throwing taxpayer money at a problem and hoping that it produces results is a disaster waiting to happen. Has Gordon Fox learned the lesson of 38 Studios? His constituents will be watching to see."

Fox has reacted coolly to High Rock Development's interest in obtaining $39 million in state aid. The speaker defended his decision to back civil unions, rather than same-sex marriage, in 2011 by pointing to a lack of legislative support at the time and the need to create a foundation for moving toward full-fledged same-sex marriage rights.