1. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR OUTSIDERS

The native Rhode Islander is a pessimistic soul; prolonged exposure to political corruption, economic stagnation, and talk radio has consequences.

But the transplant, Scott Wolf of Grow Smart Rhode Island argues, is a different breed: optimistic, a bit more cosmopolitan, aware that the outside world is not as pristine and productive as the downtrodden local might imagine.

Trouble is, the newcomer does not have enough juice in a state that tends to look askance at unfamiliar folk. Thus, Wolf's big idea: affirmative action for the outsider.

Now this wouldn't be a strict quota system, he says. No extra points for Bostonians or Los Angelenos. But he suggests the state's leadership, perhaps with a little prodding by the public, should make a conscious effort to appoint more newcomers to the various boards and commissions that shape public life in Rhode Island.

Wolf, a native himself, says it is important not to toss the locals overboard. Some of Rhode Island's premier leaders were raised on a steady diet of Del's and New York System Wieners.

But maybe, just maybe, birth at the Lying-In Hospital shouldn't be a prerequisite to power.

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