January 26, 2006

College Republicans Splinter for Laffey

Don Roach

What's this? An upstart group of college students is joining the efforts of a non-mainstream candidate to bring change to Rhode Island. The students are young, hip, and passionate about effecting change in Rhode Island and supporting the candidate who most closely characterizes Republican ideals. The baccalaureate degree candidates call themselves Students for Laffey, and they are going door-to-door as well as hitting the phones in support of U.S. Senate candidate Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey.

While the mayor has always styled himself as grassroots — and must love the shout-out to Students for Laffey in the Projo — why don't the students just focus their efforts through College Republicans of Rhode Island where they'd have dollars backing the zeal? Well:

Until the Republican Primary is over, and the candidate representing the Republican Party in the General Election has been decided, College Republican chapters throughout Rhode Island are left unable to endorse and therefore throw any volunteer efforts towards either candidate in an official capacity. Students for Laffey is an independent, umbrella organization that allows individual College Republican students still wishing to volunteer for the Laffey U.S. Senate campaign to do so.

According to Executive Director Ryan Bilodeau, there are no college Republicans who support Chafee. Doubting that's wholly correct, I tested the theory by Googling "students for Chafee" and found a Brown College Republican who had indeed started a similarly titled organization supporting Lincoln Chafee's bid for reelection. Unfortunately, it either does not have a Web site, or my search skills are wanting, because I was unable to locate one.

In any event, Bilodeau says 40 students, and more daily, plan to work tirelessly for Laffey's primary bid against Chafee. Who said young Republicans were nonexistent in Rhode Island? No, they are alive, organized, and exuberant over the prospect of supporting a U.S. Senate candidate who has the opportunity to bring more than just the party label to the halls of the Senate.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Thanks for noticing the story. As I know many College Republicans, having once been one myself, if there are any "Students for Chafee," I have yet to actually meet one. I suspect there has to be at least one member in hiding over at Brown, though it's probably a member of the College Democrats over there.

One big difference that you will notice, whether it's the College Republicans or just about any other group, is that the Laffey supporters are motivated by the desire to affect positive change. They are also "anti-establishment," but in a good, patriotic way.

Say what you will about the other side, one word that doesn't readily come to mind is "motivated."

Posted by: Will at January 26, 2006 11:35 AM

As a current Brown student, former member of Students for Laffee, and avid reader of this blog, I feel compelled to shed light on the current goings-on at Brown. Republicans statewide have no reliable way to tap into the "collective unconscience" of Brown Republicans. I aim to fill that void. Call me Bruno.

Laffee's response to the Cranston ice rink fire is not playing well on campus. Nor should it. It's sad that he doesn't have the dignity to admit he made a mistake by not replacing the insulation--but that's politics. However, it's positively shameful that he's using tax-payer dollars to defend his carefully manicured image for the primary. The private investigation stinks of sham.

Straightshooter? That's how I once referred to Laffee. We all did. But I don't think we will anymore now. He's acting like a snake.

I was at Brown when tragedy struck the Station. Our firemen were heroes that night. They're heroes every day. I don't think I want a leader who is willing to sacrifice their dignity in order to burnish his political image. Their lives are dangerous enough already.

Posted by: Bruno at January 26, 2006 12:43 PM


You obviously don’t know Laffey because you can’t even spell his name right: it’s LAFFEY.

(Chafee is the one with the “double ee”)

Otherwise, I’m curious: How can you be a “former member” of Students for Laffey. The group only organized within the past few weeks. Did you just go to the sign-up meeting for the free pizza then quit?

Well, regarding the ice rink, there are two sides to this story that don’t match:

1. Sparky the dog says the insulation is flammable.

2. National Gypsum (an independent company specialized in the full-scale fire testing of building materials) says the insulation wasn’t flammable.

I strongly lean on the side of National Gypsum, especially given that Sparky’s owners, the state fire marshall, are in cahoots with the Cranston Fire Department---who we all know has been a long-standing adversary of the Mayor.

Otherwise, comparing this incident to the Station Fire hits a new low for the Chafee campaign (as well as demonstrates just how desperate they are in their attempt to tarnish Laffey’s image). Personally, I think Chafee’s the one who’s coming across as Mr. Nasty...

Posted by: ian at January 26, 2006 3:27 PM

P.S. Bruno - you only need to hit "Post" once. Hitting it five times does not get your point across any stronger... it's simply aggravating.

Posted by: ian at January 26, 2006 3:31 PM


Your credibility is currently at or below zero.

If you were an avid reader of this blog you would know that one post is enough.

You are obviously not what you say you are... Hey you must be with Chafee, you are just like him.

J Mahn

Posted by: Joe Mahn at January 26, 2006 3:37 PM

Hey Bruno,
You say "Laffee's response to the Cranston ice rink fire is not playing well on campus."
My, oh my, Bruno, I'm sure this topic was all the rage on campus. Especially with all those kids from California, Texas, New York, France, etc. I'll bet they are still talking about it to this very day.

What do you think we are, idiots?

Do us all a favor - if you want to invent some crap to bash someone, use a bit of creativity.

And, unlike the number of hits you took off that crack pipe while writing your nonsense, you only need to push POST once.

Posted by: Jim at January 26, 2006 4:18 PM

Laffey was just on Arlene Violet's show talking about the fire investigation. Now the State Police are involved. This will be big, very big. It smells of politics at it's worst by the Cranston Fire Department (and their union president who once tried to attack Laffey at a meeting).

Even worse, Chafee put out that press release last week that now looks COMPLETELY inaccurate and false. It is interesting that as Laffey said, Chafee can't make up his mind on voting for the President or Judge Alito with all of the facts in hand but can make a judgment on a situation that he has no evidence or understanding of.

This is political opportunism at it's absolute worst and the Chafee campaign looks terrible. Whoever thought of that press release over-there should be fired. This is going to make Chafee look very, very bad.

Posted by: Leonard Marshall at January 26, 2006 4:59 PM

Yeah, "Bruno", we're buying your schtick! Apparently, the $35K per year your parents are spending on your education, hasn't helped improve your spelling. What a joke.

Posted by: Will at January 26, 2006 5:00 PM

Apologies for the multiple postings. I've never posted on a blog before.

In any event, I am a Brown student, and a former member of students for Laffey. I changed my mind when I saw what he was doing to the Providence firefighters.

I may not know as much about RI politics as you all, but I do have a vote, as do many of my peers. And I don't think I (or my friends) will want to vote for a candidate whose supporters act like rabid dogs around a piece of meat when confronted with opposition.

Posted by: Bruno at January 26, 2006 5:50 PM


You sound like a fool. First, you can't spell Laffey (you know the guy you supposedly signed up to help); you post 5 times(very computer literate for a Brown student); the station fire occured in Feb. 2003 so maybe a few Brown seniors heard of it, but I seriously doubt many have; and now you say your vote changed after what Laffey did to the Providence firefighters...he is in Cranston fool.

I originally thought you were a firefighter, but he would know that Laffey is in Cranston. Now I realize you maybe the wing of the "Republican" party who supports legalizing drugs.

Stop embarassing yourself,(and the parents who pay your tution) you don't know what you are talking about and have no credibility. If you are going to Brown, you must be getting a B.S. degree (I think you know what I mean by that). Can the Chafee camp please find someone better than this guy, he is worse than James?

Posted by: Fred Sanford at January 26, 2006 6:46 PM

Do you know what rule number one of "holes" is?? The Cranston Fire Department, and Paul Valletta in particular, has absolutley ZERO credibility. This crap regarding the insulation is much ado about nothing yet Linc couldn't help himself and had to get off a smart ass remark about it. For future reference, attacking Laffey by drawing comparisons between the Rink fire and the Station TRAGEDY is pathetic and an insult to the victims who perished in that blaze. Unfortunatley this is just the latest example of the Cranston Firefighters using tragedy for their own benefit.

Posted by: jd at January 26, 2006 6:49 PM

I don't mean to offend anyone here guys. I'm just saying my opinion. I can still be convinced to go to Laffey, but not if you keep attacking me so viciously (i.e., discussing personal issues such as the tuition paid for me to attend Brown, not by my parents, but by a scholarship). Again, I apologize I posted five times. I didn't understand the technology.

Posted by: Bruno at January 26, 2006 7:15 PM

And by the way, I will not apologize for calling firefighters heroes. Regardless of their political stanced, they are heroes, and to imply otherwise--as many of you posting today has--is absolutely wrong. They save lives every day. Give them the respect they deserve, be they Cranston or Providence.

Posted by: Bruno at January 26, 2006 7:17 PM

Fred Sanford,

To make your character feel at home

"I am Coming Elizabeth!!!!!!!"

You should not personaly beat up the poor under privelaged Brown Student. That is not the Conservative way. He can not help he is from the UPPER EAST SIDE. He is of course a Liberal Plant, Sorry my fault a Chafee Plant. It is nice to see them make there great intellectual posts with no facts.

Life is Tough it is Tougher if Your Stupid

Posted by: Fred on the Blog at January 26, 2006 7:24 PM

Aw, we should stop beating up on poor Bruno over there. It's just too easy. He's only saying what the Chafee folks tell him. We need to be more creative.

Just curious, how can a Brown student be a "former member" of Students for Laffey? The organization has been in existence maybe two weeks at the most, and if it has supporters at Brown, it probably numbers in the single digits at this point. It's a very loose congolmeration of students statewide. While I don't know their standards for membership, I suspect that it involves more than eating their free pizza and soda.

Posted by: Will at January 27, 2006 1:13 AM


You are well within your right to critique the mayor's role in the Cranston fire. However, I cannot see someone moving from 'ardent supporter' to 'avid dissident' based upon this incident no matter how you slice it. Your statements have left a lot of room for interpretation and disagreement. Not a bad thing, per se, but this fire isn't going to take the mayor down and I think you, as a former supporter of Laffee...err...Laffey, should be able to traverse one hiccup before throwing in the towel.

Posted by: don roach at January 27, 2006 5:14 AM

I'm sorry to pull this off topic, but I feel compelled to set something straight about the ice rink fire.

The Cranston Fire Department (CFD) said the State Fire Marshal's dog detected that the reflective material was flammable.

Arson dogs can't detect flammable material, they are trained to detect accellerants. A dog is a tool, and should never be used by itself to try to prove something.

Volatility is most accurately determined by scientific analysis (not by picking up a piece of the stuff - which may be tainted by other substances - and putting your Zippo to it.)

Laffey did the right thing in sending a sample to a lab for independent review. National Gypsum doesn't "have a dog in this race" - but the CFD sure does.

As far as Bruno goes, I can't be bothered by someone who can't spell "Laffey" and whose opinion is shaped by Projo articles.

Posted by: oz at January 27, 2006 9:49 AM

Actually I think the whole episode speaks to Laffey's weak management techniques. Do we really want in the US Senate a guy who can't even negotaite with his own municipal functions (i.e., FD)? Also, I heard he and the Chief of the FD got in a physical altercation. WHAT?! I think they stopped carrying guns in the senate about 150 years ago.

Posted by: Bruno at January 27, 2006 11:59 AM

in Laffey's defense, which you never see from me, that altercation was actually just a verbal threat nothing physical, at a town meeting.

Posted by: Robert at January 27, 2006 12:14 PM

Actually, the head of the Cranston Fire Dept's union (not the chief) verbally threatened Mayor Laffey (all of which was gleefully recorded on tape) at a city council meeting. Laffey pressed charges, but the AG's office dropped the ball on what should have been a felony.

Posted by: Will at January 27, 2006 9:52 PM