August 16, 2006

Lt. Governor Interview: Kerry King

Don Roach

Anchor Rising: What, in your opinion, is the purpose of the Lt. Governor? How well do you believe the current Lt. Governor has fulfilled this role?
Kerry King: The Lieutenant Governor's Office is what you make out of it. Constitutionally, the lieutenant governor has advisory role responsibilities related to health care, small business development, and emergency management. Nothing in the state's constitution limits the lieutenant governor to just those three roles, however.

I believe a lieutenant governor should and must get involved in all major issues and policies that touch the lives of Rhode Islanders in important ways.

Take public corruption, for example. It runs rampant in our state. People are tired of it. What do our representatives in the General Assembly do? They pass new financial disclosure laws that apply to everyone but themselves. That's unacceptable, it's time to get tough on corruption, and that's why I as a candidate for lieutenant governor have proposed Rhode Island adopt the toughest anti-corruption laws in the nation, including punishing violators with mandatory prison sentences, forfeiture of pensions, and seizure of personal assets to repay ill-gotten gains. My comprehensive 20-point plan closes the door on corruption, scandal for personal gain.

Given my experience as a business leader, as lieutenant governor, I also intend to get much more involved in creating the best possible climate for business and job growth. To accomplish that, the lieutenant governor also most get involved in quality education and giving graduates the skills sought by business these days. Our children deserve good jobs, and they shouldn't be forced to cross state lines to find them.

What I'm saying is that a truly effective lieutenant governor must be willing to take on all the important issues facing our state. (To learn more about my candidacy visit

As for Lieutenant Governor Fogarty, he's a well-intentioned fellow who has tried his best. Whether his best is good enough others can decide. As a Republican, I'm more conservative when it comes to state spending, for example, and wish Mr. Fogarty were, too. Yet, on the other hand, Mr. Fogarty along with the governor and others did a good job in fixing glaring emergency management shortcomings ignored by Centracchio when he headed the Office of Emergency Management. We now have a good hurricane preparedness plan and emergency management control center.

AR: What separates you from your primary opponent?
KK: Our qualifications to do the job. Rhode Island needs a competent leader with business and financial experience to fix the many problems facing us. Reggie just doesn't fit the bill.

He offers Rhode Island his military skills. I offer economic development and job creation skills. When you ask voters which skills are most needed by Rhode Island right now, Reggie comes up short.

By his own admission, his strongest suit is name recognition. Name recognition has nothing to do whatsoever with your ability to get the job done, however. Voters can figure that out.

I'm not being mean. Time and time again, I've said Reggie is a decent and likeable person. But the fact of the matter is Reggie is just not qualified to be lieutenant governor.

He favors a better economy and better jobs. Yet, he has no economic development skills at all; I do. He also favors good affordable health care. Here again, he has no business experience in such matters. Finally, he touts his experience in emergency management. But under his leadership, Rhode Island's Emergency Management Agency was not well run at all.

Rhode Island has immense problems. Public corruption must come to an end in our state, for example. But my opponent offers no solutions on this important issue, whereas I do in my 20-point plan to pass the nation's toughest anti-public corruption laws.

The single greatest issue facing Rhode Island, of course, is over taxation. Our income and property taxes are among the nation's highest. And the tax climate for business is very bad, hindering our ability to grow jobs that pay good wages. Here again, Rhode Islanders must ask themselves which candidate has the better background and skills to solve our tax problems. Reggie's military experience is not the sort of experience that solves tax problems.

Reggie and I are very different candidates, with very different skills and abilities.

AR: If elected, what would be the first item on your agenda?
KK: Two things actually:

  • Because people's livelihoods might be at stake, I'd conduct an immediate audit to uncover any business thinking of relocating or expanding out-of-state. Then I'd marshal every resource at the state's disposal to keep those jobs in Rhode Island.

  • Second, I'd push for immediate passage of my anti-public corruption plan (visit We need to restore integrity to state government right now. You can't conduct the people's business in the culture of corruption that exists now.

AR: What is one thing primary voters should know about Kerry King before making their selection?
KK: I'm not your average politician. In fact, I'm not a politician at all. I have no other agenda or ambition other than serving my state and fellow citizens.

I love Rhode Island. I was born, raised, and educated here. I've maintained a home here for most of my adult life. My son and two precious granddaughters are Rhode Islanders, too. Now retired, I'm at that wonderful stage in life where I can devote all my time, energy, and experience to making Rhode Island a better place for my family and all Rhode Islanders.

I'm tired of what's going on in our state politically. We need and deserve a better government, a better economy, and a better future.

AR: How well do you believe your anti-corruption plan will connect with voters?
KK: Voters will love it. Politicians won't.

Basically, I'm proposing that Rhode Island adopt the toughest anti-corruption laws in the nation. Obviously, our current laws are too weak.

Want to end corruption? Then make the penalties so severe that only a fool would violate the public's trust for personal gain.

Honest politicians have nothing to fear from these laws. Only the dishonest do. So why not pass these laws? Enough is enough; Rhode Islanders are sick of corruption. The General Assembly has had years to fix this problem. Either you're tough on corruption, or you're not. No more excuses.

It is time legislators passed my anti-corruption plan and end forever the temptation to use public office as a means to fill one's own pockets.

(Cross-posted with (Converse It!.)

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.

"Reggie and I are very different candidates, with very different skills and abilities."

And apparently Reggie possesses the ability to get his financial information filed on time and Kerry does not. Nice job, Kerry.

Posted by: Greg at August 16, 2006 8:49 AM

Wait, Kerry says he's more qualified for the position because he has business experience. Does he think he's running for Carcieri's job? About the only responsibility left to the job he is running for is emergency management. And that makes Reggie is by far more qualified for it.

Posted by: Anthony at August 16, 2006 9:01 AM

As an active Republican and a town council candidate to boot,I will be voting for Kerry King on September 12TH,.
Yes,the report should have been filed.What I don't know is when the Ethics Commission actually contacted him about filing requirements?It is not always the candidate's fault.There is perhaps more to that story.Did the Ethics Commission send out to all state wide candidates the forms and information expected or was it assumed by them they would be contacted first by the candidate?
Before you start criticizing Kerry King lets look at the facts.It is now two instances at least Gen.Centracchio changed his mind.First months ago when he declined to join the GOP ticket and run for Lt.Governor.Then he committed to run as a Republican for Scituate Town Council.I understand he actually filled out the paperwork for town council.Then at the last moment changed his mind!That's indecision!
Both Gov.Carcieri and Gen.Centracchio don't shine on this one!Gen.Centracchio for his indecision and the Governor for not taking a stand in the Lt.Governor's race while he has done so in the United States Senate race.The fact that the Governor did not take a stand for Kerry King at the GOP state "convention" was not impressive when King agreed to run for Lt.Governor while other prominent Republicans declined to run at that time!
Scott Bill Hirst
Member,Hopkinton Town Council,1996-2004;and town council candidate in 2006;.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at August 16, 2006 11:09 AM

I've been a political appointee on a local board. I have had to call the Ethics commission to get the forms. The staff is not very competent. But on the other hand, if you're running for state-wide office, you should have a good idea of what is expected and required. Ultimately it is King's responsibility to file on-time.

I'll be voting for Healy because I agree with his entire platform.

Posted by: Warbucks at August 16, 2006 11:43 AM

King has a strong record on jobs and economy. Reggie has a record on Emergency Management.

Lets look at how well Reggie did his job as head of RI Emergency Management.

According to the Dept. of Homeland Security - in an after action report they did after the Station Fire (available for review on site under station fire section read pg 13&14), Reggie Centraccio, and the Dept of Emergency Management failed on all levels. And Still years later we are un prepared for natural disasters according to all reports. Reggies name recognition is better than opponernts, but his record is horrible and Liz Roberts will crush Centraccio if he wins the primary.

I am voting for King

Posted by: Andy at August 16, 2006 3:19 PM

Charlie Fogarty also chaired the state's Small Business Advisory Council for eight years. During this period, our record of small business growth was one of the worst in the U.S. Either Charlie didn't recognize the problems (because he never worked outside of government) or he didn't want to offend his Democratic colleagues by taking them on (e.g., poorly performing, but very expensive public schools, sky high taxes that fund grossly inefficient social welfare programs, overregulation, lawsuits as RI's state sport, etc.).

As a businessman, Kerry King has the skills and experience the state's small business people need. Reggie simply does not.

In addition, Reggie has spent most of his life in RI, while King has not. When the Democratic candidate for Governor is running against "corruption in government" (while avoiding the fact that his party has controlled the General Assembly since 1934), and when RI's economy is speeding toward bankruptcy, I think we also need a candidate who is not tainted by a lifetime association with "the system" here RI.

Posted by: John at August 17, 2006 7:01 AM

Elect Reggie because he's good at emergency management? Are you nuts? He was a total failure when head of emergency managment. According to independent reports, his hurricane plan was so poor people might have died if they followed it. And EMA's response to the Station fire was utterly inept, according to another independent study. Just what skills does Reggie bring to the job? Zip. King's the guy we need.

Posted by: Just Thinking at August 28, 2006 10:25 AM

Elect Reggie because he's good at emergency management? Are you nuts? He was a total failure when head of emergency managment. According to independent reports, his hurricane plan was so poor people might have died if they followed it. And EMA's response to the Station fire was utterly inept, according to another independent study. Just what skills does Reggie bring to the job? Zip. King's the guy we need.

Posted by: Just Thinking at August 28, 2006 10:26 AM

Kerry criticizes General C because he gave Fogarty (a life long friend) a $50 donation long before he decided to run for Lt. Governor.

Check the Federal Election Commission website: King gave John Kerry thousands of dollars during his failed bid for the Presidency. Now that is real party identity confusion!

Posted by: mary at August 29, 2006 8:53 PM