Sen. Harold Metts drops out of ALEC
Sen. Harold Metts, D-Providence, has dropped his membership in the controversial conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. In a brief letter to Rhode Island AFL-CIO president George Nee, Metts says that “effective immediately’’ he has requested that “my name be removed as a member of ALEC.’’
Metts says he has “no idea’’ how he even became a member. “Many of their positions differ greatly from mine.’’
Metts represents a heavily minority Providence district that is anchored by the South Side and parts of the East Side’s historically African-American Mount Hope neighborhood.
He is generally a strong State House supporter of labor initiatives and measures to promote public education. Metts is a one-time public school teacher in inner city schools and is best known for his many years as one of the state’s top schoolboy basketball coaches at Providence’s Central High School. He has mentored many student athletes from modest and impoverished circumstances.
ALEC, which is largely financed by large corporations and corporate interests, crafts “model’’ legislation for state lawmakers across the country. ALEC has been criticized by Democrats and consumer, labor and environmental groups for being overly influenced by right-wing contributors, including the Koch Brothers and special interest groups dominated by oil, pharmaceutical, financial and cigarette companies. ALEC has also supported anti-union right to work legislation and measures that require voters to show photo identification at the polls.