Boaters question proposal to increase mooring fees

Local harbormasters and harbor management officials are questioning proposed legislation that would add a state mooring fee on top of the existing municipal fee.

Reps. Joseph Trillo (R-Dist. 24) of Warwick and Scott Slater (D-Dist. 10) of Providence, co-sponsored the legislation, House Bill 2015 H-5257, that would allow the state to collect between $150- $500 in mooring fees per vessel, depending on the size of the mooring. The proposed bill would add a $150 fee for moorings up to 500 pounds; $250 for moorings between 500-1,000 pounds; and $500 for moorings of more than 1,000 pounds.

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Carson Honors Bike Newport for the First Mile

STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today unanimously adopted a resolution honoring Bike Newport, the charitable organization dedicated to improving, encouraging and facilitating bicycling in and around Newport.
Sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), the resolution coincides with the organization’s first major event of the year, “The First Mile,” an activity being held to support efforts to create the first mile of a bike path on Aquidneck Island.



Carson Holds Constituent Meeting on Small Business Issues

With 10 weeks on Smith Hill under her belt, District 75 Rep. Lauren Carson (D-Newport) met with constituents on Monday, March 16, to discuss what the legislature can do to better meet the needs of small businesses. A group of about 20 from the local business community gathered to offer their insights on what is needed to successfully run a company in Rhode Island.

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TGIF: 20 Things to Know About Rhode Island Politics & Media

Newport casino opponents were quick to attribute the defeat of incumbent state RepPeter Martin Tuesday to his support for the casino at Newport Grand, even though Martin wasn't a casino supporter. Legislative observers point to more typical reason for Martin’s defeat, including an uninspired campaign in which he decided against knocking doors, raised little money and got called out in the local media for refusing to debate his rival, the energetic and well-liked Clean Water Action activist Lauren Carson.

Martin’s House District rejected the casino proposal in 2012 by a much larger tally than the razor-thin margin city-wide. But with both Martin and Carson both opposed to the casino, the margin of victory came down to election fundamentals: boots on the ground. This is best indicated by the famous 5th Ward in Newport, which voted overwhelmingly against the casino in 2012, but backed Martin on Tuesday on a margin of 55 percent. Ultimately, Carson ran a much better campaign, taking the four other precincts, and she won with 53 percent of the vote.

Speculation that anti-casino fervor toppled Martin or will impact Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed may be more heat than light. (Paiva Weed's district includes the more pro-casino parts of Newport, along with Jamestown.) Meanwhile, her GOP rival, Mike Smith, has a fundraiser Tuesday, from 7-9 pm, at the Fifth Element in Newport. His invitation cites in part what he calls "Paiva Weed's casino scheme."

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RI NPR. September 12, 2014.

Losing R.I. lawmakers blame outside forces

The two state lawmakers who lost in Tuesday’s primary say the outcome had less to do with their campaigns than those of their challengers, and the people who were backing them.

In Providence, Democrat Maria Cimini points to her opponent’s support from House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. 

And in Newport, Democrat Peter Martin points to his opponent’s support from people who oppose adding table games at the Newport Grand slot parlor.

“The forces of the casino group are what wiped us out,” Martin said when asked about his race. “That’s the way it is, and I just have to accept it and move on.”

For Martin, the loss comes after three terms as a lawmaker. For Cimini, it comes after one. “Obviously, I would have preferred to win,” she said. 

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September 10th, 2014. Providence Journal

Carson Ousts Martin

Lauren H. Carson marked her first run for political office with a victory over three-term incumbent Peter F. Martin in Tuesday’s Democratic primary contest for the Rhode Island House of Representatives District 75 seat. Unofficial results from the state Board of Elections and the Newport Canvassing Authority showed that with all precincts reporting, Carson garnered 850 votes (53.6 percent), while Martin received 736 (46.4 percent).

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September, 11 2014. Newport This Week

The Joy of Victory

Representative-elect Lauren H. Carson is surrounded by enthusiastic supporters on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 9, as the Democratic primary election results pointed towards a victory in her campaign to unseat incumbent Peter F. Martin in Rhode Island House District 75. Carson’s grassroots door-to-door approach was a mainstay of her strategy and characterized her political philosophy of connecting with voters on a personal level. Carson is unopposed in the November general election and will take her seat as a new legislator when the General Assembly convenes in January.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014. Newport This Week.


Carson unseats Martin

NEWPORT — Local voters opted for a change Tuesday when they elected environmental activist Lauren Carson of Newport to the state House of Representatives, ousting threeterm incumbent Rep. Peter F. Martin, D-Newport.

In her first run for elective office, Carson won four of the five voting precincts in House District 75. The final tally in Tuesday’s local primary had Carson winning 850-726. Carson will not face an opponent in the general election in November.

Carson, 60, was surrounded by well-wishers for a victory party at her Willow Street apartment, three doors down from Martin’s home. It capped a busy day that began for her at 7:30 a.m. Carson said she visited each of the five polling places in the district three times during the day. It was typical of her campaign, in which she said she made an effort to personally visit every Democrat or unaffiliated voter who had voted in at least one of the last four Democratic primaries. “That was my world,” Carson said of the list of primary voters. “I think I tapped into voter disenfranchisement. Voters were frustrated and felt discouraged.”

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September 10th, 2014. The Newport Daily News.

Newport Daily News Endorsement - City needs a new voice in R.I. House

If Rhode Island is going to change for the better, that change needs to start with the legislature.

Voters in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Newport’s House District 75 have the opportunity to effect such change, by voting for newcomer Lauren Carson.

Carson, 60, is a first-time candidate, but she has a breadth of experience in a variety of areas, from running small businesses, including her own bed-and-breakfast inn in Newport, to activism and advocacy on a variety of issues related to energy and the environment. She is comfortable both in Newport and at the Statehouse, and sees the importance of interconnectedness between the city and the state on many levels. 

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September 5th, 2014. Newport Daily News. 

Carson Wants Voters to Feel Connected

The campaign to unseat Martin has been a satisfying experience for the gregarious and indefatigable Carson. With a grassroots house-to-house campaign a hallmark of her efforts, she estimates that she has knocked on over 1,000 doors.

“I love it,” she stated. “I started in June and some voters have expressed some surprise in seeing me, because candidates don’t really go door- to-door anymore. But contact is key. Constituents want to be connected to their legislators.”

Reflective of her approach to the campaign, she said, “I will bring a lot of enthusiasm and energy to the office. I am proactive and will offer a strong relationship with voters.”  Read more.


August 28th, 2014. Newport This Week.

To Debate or Not to Debate

The Newport County League of Women Voters approached the candidates back in July about engaging in a debate. Carson accepted immediately. Martin hesitated before declining to participate.

"It’s too bad,” said Susan Wells, president of the Newport County League of Women Voters. “There’s been so much going on. Informed voters are the best voters.”

“I prefer to take my race directly to my constituents and not debate,” Martin said. “I don’t like debating. I just like doing my job. I’m doing very well with what I’m doing. I don’t choose to do a debate.”  Read more.

Newport This Week. August 14th, 2014.

Who's Coming & Who's Going at the General Assembly

Here's my ongoing look at legislators who have decided to leave the General Assembly -- and the candidates trying to make their way into the 113-seat legislature. (You can email me tips and news releases at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org). As it stands, the General Assembly consists of 101 Democrats, 11 Republicans, and 1 independent. (UPDATE: A lot of stuff happening Wednesday, but I'll continue updating this list as time permits today and perhaps tomorrow). Read More.

Rhode Island Public Radio. June 25, 2014.

Charter Review Winds Up

After thirteen meetings and public forums to review Newport’s Charter and to recommend potential changes to City Council, the Charter Review Commission (CRC) has submitted its final report for consideration.

Empaneled last year, the CRC has engaged in a months-long process to determine whether amendments to the Charter could result in more efficient city operations. The effort culminated with the presentation of the panel’s final report to City Council on Wednesday, May 28.

Echoing a similar sentiment, CRC member Lauren Carson wrote to the council and acknowledged the importance of public comments during the panel’s deliberations. “We heard from neighbors and residents many times. In fact, we took steps to further empower the neighborhoods, by asking for ward representation on the School Committee. And we proposed expanding the number of wards to four. We decided that more neighborhood participation is good for local government.” Read More

Newport This Week. May 29th, 2014.

Neighbors Vie for House Seat

“I want to be a more activist representative than the one we have now,” Carson said, citing jobs and the economy, and also the impact of climate change on Newport. She observed, for example, that the Point neighborhood may be vulnerable to flooding caused by a rising water table and global warming. “I’m extremely concerned about this,” she said. “I want to represent the city on these issues.”

Newport This Week. May 10th, 2014. Read More.

12 Things to Know About Rhode Island Politics & Media

Newport environmental activist Lauren Carson has announced her plans to challenge state Representative Peter Martin (D-Newport) in the September 9 primary. Carson works for Clean Water Action and has been appointed to the 2014 Newport Charter Review Commission and the Newport Energy and Environment Commission. In her announcement, she says, "My years of experience as civic leader, small business owner and community advocate in Newport have prepared me for this next step of trying to serve the citizens of Newport and Rhode Island.”

Rhode Island Public Radio. May 2nd, 2014. Read More.

Trade show touts benefits of composting

Newport may be leading the state in hosting sustainable events and local environmental leaders are pushing to extend that effort in the future. During one of the conference workshops, Lauren Carson, a member of the Newport Energy and Environment Commission, said the city has been ramping up efforts to convince more organizers to participate in recycling and composting at their events.

The Newport Daily News. May 10th, 2014. Read more.

20 Newport County Residents & Their Influential Ways

Newporter Lauren Carson is more than just an active member of the community; she belongs to several organizations including Newport Energy & Environment Commission, Clean Water Action and Alliance for a Livable Newport that strive to make our home an environmentally conscious place. “I’m a child of the 60s, when civic activism was everywhere,” says Carson, who is working diligently to bring sustainable events here. “We are ready to do this, we’re already recycling and conserving in our homes, and when we go to a public event it’s limited. And sustainability is more than just recycling, it’s about conserving water, limiting waste, banning water bottles, using alternative transportation such as bikes or busses, and composting. Last year there were eight events; this year we’re hoping for 20. I will continue to be active until I see sustainable events protocol become city policy.” 

Newport Life Magazine. May 9th, 2013.  Read more