— RI Governor '06 —

November 7, 2006

Numbers from the Governor's Race...

Carroll Andrew Morse

Governor: (97.2% of precints reporting)

Don Carcieri186,66851.3%
Charles Fogarty176,99048.7%

To catch up, Fogarty needs to win…

  • 92.7% of the remaining vote, if 375,000 people voted.
  • 63.3% of the remaining vote, if 400,000 people voted.
  • 57.9% of the remaining vote, if 425,000 people voted.

Just a Thought

Justin Katz

If Fogarty were to win, it might be time to reassess the wisdom of remaining in this state, because it would signal either:

  • that Rhode Islanders have a sort of civic death wish (even if of the passive flavor characterized by ignorance and apathy),
  • or that the state is so hopelessly corrupt that the democratic process is incapable of bringing change.

Of course, always inclined to leave room for optimism, I suppose such utter defeat could galvanize the right minds in the Rhode Island GOP and prove the next few years to be the darkness before the dawn.

November 3, 2006

The Fogarty Healthcare Plan Would be Blocked by the Courts

Carroll Andrew Morse

Should Lieutenant Governor Charles Fogarty have the opportunity to implement his universal healthcare proposal, he will find himself disappointed. A key section of his Hope Healthcare Plan would be disallowed by the courts, if challenged under Federal law.

The section that would not pass Federal muster is from Phase 2 of the Fogarty plan…

Employers will be required to provide health insurance coverage for their employees or pay a “fair share” fee. Employers with 10 or more employees will be required to pay an appropriate amount of money every year for each full-time-equivalent employee who is not covered through the employer or through another insurer. With the small business subsidy in place, providing insurance should not be an undue burden. Businesses that do the right thing and provide health insurance should not be placed at a competitive disadvantage with those that choose not to help insure their employees. These assessments will be collected in a state fund to support health insurance for uninsured Rhode Islanders who cannot afford coverage.
A similarly structured plan, mandated by the government of Maryland, was struck down by a Federal District Court earlier this year (Retail Industry Leaders Association v. Felder [2006]). The District Court upheld the long-standing precedent that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) prohibits states from regulating employee benefits any more stringently than the Federal government does. Ergo, a state government cannot require a company to provide health insurance to its employees because the Federal government does not require them to do so.

I’m not saying (for the purposes of this post) that this is a good thing or a bad thing, just that the courts have been consistent in interpreting the ERISA statute in this way.

ERISA is not a new law. It is disappointing that candidate for governor, especially one who is running TV commercials for universal healthcare, is completely unaware of ERISA's effects and limitations. That Lieutenant Governor Fogarty and his advisors and policy wonks are ignorant of the ERISA constraints on health insurance shows how closed-minded they are to the reality that part of America’s healthcare crisis has its origins in out-of-control regulation.

November 2, 2006

Carcieri/Fogarty IV: Open Thread

Carroll Andrew Morse

Anchor Rising readers are invited to use the comments section of this post to give their own real time reactions to tonight's final Rhode Island Gubernatorial debate between Donald Carcieri and Charles Fogarty (WJAR-TV NBC 10, @ 7:00 pm).

Insightful comments, witty comments, and even comments that spin like Gamera preparing to take flight to battle a swarm of Gyaos monsters are all welcome, but personally insulting or crude posts will be deleted as soon as I see them.

The comments are open now!

October 18, 2006

Carcieri/Fogarty III: Open Thread

Carroll Andrew Morse

Anchor Rising readers are invited to use the comments section of this post to give their own real time reactions to tonight's Rhode Island Gubernatorial debate between Donald Carcieri and Charles Fogarty (WPRO 630AM, The Dan Yorke Show @ 4:45 pm).

Insightful comments, witty comments, and even comments that spin like a original Mercury astronaut undergoing initial training are all welcome, but personally insulting or crude posts will be deleted as soon as I see them.

The comments are open now!

October 10, 2006

Carcieri/Fogarty II: Open Thread

Carroll Andrew Morse

Apologies that I didn't get this post set up sooner. Anchor Rising readers should feel free to use this thread to give their reactions to the WHJJ 920 AM gubernatorial debate between incumbent Donald Carcieri and Charles Fogarty on today's Arlene Violet show.

October 6, 2006

Carcieri/Fogarty I: Open Thread

Carroll Andrew Morse

Anchor Rising readers are invited to use the comments section of this post to give their own real time reactions to tonight's Rhode Island Gubernatorial debate between Donald Carcieri and Charles Fogarty (WNAC-TV, FOX 64 @ 8:00 pm).

Insightful comments, witty comments, and even comments that spin like a perfect Tom Brady spiral heading towards some receiver you may or may not have heard of are all welcome, but personally insulting or crude posts will be deleted as soon as I see them.

The comments are open now!

October 5, 2006

Reading the Fine Print on Healthcare

Justin Katz

When one brushes away the rhetoric, one finds the contradictions beneath.

In one post, RIFuture notes Charlie Fogarty's new healthcare plan, which, I discovered after wading through the usual political policy mire, will be funded in part as follows:

Rather than spending state tax dollars on tax cuts for the wealthy few, high-priced consultants and lawyers, and tax breaks for out-of-state corporations, I will set state spending priorities that focus on reforming our health care system.

Yet in another post, RIFuture crows about Inc.com magazine's poor rating of Governor Carcieri's performance, which rating comes with the following explanation:

After years of haggling, Carcieri and the Democratic-led general assembly agreed in 2006 on a set of tax reforms that, while not exactly comprehensive, are a good start—including an alternative flat tax that will lower the effective top income tax bracket to 5.5 percent from 9.9 percent over five years.

Presumably RIFuture's Matt Jerzyk wouldn't agree with Inc.com that Fogarty's healthcare plan would undo a "good start" of Carcieri's. Be that as it may, according to Inc.com, businesses "in the Ocean State face some of the highest [tax] rates and most complicated requirements in the country." According to Fogarty's plan description, he would make "large corporations who do not provide health insurance pay their fair share."

As is all too common in this state, Fogarty is attempting to sell voters some charitable-sounding rhetoric that, if actuated into policy would drive businesses — and jobs and tax revenue — out, increase the burden on those who remain, and, on top of it all, force more people onto the publicly funded segment of his healthcare plan. As for where those funds will come from, we'll just have see whom politicians promise to "just make" pick up the tab.

We'd be better off if the average citizens of Rhode Island would at long last make politicians provide us our fair share of representation.

September 25, 2006

Carcieri/Fogarty Debate Schedule

Carroll Andrew Morse

According to Elizabeth Gudrais of the Projo, Rhode Island gubernatorial candidates Donald Carcieri and Charles Fogarty have agreed upon most of a schedule of four debates to be held in the month of October...

  • Friday, October 6, 8-9 pm, WNAC-TV Channel 64
  • Tuesday, October 10, 5-6 pm, WHJJ 920-AM (The Arlene Violet Show)
  • Wednesday, October 18, 5-6 pm, WPRO 630-AM (The Dan Yorke Show)
  • Date and time to be determined, WJAR-TV Channel 10

September 22, 2006

Fogarty's Support from Opponents of Eminent Domain Reform Continues to be Strong

Carroll Andrew Morse

The Fogarty campaign's parade of support from opponents of eminent domain reform continues. Last month, Governor Tom Vilsack, who vetoed an Iowa legislature bill that placed some mild restrictions on giving property seized through eminent domain to private developers, came to Rhode Island to campaign for Lieutenant Governor Fogarty. Now, the top item on the Fogarty campaign website is a message of support from Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who also vetoed eminent domain reform legislation earlier this year. Richardson also made a fundraising appearance for the Lieutenant Governor in May.

Given that Lieutenant Governor Fogarty seems determined to bring as many Governors who have vetoed an eminent domain reform bill to Rhode Island as he can, (note to the Fogarty campaign: Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona may still be available for an appearance), and that his own record on eminent domain reform has been spotty at best, it is hard to believe that eminent domain reform will be a priority in a Fogarty administration.

Or perhaps Fogarty is a true believer in the approach to the problem favored by Governor Richardson -- form a commission rather than take action. This is from the Associated Press report of Richardson's veto...

[Governor Richardson] promised to create a task force to study the eminent domain issue and propose legislation "to appropriately protect private property from condemnation that is geared solely at private commercial development.
One last question: If Lieutenant Governor Fogarty couldn't work with the legislature to get a simple eminent domain reform bill passed this year, how does he plan to get his term-limits proposal through the legislature?

Dueling Gubernatorial Anti-Corruption Platforms

Carroll Andrew Morse

On Wednesday, Governor Donald Carcieri unveiled a four point anti-corruption plan for Rhode Island. The Governor notes that “all four of these reforms can be enacted by the Ethics Commission, without the approval of the General Assembly”…

  • Revise financial disclosure to require legislators to disclose specific sources of income; eliminating the loophole created for General Assembly in the financial disclosure law approved last session. For instance, lawyers, consultants and insurance brokers would be required to report their clients.
  • Require legislators to disclose any interest or connection to programs and entities funded by the General Assembly.
  • Revise Ethics Code definition of conflicts to address non-financial conflicts. Presently, “conflicts” are limited to ones involving “direct monetary” gain. This provision would broaden the scope of a conflict of interest to capture indirect benefits.
  • Prohibit legislators from voting on any measure that affects a business or industry from which the legislator (or a member of his or her immediate family) derives more than minimal income.
His Democratic opponent, Lieutenant Governor Charles Fogarty, has a four point anti-corruption plan of his own…
  • Term limits in the General Assembly (8 consecutive years).
  • Disclosure of every meeting between a lobbyist and elected official: Rhode Islanders will have public access to see who lobbyists are meeting with, what bills they are lobbying for and to who’s campaigns they are contributing. All information will be kept together by the Secretary of State through an online form. Lobbyists will fill out the form on a weekly basis. It will include who the meeting was held with, what the meeting was regarding, and what type of contact was made.
  • Stronger revolving door laws: Public officials will not be allowed to profit from any business or entity that they have regulated, funded or controlled for at least two years. General Officers and members of the General Assembly will not be able to become lobbyists for at least three years after they leave office.
  • Increased financial disclosure: Public Officials will be required to disclosure of all sources and amounts of income as well as the value of all of assets.
Much of Lieutenant Governor Fogarty’s plan would require legislation to be enacted.

Which plan do you prefer?

Continue reading "Dueling Gubernatorial Anti-Corruption Platforms"

September 19, 2006

What the Heck...Even More Poll Numbers!

Marc Comtois

(Heads Up--or Nota Bene for the cultured sort--Andrew and I were obviously working the same story and posted them within 1 minute of each other. This proves we Anchor Rising Contributors don't collude!!!! I kept my post up because of the wonderfully witty and pithy observations....but I did truncate most of it to the "extended" section.)

As noted in the comments to my earlier "poll post" {and Andrew's new post--MAC} a new Brown poll (Darrell West) is out, with some encouraging numbers for both Governor Carcieri and Senator Chafee.

Continue reading "What the Heck...Even More Poll Numbers!"

What the Heck...Here's Some Poll Numbers

Marc Comtois

The ProJo has a story about the latest Rasmussen poll that offers a snapshot of where we stand in the races for Governor and U.S. Senate 7 weeks out from the General Election (actually 8 weeks, the poll was taken last week).


Carcieri (R) - 47%
Fogarty (D) - 45%

U.S. Senate

Whitehouse (D) - 51%
Chafee (R) - 43%

Note: The sample was 500 likely voters taken a day after the primaries and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5%.

Editorial note: How likely are "likely" voters to vote in an off-year election? With regards to the Senate race: how seriously to take numbers gathered a day after one of the most negative and contested primaries in recent memory?

September 5, 2006

Fogarty leads Carcieri? What am I missing?

Marc Comtois

According to a post on ProJo's 7to7 blog, the Lt. Governor Charles "Mr. Insider" Fogarty is leading Governor Carcieri in a recent poll.

Lt. Gov. Charles J. Fogarty is leading Governor Carcieri in the battle for the state's top elected office, according to a poll released today by the independent pollster Rasmussen Reports.

Forty-six percent of likely voters supported Fogarty, a Democrat, while 41 percent supported the Republican Carcieri, in the telephone survey of 500 likely voters conducted Aug. 23. The margin of error is 4.5 points.

Today's poll is the first to show the incumbent Carcieri behind. In a similar poll conducted last month, Fogarty and Carcieri were neck-in-neck, 42 percent to 43 percent respectively.

That means there are 13% undecided. Michael Barone has recently postulated that New England incumbents actually tend to get these voters in the end (contra the conventional wisdom). Be that as it may, why does Fogarty even have a lead? Are people really buying that Fogarty, an insider if ever there was one, will fight "corruption"? Or are there simply that many union-linked folks in this state who detest Carcieri? What if these numbers are merely reflective of the fact that Carcieri only started running political ads on TV this weekend?

August 16, 2006

Fogarty Accepts Support from an Opponent of Eminent Domain Reform

Carroll Andrew Morse

Rhode Island Gubernatorial candidate Charles Fogarty is appearing today with Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, who is a leading advocate for seizing property by eminent domain in order to further economic development. Governor Vilsack believes that government needs broad powers to take property away from private owners in order to "create new jobs and strengthen their communities".

In June, Governor Vilsack vetoed an eminent domain reform bill passed by the Iowa legislature in response to the Supreme Court�s Kelo v. New London ruling. The Governor believed that the bill's mild restriction on the use of eminent domain in cases involving "blighted areas" to cases where 75% or more of a condemned area had been deemed blighted was too strong. (Before the law was passed, there was no restriction on how much non-blighted property could be swept up when blighted areas were targeted for seizure). The Iowa legislature overrode the veto, 90-8 in the House and 41-8 in the Senate.

Given the opportunity, Governor Vilsack almost certainly would have vetoed Lieutenant Governor Fogarty's initial eminent domain reform proposal for Rhode Island, which prohibited using eminent domain to take "significantly residential" property.

However, Lieutenant Governor Fogarty's strong version of eminent domain reform never reached the full Rhode Island Senate. During the committee process, the protection for residential property was removed, leaving a "reform" that still allows the government to force residents out of their homes if the government determines that new owners will pay more in taxes. Lieutenant Governor Fogarty, at least on his official web site, didn't make any official statement regarding the differences in his bill as proposed versus as passed. Senator James Sheehan, the primary Senate sponsor of the bill, did tout passage of the watered down bill as a success.

This sequence of events, first claiming to be an advocate for eminent domain reform, but then allowing the legislature to gut his bill, and then making a major campaign appearance with a staunch opponent of eminent domain reform sums up the concerns voters have about Lieutenant Governor Fogarty. Whatever he may personally believe about an issue, he just doesn't seem to be someone able to take a meaningful stand against the special interests and the groupthink within the Democratic Party.

July 27, 2006

Michaud's Pretend Voters

Marc Comtois

I realize that this is just too easy and that Dennis Michaud has gone way beyond irrelevancy at this point, but the fact that he so obviously screwed up his voter petitions--dead people, forgeries--is interesting. You see, it can be taken as proof that:

a) There was a definite insider game to get Michaud on the ballot at all costs so that he could be a pain in the a** to the Governor, or

b) He was doing this on his own, which is why he screwed it up so badly. If he had real political insider help, he wouldn't have made these mistakes.

I wonder, which was it?

July 21, 2006

Michaud Officially Withdraws

Carroll Andrew Morse

Dennis Michaud, as quoted by Scott Mayerowitz in the Projo...

"I have made a decision not to ask the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office for a review or recount of the signatures contained in these nomination papers and will thus end my candidacy for governor of Rhode Island,"
According to Michaud's campaign manager, at least 600 signatures were deemed invalid...
Michaud’s campaign manager, Scott MacPherson, said about 1,500 signatures were collected.

While the Secretary of State’s office says 933 signatures were valid, MacPherson said 960 were deemed valid.

At the risk of disturbing what is now a sleeping dog, how exactly does someone collect 600 bad signatures in a governor's race? Could the problem be that he needed signatures from registered Republicans, but submitted bunches of independent signatures?

Anyone know the rules?


Will, who I believe has some firsthand experience with these things, says you don't have to be a Republican. Any other theories? Or even a fact or two?

The Republican Gubernatorial Primary is Over

Carroll Andrew Morse

The RI Secretary of State’s website is reporting that Dennis Michaud has fallen 67 signatures short of qualifying for the Republican primary ballot.

Don Roach (who spotted this first) has called the SoS’s office and confirmed that this is a final result, not just a running count. More info is available at Don’s new Converse it! Blog.

July 14, 2006

Poll Fodder for the Weekend

Marc Comtois

Taken from the ProJo's 7to7 blog:

A new poll by the independent pollster Rasmussen Reports finds Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, edging ahead of incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee, 46 percentage points to 41.

The margin of error in the poll of 500 likely voters was 4.5 percent, according to Rasmussen Reports.

If Republicans nominate Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey, Whitehouse would have a larger lead: 57 percent to 29 percent, according to Rasmussen.

The independent pollster has run surveys in Rhode Island for several months. The polls show a positive trend for Whitehouse.

In early June, Rasmussen reported that Whitehouse trailed Chafee by two points. An earlier poll in April showed Whitehouse trailing Chafee by three points.

None of the Rasmussen polls have tested Chafee against Laffey.

The governor's race remains neck-and-neck, with Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty, a Democrat, one point ahead of incumbent Republican Governor Carcieri, 43 percent to 42 percent. The two have been within a point of each other in the last three Rasmussen polls.

July 3, 2006

How to Respond?

Justin Katz

This comment from my post on Dennis Michaud has admittedly left me baffled:

Mr. Katz, I am new to Rhode Island and new to the politics of the state. However, I have noticed something that troubles me. You are supporting Gov. Carcieri and several people on this board have spelled out specific offenses, offenses, which you have yet to counter.

I have been living in DC and so I am quite used to the bob and weave routine that politicians and bloggers routinely perform. Please stand up and defend yourself and your candidate rather than pointing fingers at the actions of others.

Additionally, please address Gov. Carcieri's role in the breach of fiduciary responsibility by his appointee at Beacon-Mutual. This to me is a very serious issue. Is your candidate appointing cronies and then using his position to exert inappropriate influence?

How does one respond to such a request? I'm not sure what "offenses" I've yet to counter, and judging from the specific charge in final paragraph, I'd be left in a quandry over them. Either the Beacon-Mutual question is some truly audacious spin or the questioner has somehow not encountered anything other than truly audacious spin.

June 14, 2006

The Michaud Collaboration Method

Marc Comtois

Justin already referred to the position paper sent out by the Dennis Michaud campaign. The linchpin to many of Michaud's positions seems to be not so much what he'd do differently than Governor Carcieri, but that it is his belief that he will be better able to bring people together. He really puts a premium on "collaboration." The truth is, I agree with many of Michaud's goals and can appreciate his desire to bring people together. However, I think it is either naivete or a large dollop of hubris for him to believe that somehow he would manage to succeed where so many others have failed. Let me give some examples.

For instance, in stating his position on education, Michaud suggests

Collaborating with educators, organized labor, the executive branch and legislative assembly to improve education
For more specifics, follow the above link to the actual document. In short, this plan doesn't much differ from some of the things the Governor has tried. Thus, we are left to believe that, somehow, Michaud will be able to convince educators, labor leaders and legislators to support the establishment of more charter schools (again, read the document), something they have vehemently opposed in the past. How is he going to get them on board?

Michaud also addresses labor issues by saying he wants to

establish a collaborative dialogue with organized labor...
I'm sure, as history has shown, that organized labor will be very open to reducing their benefits just because Prof. Michaud asked them to.

On health care:

I will implement a collaborative approach with health care professionals, insurance professionals, organized labor, business, and General Assembly to come up with new innovative solutions...
Michaud also wants to be bipartisan when it comes to tax policy by
Creating a bipartisan commission that incorporates members of the business community, the general assembly, the executive branch, organized labor, academia/economists and civic groups to address state taxation policies...
In Prof. Michaud's world, collaboration and the formation of bipartisan commissions automatically leads to the solutions he seeks. It's really that simple. We all know that Governor Carcieri never attempted to sit down and deal openly and honestly with some of these same people, right?

Of course, the belief that through collaboration and dialogue all things can be solved is a common conceit held by most of those found in faculty lounges across the country. They are wise and informed on many and sundry theoretical problems and are also able to formulate brilliant and theoretical solutions to the world's problems.

However, the world of hardball RI politics is not theoretical and the players have some very real motivations and desires. They don't always mean or do what they say. Any given solution thought up by Prof. Michaud will be viewed by some entity (unions, Democrats) as a threat to its power or well-being. What then?

What if in the course of your dialogue you discover that one or more of the entities won't budge? Do you push them and risk a break down in your collaboration and risk being accused of being undiplomatic? Do you try to outlast them and hope they come around, which risks a perpetually inconclusive "outcome?" Do you keep talking for its own sake? Do you give them almost all they want and claim victory over their token concessions on one or two points?

Missing in this list is the course so often taken by Governor Carcieri: taking the issues directly to the people and working with those who will work with him honestly and above the board. This also means calling attention to the intransigence of those with whom he has tried and failed to deal. This is the only path to real reform: bring bold solutions to the table and call attention to those blocking reform. Of course, to Prof. Michaud, that's just being "mean."

June 13, 2006

Dennis Michaud, A Candidate of Convenience

Justin Katz

Attaching a typo-rife position paper, Megan Boben — apparently the press secretary for Republican candidate for governor Dennis Michaud — emailed me to point out Charles Bakst's "great job accurately representing Michaud's positions." I'm sure more time with that piece would reveal a wealth of interesting quirks, but this one jumps out at me:

VOTER INITIATIVE: "It's bad." The Assembly should thrash out issues instead of voters being able to force them onto the ballot. Wealthy people or corporate interests "could literally highjack the voters."

This position is mostly noteworthy when contrasted with the following "Current News" from Michaud's campaign Web site:

Dennis is extremely excited that the state legislature has decided to allow the citizens of Rhode Island to vote on the Casino issue. If the people decide that they want a casino to help secure the future of Rhode Island, as Governor, Candidate Michaud looks forward to helping the project come to fruition.

I suppose one is meant to conclude (wink, wink) that Michaud is, specifically, "extremely excited" that the wealthy people and corporate interests who back the casino will have their opportunity to "literally highjack the voters." Of course, between the lines of the following from the Bakst column, one gets the sense that it may be the GOP primary that is hijacked first:

LOBBYING: Lt. Gov. Charlie Fogarty, Democratic candidate for governor, proposes that lobbyists have to report every contact -- you know, meetings, phone calls, e-mails -- they have with legislators and other top government decision-makers. "It sounds like a good idea to me," says Michaud.

Touting the good ideas of a potential general election opponent from another party is, to say the least, a suspicious political slip — especially when presented in conjunction with an ostensible position paper that makes repeated and nakedly political accusations against a primary opponent. I was going to joke that Michaud's campaign slogan of "we can do better" would best be directed at his campaign staff, but I suppose it all depends on what, exactly, his campaign is trying to do.

June 8, 2006

Donald Carcieri for Governor of Rhode Island: An Agenda for the Future

Carroll Andrew Morse

As his formal campaign announcement yesterday, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri presented his agenda for a second term in office…

  • Continuing “to reduce taxes and limit spending by continuing to make government more efficient.”
  • Enacting “constitutional limits on taxes and spending.”
  • Giving Rhode Islanders “a stronger voice in their government through voter initiative.”
  • Reducing health care costs and insuring more Rhode Islanders “by enacting health care reform and implementing my Select Care plan”.
  • Implementing “the 5 point energy plan I put together months ago.”
  • Making “wind power and renewable energy a reality in our state.”
  • Improving student performance and giving “our children the skills they need to get good jobs by implementing my education plan giving parents real choices and repealing the moratorium on charter schools.”

Donald Carcieri for Governor of Rhode Island: “I am doing everything I know how to control spending and make Rhode Island affordable for the average Rhode Islander”

Carroll Andrew Morse

As his formal campaign announcement yesterday, Donald Carcieri discussed what he considers to be some of his biggest accomplishments as Governor of Rhode Island over the past four years...

  • ”Rhode Island is outperforming every New England state in job growth. We’ve created over 15,000 net new jobs, and we’re on track to reach my 20,000 job goal.”
  • ”We are experiencing the largest building boom in Rhode Island’s history. Today, over 7 billion dollars are being invested in the Ocean State.”
  • ”Over the last 5 years, Rhode Island experienced the 6th highest personal income growth of any state in the country. We now rank 13th highest in the nation.”
  • ”We are doing so well, Standard & Poor’s increased our credit rating and said that Rhode Island and New Hampshire have the most positive outlooks in all of New England.”
  • ”The Big Audit has been a big success. Through the hard work of our own state employees -- not consultants or high-paid outsiders -- we will save taxpayers over 250 million dollars by the end next year. We will have saved over a half-a-billion dollars by 2010.”
  • ”We got separation of powers done and it is being implemented.”
  • ”Corruption is being rooted out and reform is underway at Blue Cross, Roger Williams Hospital and Beacon Mutual.”
  • "With the phase out of the car tax, property taxes are being reduced. Because of this reform, 32,000 Rhode Island vehicles have been dropped from our tax rolls in the last year. I plan to completely eliminate the car tax in the next 5 years."
  • ”The capital gains tax is being phased out.”
  • ”I’ve budgeted a sales tax holiday to match Massachusetts’.”
  • ”There is lots of good news on the education front. Scores are rising, schools are improving, rigorous standards are being set and renewed emphasis on math and science and technology is underway right now. Our public charter schools are thriving and educating more children than ever before in our state.”
  • ”And I promised we’d take down the old Jamestown Bridge.”

June 1, 2006

The Michaud Agenda

Carroll Andrew Morse

Here’s Dennis Michaud’s 4 point Gubernatorial campaign agenda, straight from the Dennis Michaud for Governor website…

  • Economic Growth
  • Tax Relief
  • Quality Jobs
  • State Aid for Public Education
First question: If Mr. Michaud intends to provide both meaningful tax-relief and increased state aid for education, what programs does he intend to cut? Or does his entire "economic growth" program consist of his support for a no-bid casino deal for West Warwick?

May 23, 2006

Dennis Michaud Makes it Official

Marc Comtois

Dan Yorke is providing information (here is audio from Yorke's site) about today's announcement by Dennis Michaud that he will be running against Governor Carcieri in the GOP gubernatorial primary. It goes without saying that he won't be getting the support of the official RIGOP leadership, at least according to RIGOP Chair Patricia Morgan.

Michaud is sticking to his claim that former RIGOP leaders (speculation alert: John Holmes and/or Jim Bennett, according to Yorke) encouraged him, despite their public protestations. He also disputed Morgan's contention that past RIGOP Chairmen hadn't encouraged him, saying some of the names being passed around by Morgan as not being involved were indeed involved.

When questioned by Yorke as to why he wouldn't reveal their names, he said that he respected their desire to stay anonymous and then declared that he understood their reluctance to come forward because of the mean-spiritedness of Governor Carcieri. (Huh?) He also displayed no lack of confidence, claiming that the hardest part won't be defeating Carcieri, but defeating Charles Fogarty in the general election.

Michaud takes issue with the Governor's style (which he characterizes as too combatitive) and said that he thinks both sides can come together, which is in line with his self-proclaimed "moderateness." (Incidentally, he is also pro-choice). He made much of his ability to bring people together and says that a Governor can't go in and dictate things to the legislature because it doesn't work. Instead, he believes that you have to negotiate and compromise. He actually made the following comparison between himself and Carcieri: "He's a fighter and I'm a lover." YIKES!

Finally, Michaud also revealed that he was paid $80,000 by Beacon as a consultant and that he was unaware that he should have announced as such when he testified in front of the General Assembly as an expert witness earlier this year.

In response to the Michaud announcement, Patricia Morgan released a statement about Michaud's candicacy:

“Dennis Michaud went into this announcement knowing full well what the questions would be. But despite all the time he had to prepare, he tap-danced around every one of the most important issues in his campaign.

“What all of us in Rhode Island need and want to know is straightforward:

1. Why motivated you, right out of the clear blue sky, to decide to run for Governor?
2. Who are the ‘mystery men’ you say have encouraged you to run?
3. Who are your key supporters? (And why were none of them present at your announcement?)
4. How and from what sources do you expect to raise the $1 million you plan for your campaign? How much financial support do you anticipate receiving from Rhode Island unions?
5. And what, specifically, is the involvement of Blue Cross, Beacon Mutual, senior managers or board members of these firms in your decision to run, and in your campaign?”

“Straight answers to these questions would make the Michaud campaign much less suspicious than it is now. But until these questions are answered, I don’t believe there are many in Rhode Island who will take his candidacy seriously,” Morgan said.

UPDATE: In addition to providing a link to audio of the Michaud announcement (I inserted it above), Dan Yorke has also posted the complete hour with Governor Carcieri (in four parts). To sum it up: the Governor is ready to fight for re-election (and will announce on June 7). He has no doubt that Michaud is a put-up by the Beacon gang. He also talked about a bunch of other things. It's worth a listen.

May 19, 2006

Michaud to Challenge Carcieri II

Marc Comtois

As previously mentioned, Dan Yorke reported yesterday that Brown Economics Professor and Beacon Mutual advisor Dennis Michaud had filed papers to run against Governor Carcieri in the Republican Gubernatorial primary. Now the ProJo has provided further information.

Michaud...said he decided to challenge Carcieri because of the incumbent's "failed economic performance" and "failed performance to deliver on jobs."

"I just think there is no leadership up at the State House that I can see because I've worked with the Carcieri administration. I've done a lot of work in the administration," Michaud said, and "I just don't think the governor is an effective leader."

Michaud said he plans a formal announcement at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at either the State House or Prospect Park...

Michaud yesterday declined to name his backers, but he said he has "support in the Brown community and local business community" and has also "talked with past chairmen of the Republican party, so these are some serious people."

...Richard Reed, deputy director of the state Economic Development Corporation, confirmed that his agency was one of the sponsors of a one-day conference hosted by Brown's corporate-governance research program, and that Michaud was one of eight volunteers on a work group that helped guide the spinoff, from the EDC, of the Quonset Development Corporation.

Beyond that, Reed said Michaud's description of his work for the Carcieri administration was "more generous than I would characterize it."

Late yesterday, Carcieri campaign manager Tim Costa issued this statement: "There are now three candidates running for governor in the November election: the Republican candidate, the Democratic candidate and the Beacon Mutual/labor-insider candidate."

"Sadly, Mr. Michaud's purported candidacy proves that the insiders responsible for the mismanagement and possible criminal activity at Beacon Mutual will stop at nothing to protect themselves from public scrutiny," Costa said.

The ProJo also provided a good summation of the history of the back-and-forth between Michaud and the Carcieri Administration over Beacon Mutual.

May 18, 2006

Michaud to Challenge Carcieri

Marc Comtois

Dan Yorke is reporting that Brown Professor Dennis Michaud has filed papers to challenge incumbent Governor Donald Carcieri in the Republican primary this fall. Yorke had previously reported that Michaud was thinking about such a run. Here's more info on Michaud, who is a paid consultant to Beacon Mutual and continues to support its privatization. Prior to his reported decision to run:

Michaud said Carcieri has been "very aggressive" in trying to forestall any primary challenge.

There have been "a lot of people attacking me, and I haven't even made a decision," he said, making his decision more difficult. Michaud said Carcieri prematurely "floated the story" that Michaud would run in order to disrupt his planning.

"It's sad," Michaud said. "At some point, you have to weigh the benefits to the personal costs. … You become so concerned for your family's well-being that it makes you think twice."

UPDATE: According to Yorke, the ProJo's Katherine Gregg will have a story on the Michaud announcement tomorrow and the formal announcement will be Monday. Yorke also states that he knows who the Republican operatives were who went to Michaud back in March/April, but is waiting to confirm before stating such on the air. However, he did hint that one of them was since-resigned Beacon Board member John Holmes.

As Yorke explained, Governor Carcieri and his staff better get ready to take off their gloves. His crusade against the good ol' boy network as manifested in Beacon Mutual has stirred up a political hornet's nest. Be prepared for some dirty pool. Remember, Democrat Lt. Governor Charlie Fogerty has no opponent in his primary, so be prepared for a rush of Democrat disaffiliations (as indicated by a "State Worker" who called into Yorke's show) and a "groundswell" of support for Prof. Michaud that--should he win the GOP primary--will mysteriously disappear come the General Election.

May 15, 2006

Lieutenant Governor Charles Fogarty on Newsmakers: Immigration and Other Things

Carroll Andrew Morse

Presumptive Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Charles Fogarty appeared on WPRI-TV’s Newsmakers public affairs program this past Sunday. Here are some of the highlights of Steve Aveson, Ian Donnis, and Arlene Violet's questions and Lieutenant Governor Fogarty’s answers...

Arlene Violet asked about state-level polices related to immigration. Should local police be able to determine the immigration status of people they come into contact with?
Lieutenant Governor Charles Fogarty began his answer by addressing immigration in general; we need to enforce the laws we have and develop a comprehensive immigration policy that includes secure borders. With regards to the specific question, Fogarty gave an ambiguous answer that people who live here have to live by the laws here.

Violet asked if illegal immigrants should be allowed to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and about Rhode Island being only one of 4 states that provides health coverage to the children of illegal immigrants
Fogarty answered that students who have graduated from a Rhode Island high schools should be allowed to go on and the state shouldn’t deny coverage to 3,000 kids; they’ll end up in emergency rooms anyway.

Violet asked about the Education Partnership proposal for creating a single healthcare plan for Rhode Island teachers.
Fogarty answered that it is worth studying. He also mentioned transportation as something that might be consolidated.

The panel finished up with one quick question each...

Steve Aveson asked about the casino issue.
Fogarty answered that he is personally opposed, but wants to allow a vote.

Arlene Violet asked about the $100M windfall coming in from AIG. Should it be used for the pension fund or to pay for spending?
Fogarty answered the money should be invested and saved.

Ian Donnis asked Fogarty for 3 policy differences between himself and the Governor.
Fogarty answered that he is a leader in healthcare and has delivered results, that he will make small business an economic engine for Rhode Island, and he will be a leader in reforms like pension reform and campaign finance reform.

Lieutenant Governor Charles Fogarty on Newsmakers: Budget, Spending, and Corruption

Carroll Andrew Morse

Presumptive Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Charles Fogarty appeared on WPRI-TV’s Newsmakers public affairs program this past Sunday. Here are some of the highlights of Steve Aveson, Ian Donnis, and Arlene Violet's questions and Lieutenant Governor Fogarty’s answers...

Steve Aveson asked how a political insider can combat Rhode Island’s culture of corruption.
Lieutenant Governor Charles Fogarty listed a reform of agenda of implementing full financial disclosure from public officials, term limits on legislators, and lobbying reform.

Aveson asked how to control the deficit without cutting spending.
Fogarty blamed the deficit on poor fiscal management by the current administration and proposed several administrative reforms: a hiring freeze and implementing a “hiring council” to determine where new hires are needed, bulk purchasing of drugs (savings of $20M), getting a handle on outside legal costs, and cutting back on $23M spent on outside consultants and $11M spent on contract employees. He would propose budgets that don’t exceed the rate of inflation.

Ian Donnis asked about Governor Carcieri’s job-creation goal.
Fogarty jumped into a backhoe, drove to Meade Stadium at URI and started moving the goalposts (OK, I made that part up).
Fogarty answered that the a goal of 20,000 jobs over four years was too modest anyway. The Governor’s job is to change the direction of RI and strengthen the business climate in RI for all business, not just big corporations.

Donnis asked about the House leadership’s “tax cuts for the rich” program.
Fogarty answered that the tax cuts impact only 500 people, too small a number to have a significant impact. Property tax relief should be the top tax-relief priority and the state needs to end unfunded mandates on the cities and towns.

Lieutenant Governor Charles Fogarty on Newsmakers: Welfare Reform

Carroll Andrew Morse

Presumptive Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Charles Fogarty appeared on WPRI-TV’s Newsmakers public affairs program this past Sunday. Here are some of the highlights of Steve Aveson, Ian Donnis, and Arlene Violet's questions and Lieutenant Governor Fogarty's answers...

Arlene Violet asked Lieutenant Governor Charles Fogarty some direct questions about his position on reforming Rhode Island’s Welfare system. She began with some some statistics. The average amount of time a family in Massachusetts receives assistance is 10.4 months. In Connecticut, it’s 18.8 months. The average in Rhode Island is 38.5 months. Violet asked Fogarty if he would support a limit of 30 months of assistance?
Fogarty answers that he supports the best programs possible, but not artificial limits.

Violet asked if RI should end its policy of “restarting the clock”, i.e. not counting time spent on welfare in other states against eligibility in RI?
Fogarty answered that he is willing to look at it.

Violet asked if the state should be allowed to drop someone from the program after 12 months of not complying with an employment plan?
Fogarty answered he would consider stronger sanctions against people who don’t follow through with their commitments.