From: William P. Springer, Jr. [xxxxxxx]
Sent: March 30, 2004
Subject: File No. S7-19-03

Hi! I'm writing to you in support of the proposal to allow direct shareholder-nominated candidates for Board of Directors openings to appear on the proxy ballots sent to all shareholders.

Events of the past several years have reiterated the importance of shareholders' representation on the Board to oversee corporate management and reduce the likelihood of management acting in other than the shareholders' interests. The current election process at many public stock companies represents principally the interests of management, due in large part to the control they exert over Board membership. The proposed rule is a good start towards restoring some authority to the true owners of the company, shareholders.

William P. Springer, Jr., MBA, CPA, FAHM
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Finance Division
Feinstein College of Continuing Education
University of Rhode Island