August 23, 2006

Reginald Centracchio For Lieutenant Governor, Part 3: Plans for Small Business in a Red, White and Blue State

Carroll Andrew Morse

Anchor Rising completes its interview with Reginald Centracchio, candidate for Liuetenant Governor of Rhode Island...

Anchor Rising: In the first part of this interview, you mentioned small business as an area you would focus on. What are your plans there?
Reginald Centracchio: Small business is the backbone of the state. We need to be competitive with the region, certainly with Massachusetts and Connecticut. First and foremost is tax-reform. We need to be able to demonstrate that we are sincere and genuine in asking businesses to come to this state.

I have asked several small businesses to be part of a panel to help us understand the needs of small businesses in Rhode Island. Iíve also asked several businesses who have left the state to come back in and talk to us. Iíve asked business who have been here for four to five years to participate. Iím asking the Economic Development Corporation, specifically under the Every Business Counts program that they have, to participate.

We need ask two simple questions to businesses: what caused you to come to Rhode Island and what will it take to keep you here? Rhode Island is in competition with the region and the entire nation. We need to address basic reasons, and not just the symptoms, that lead to businesses to come and to stay here. We must be competitive. Thatís who we are as a country. No one is going to be able keep businesses in a place where they canít make a net profit.

Affordable healthcare is a very important part of why a business will or will not stay in Rhode Island, so we need to ask why we donít we have affordable healthcare for small business. There are numerous ways we could provide it, with different systems that would allow participation at different levels, rather than throwing everyone into a big pot with all of the big companies. We need to be sure we have ways for small business to be able to say ďthis is what I need in order to stay hereĒ and then develop something that satisfies that need. I know we canít do that for every single company out there, but we can certainly categorize them and ensure that companies with similar requirements can come together and access reasonable healthcare.

The same thing is true is with the confidence level that businesses have in our ability to deal with natural disasters and any sort of terrorist scenario. We need to involve individual businesses just like we need to involve individual people in emergency management planning. Businesses must have continuing operation plans. They must be able to sustain a natural disaster, or any other public safety disruption, and go back to work as soon as they can and still be viable. They need to have an internal plan as to how they ensure their employees know whatís going on. They need to have tested and excercised their plans.

These are very real requirements that are not paid much attention to. As the Lieutenant Governor, I can bring that to the table. Iíve seen many businesses. I probably have the closest ties to small business of anyone in this state over the last ten years. The National Guard consists of membership from those businesses. Iíve asked firsthand about their areas of concern. What does a business need to continue to support its employees as a member of the Guard? Healthcare -- the ability of a company to sustain healthcare for a member when he or she is deployed and what happens when they come home -- always comes up. The state is in the same scenario, where they need to take care of their employees when they are deployed.

What Iím saying is that when someone suggests that there is no analogy between the military and the civilian environment they are absolutely wrongÖ

AR (rudely interrupting): Do you have a certain someone in mind here?
RC: Someone who doesnít understand the system. My membership in the Guard has helped me understand what the needs of small business are. I do believe I can help create a healthier environment for small business in Rhode Island.

These are all areas I have an expertise in, 10 years dealing with these challenges. I will bring to the office leadership, experience, and certainly a lifetime of service to the state. Iíve served with seven different Governors. Iíve been in the Executive branch for 10 years. I know what Governors do. I know what Lieutenant Governors do. I understand, especially under separation of powers, that the executive branch must stand alone as a strong branch, helped by the Lieutenant Governor. The General Assembly must be in concert with that. We must work together.

I truly believe we need to migrate away from the concept that there are red states and blue states. My campaign is based on the idea that we are a red, white and blue state. We are all Americans. Weíre all in this together. We all have a similar stake.

There are different opinions about how to do things, I respect all those who know that something needs to be done, and I think I have a plan to do it. Thatís how I want to approach this. Weíre all Americans. Rhode Island is in a position to be a focal point, and if it canít happen in Rhode Island, it canít happen anywhere.

We have in our hands a jewel called Narragansett Bay. That jewel is unlike any other place anywhere in the United States. We have the capability of developing a center of excellence related to port security and underwater considerations for detecting ships miles out. We have the Naval War College. We have the Naval Underwater Warfare Center. We have all the ingredients to establish a platform for underwater technology. We can be competitive across the entire nation and, most importantly, be transparent to Narragansett Bay. It would not destroy the bay to develop the kind of technologies that are clearly in demand across this entire nation.

We also need to leverage our position within New England between Boston and New York. We have an excellent highway system. We have a rail system. We have a port. All those things are necessary ingredients to be able to draw business, because businesses all ask the same question: what is your infrastructure like. But we have to be smart as to how we offer it up. I donít believe weíll have the large tracts of land available for large world-scale business. Clearly, we need to have world business in Rhode Island. We have to have headquarters in Rhode Island, such as Fidelity, Amgen and GTECH, which are all extremely important to the economy of the state.

But we need to never, ever forget that small business is the backbone of this state. We need to continually set a favorable environment. Have you seen the movie ďField of DreamsĒ? I think if we build it, they will come. Thatís the focus I have to offer. We need to look at those niches that fit this state and develop them and then they will come. Once theyíre here, we need to make sure weíre competitive at keeping them. Iím convinced we can do this. Rhode Island is a wonderful state, but we need to ensure that confidence in its government is addressed on a continuing basis.

When I talk about accountability in this office, Iím talking about not only an end-product. What Iím saying is that Iím asking personally for people's votes. In return, I will give the voters accountability -- and I think thatís rare. I want all of our voters to understand they will get back accountability, integrity, and honesty if they elect me. They will get a sixteen hour day, if not more. They wonít have to worry about integrity or ethics. I have a track record of 48 years, 10 years as adjutant general of the state, and I would put that reputation, that performance and that track record up as evidence that I can make what I am saying now happen over the next four years.

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I will support the General Centracchio if he wins the primary but the issue of his being able making decisions in political matters should be asked of him.
Why did he decline for run for Lieutenant Governor many months ago then later committ to run for Scituate Town Council?Then later decide to run for Lieutenant Governor after all?That is POLITICAL INDECSISION!
What do you think of Governor Carcieri who initially decided to get Kerry King as his running mate then decided to remain neutral when he dropped being a King supporter when Centracchio finally decided to run.Now the Governor declines to take a public side in the Lieutenant Governor's race but injected himself in the United States Senate contest between Sen. Chafee(who he supports) and Mayor Laffey?

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at August 23, 2006 12:24 PM

Perhaps, Scott, you might talk to people involved in the King campaign early on and ask whether there was vision, a plan or any sense of organization. By May, it became clear that the General was the only hope for a viable Republican candidate.

Not indecision - just effective public and private persuasion to launch a truly viable Republican candidate for Lt. Governor.


Posted by: mary at August 29, 2006 9:01 PM