By Lincoln D. Chafee
I love Rhode Island, and know that our state has a bright future.
What we need to realize our full potential, however, is the right leadership, a pro-active leader with the experience to govern and the courage to speak the plain truth. Rhode Islanders deserve a leader who is independent, free from politics as usual and the partisan maneuvering that brought about our dire economic situation. The way we will recover is to come together and build consensus among Democrats, Republicans, Moderates and independents — to move Rhode Island on a new way forward.
Our state confronts substantial challenges. Some 65,000 of our citizens are unemployed. Tens of thousands more women and men are anxious — about our future and whether our children will be able to find good jobs here. The state’s budget deficit is projected to exceed $300 million next year. Federal stimulus money is exhausted. The tobacco-settlement money was squandered. Because of poor leadership we have fallen behind.
We also have an ethical crisis in Rhode Island. Each day we hear about corruption, cronyism and pay-to-play schemes that let insiders secure state business and provide no-bid jobs to friends and family. This is wrong and must stop. There is a direct connection between Rhode Island’s unacceptable economic condition and the disappointing reality that some of our public officials betray the public trust.
If we are going to move our state forward — create new jobs, fix the budget mess, improve our schools, repair our roads and protect our environment — Rhode Island must take advantage of its assets. My plan is centered on job-creating investments targeted at the following areas:
• Investing in public education: Better education of Rhode Islanders results in better-qualified workers, improving our opportunities to attract new employers to the state.
• Investing in the Knowledge District in Providence: I plan to be directly involved in working to bring thousands of new jobs to Providence as a result of Route 195 being relocated — health-care jobs, life-sciences jobs and high-tech manufacturing jobs.
• Investing in green, environmentally friendly technologies: I have a national reputation as a strong environmentalist and will use it to put the power of the governor’s office behind making Quonset a center for wind-power development, creating new jobs while increasing energy independence.
• Investing in the Station District in Warwick: T.F. Green Airport is being connected to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor rail line. Already a $300 million private development project with a retail, hotel and office complex has been approved next to the station, with the promise of creating hundreds of new jobs for our state. I conceived of this project as mayor, helped fund it as senator and will work every day as governor to make it a success.
• Investing in defense and high-tech manufacturing, tourism, marine industries and entrepreneurial enterprises: As governor I will make the expansion of, and support for, these vital home-grown industries a priority.
Throughout my career I have consistently demonstrated the core elements of effective leadership. Courage: I opposed the Iraq War, which has killed more than 5,000 brave U.S. servicemen and -women and wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. Foresight: I rejected the false promises of President Bush’s reckless tax cuts for the wealthy that have hurt our economy. Building consensus: I alone called for mediation to end the Central Falls teachers dispute. Independence: I called for an open and fair opportunity for our small businesses, instead of the risky gamble with 60 percent of the state’s small-business investment portfolio on a single company with no track record of success — the Curt Schilling deal.
I have always stood up for what I believe. I have a proven record of principled, independent leadership. Every day I do my best to demonstrate thoughtful, balanced and moderate leadership — to do what I believe is best for the people of Rhode Island.
Yes, our great state has tremendous potential. It is untapped, just below the surface, waiting for the right leadership to move our state forward. Rhode Island’s greatest asset has always been its people.
I know that our best days are ahead — with the right leadership team implementing common-sense solutions to the challenges ahead. Together we can make Rhode Island a great place to live, to raise a family, to build a better future for our children.
My dad taught me a valuable lesson: Tell the truth and trust the people. That is what I’ve done in this campaign, and what I will do every day as your governor.
Lincoln D. Chafee is a former U.S. senator and former mayor of Warwick running as an independent for the Rhode Island governorship.
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By Providence Phoenix Staff
A man of expansive yet commonsensical vision, with a rare political courage
Many Rhode Islanders are still undecided about the governor's race. Until this week, the Phoenix, too, was torn. Democratic Treasurer Frank Caprio, an undeniably able official, offers a focused, business-based plan to revive the ailing state. And former US Senator Lincoln Chafee, an admirable one-time Republican renegade now running as an independent, presents a chance to sideline the politics of small minds and petty grievances.
When Caprio blasted President Barack Obama, telling him to take his endorsement and "shove it," he brought political realities into clear focus. If it were not for Obama, there would have been no economic stimulus. And as bad as the unemployment situation still is, it would have been even worse had the Obama Administration not pulled the economy back from the brink.
As challenged as Rhode Island's educational infrastructure is, there would be even less hope of turning it around if it were not for the $75 million in Obama-sponsored Race to the Top funds flowing into the state. That Caprio has been a more vocal supporter of Race to the Top than Chafee makes his sharp rebuke of the president even more bizarre. Our next governor needs his head screwed on straight.
In two bruising and beleaguered years Obama has done more for Rhode Island than Republican President George Bush did in eight disastrous years. Yet Caprio saw fit to pander to those very voters who are nostalgic for a return to the Bush Era. Has Caprio forgotten? Those were the days when the rich got richer, the poor got poorer, and the middle class got squeezed until the economy collapsed — leaving working people everywhere shafted.
Chafee is a man of expansive yet commonsensical vision who has demonstrated a rare political courage. As a Senate Republican, he bucked the Bush Administration on the war in Iraq and tax cuts for the wealthy. And he rejected attempts to water down environmental regulation.
As a candidate for governor, Chafee told voters he will push to impose a one percent sales tax on exempt items like food, clothing, and medicine in a bid to address the state's fiscal woes, even though he knew it could cost him politically. Chafee is not hamstrung by ambiguity.
Chafee will bring integrity to the governor's office. He will appoint able people to the top posts in state government. And he will be a leader on important issues like gay marriage and environmental protection.
The Phoenix endorses Chafee for governor.
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New York Times
By Bernie Becker
President Obama may be trying to stay out of Rhode Island’s campaign for governor. But that’s not stopping some of the candidates in that tight race from bringing him up.
A day after his nonendorsement of the Democratic candidate helped create headlines, Mr. Obama showed up playing a starring role in an advertisement for Lincoln Chafee, his former Senate colleague who is running for governor as an independent.
In the spot, Mr. Obama is shown praising Mr. Chafee at a 2008 event in Providence for opposing the war in Iraq. Mr. Chafee, who was a moderate Republican in the Senate, endorsed Mr. Obama’s presidential bid in February 2008, not long before Rhode Island’s primary.
“Real change isn’t voting for George Bush’s war in Iraq,” Mr. Obama says in the ad, which also includes some compliments about Mr. Chafee from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York. “I knew what it was. Lincoln Chafee knew what it was. We were voting for war.”
But while Mr. Obama may speak warmly about Mr. Chafee in the ad, it doesn’t appear as if the president will be formally backing any of Rhode Island’s candidates for governor.
On Monday, not long before the president took a trip to the state, Frank T. Caprio, the Democratic candidate in the race, said Mr. Obama “could take his endorsement and really shove it, as far as I’m concerned.”
For his part, Bill Burton, the deputy White House press secretary, told reporters on Monday that the president decided to sit out this particular contest “out of respect for his friend Lincoln Chafee.”
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The Hummel Report
By, Jim Hummel
It is the first day of the Scituate Arts Festival and Lincoln Chafee is greeting hundreds of potential voters - one by one. Chafee, accompanied by a lone staffer at the ready with bumper stickers, often drives himself to events - like this one in Cranston earlier this month.
No entourage, just the candidate.
That solitude might be a metaphor this Republican-turned-independent's campaign. The former mayor of Warwick and U.S Senator is very much going it alone this election, with no party to shield or to boost him.
Chafee: "I'm used to not having a whole lot of party structure as a Republican in Rhode Island, but there was some. And another thing I'm learning from this experience is traditionally you can have your party chair take your hatchet attacks on your opponent and remove, or separate yourself a little bit from that fray. I don't have that either...that's been interesting when you have some negative initiatives on my opponents.''
Hummel: "Do you like getting out and campaigning, shaking people's hands? Sometimes, you seem..and I watched you at the Scituate Arts Festival. You have to do it, but it's almost like you're intruding on people's time or space. Or is that not something that concerns you?''
Chafee: "No, no. I don't know where that perception comes from because that's not accurate. I know from my council races, that's where I learned my issues, going door to door.''
When he lost his Senate seat to Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006, Chafee thought of getting out of politics altogether. He took a position teaching at his alma mater, Brown University, and saw a very crowded field of people considering a run for governor, initially including David Cicilline and Patrick Lynch as well as Frank Caprio.
He knew how much his father, the late Senator John Chafee, enjoyed his three terms as governor in the 1960s. But - truth be told - Linc Chafee was also worried about living up to the legend of John Chafee.
Chafee: "He was known almost more as Governor Chafee than as Senator Chafee for a long part of his career, and so the pro was I knew how much he enjoyed it and loved and working with the legislature through the battles they had, moving the state forward. At the same time I was thinking that's Dad's niche that he had, can I fulfill all the legendary reputation that he had? That gave me some pause actually.''
The specter of John Chafee may also have played a part in the most controversial aspect of this campaign: Linc Chafee's proposal to widen the state's sales tax to help bridge a $400 million budget gap.
In 1968 John Chafee proposed creating a controversial income tax, saying the state needed more revenue. His opponent, Frank Licht, promised no new taxes. John Chafee lost the election and two years later, Licht broke his promise by creating: a new income tax.
Chafee: "Ultimately I knew during the course of this campaign the candidates would have to be specific about what they would do about the deficit. And I wanted to be able to have an answer and defend, it. I just couldn't face the voters and not tell them what I would do. I would rather not run. And then get in office and do something different from what I said in the campaign.''
Hummel: "Does that ever go through the back of your mind that honesty sometimes, I'm not saying it isn't the best policy, but sometimes the voters may not be getting the message? Are you concerned about that repeating itself?''
Chafee: "No, because I couldn't run and not be honest with the voters. I couldn't do it. And I guess the same with my dad when he had to tell the voters he'd rather be honest with them and it didn't work out in 1968, but I'm going to work doubly hard so they know what my plan is and call out my opponents on what their plan is.''
Chafee: "The media sits back, very cynical. I found it interesting that no one's saying: `Good for Chafee, he's being honest.' They just sit back, nobody's stepping back, on the talk shows or anything and saying, `Here's a fellow being honest with what we need to do.' The other's aren't saying anything - the Republican candidate says we're going to make more tax cuts and he gets a free ride.''
Hummel: "Do you think it's the media's responsibility to step in and do that?''
Chafee: "Yes, I do, the talk shows especially. It's all just negativity.''
And that brings us to media coverage of the campaign.
Hummel: "How much do you pay attention to how the media is covering the campaign?''
Chafee: "Oh you have to pay attention - I'm not a big TV watcher. I just don't have time. So I'm a print, newspaper person. I'm not an online reader. But occasionally when I'm in the car I listen to the talk shows. But you have to pay attention.''
HJummel: "Do you ever get frustrated sometimes when you either read something in the Journal or turn on talk radio and say, `That's not right''?
Chafee: "Oh yeah, very frustrating. The thing about this campaign, people are saying there's no substance. But if you put your toe into the water of substance, all of a sudden there' a lot of criticism. I use Deborah Gist and education reform - I started to talk about the debate that's going on - a healthy and dynamic debate about testing and choice - and all of a sudden there's a front page, top of the fold story that I'm questioning. It wasn't balanced. I didn't think it was balanced at all. And if you want substance, this is important.''
Lincoln Chafee has also taken a page from the political playbook of his father, who was known as "The Man You Can Trust.''
Hummel: "I'm looking at the sign behind you and it says `Trust Chafee' - that also has a little bit of history. Is the subliminal message to the voters, you can't trust the other guys?''
Chafee: "I wouldn't say that, that wasn't the intention. It's just I've earned it, on the Iraq War, on a number of fronts, even in controversial times, to say thing that turn out to be true.''
A strategy that he is banking on again to help him in his latest quest for office.
Jim Hummel, for The Hummel Report.
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By The Anchor Editorial Board
As we all approach the ballot box, the turbulent first few years of the Obama administration are sure to be in the minds of many. Our endorsements are no different. As we roll out our picks for office over the next few weeks, you will see that The Anchor endorsed far fewer Democrats than we have in the past.
The race for governor race is both the most interesting and most contested of the races here in RI. This one seems like a real no brainer: we trust Chafee.
"Chafee," Providence College political scientist Tony Affigne told The Phoenix, "may be one of the few politicians in the country, and certainly the only one in Rhode Island, who can put up ‘Trust Me' lawn signs credibly."
Lincoln Chafee is by the far the best choice for all those interested in job development and higher education, two issues all college students care deeply about. Chafee says that if elected Rhode Island governor, he would hold a budget summit within his first 100 days and that he will audit all economic development tax deals, two things we need.
Think about it this way: if Chafee didn't have an "R" next to his name four years ago he would still be in DC. That one letter seemed to be the only problem this state had with him and he quickly fixed that. Now he is ready to fix some of the more pressing problems in our state.
Can Chafee pull it out? Who knows? But if he can, it's a major win for the state and for everyone that wants to see a strong third party. So we employ all Rhode Island College students to get out on November 2nd and vote for a governor that will really create the jobs you want when you graduate, and fund the college, to a far better level, that you enjoy now.
Next week, The Anchor will address both congressional races in R.I.
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Republican-turned-independent candidate Lincoln Chafee now holds a seven-point lead over his closest competitor in the race to be Rhode Island’s next governor.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Rhode Island finds Chafee with 35% support. Democrat Frank Caprio picks up 28% of the vote, closely followed by GOP candidate John Robitaille with 25%. Moderate Party candidate Ken Block is a distant fourth with six percent (6%). Another six percent (6%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Just over two weeks ago, Chafee led Caprio just 33% to 30%, with Robitaille at 22% and Block with four percent (4%) support. The race now moves from a Toss-Up to Leans Independent in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard.
In surveys since February, support for Chafee has ranged from 32% to 39%, while Caprio has earned 27% to 38% of the vote. In the same period, Robitaille has polled between 19% and 25%. This is only the third survey to include Block whose support has remained well under 10%.
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The statewide survey of 750 Likely Voters in Rhode Island was conducted on October 21, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Robitaille, a former top aide to current GOP Governor Donald Carcieri, has the support of 76% of Rhode Island Republicans, while just 41% of Democrats favor Caprio, the state’s current treasurer. Chafee earns 16% of the GOP vote and 43% support from Democrats.
Among voters not affiliated with either of the major parties, 38% of the vote goes to Robitaille, 29% to Chafee, 15% to Caprio and 10% to Block.
Of the four candidates, Chafee is trusted most when it comes to the handling to five key electoral issues – economy and jobs, health care, immigration, government spending and government ethics and corruption.
A former GOP senator who succeeded his father in the Senate, Chafee is viewed favorably by 48% of the state’s voters and unfavorably by 50%, with 22% Very Favorable and 34% Very Unfavorable.
For Caprio, favorables are 49% and unfavorables 48%, including 22% Very Favorable and 22% Very Unfavorable.
Forty-nine percent (49%) hold a favorable opinion of Robitaille, while 40% view him unfavorably. This includes 19% Very Favorable and 15% Very Unfavorable. But 12% don’t know enough about him to venture any kind of opinion.
Block, a software engineer and businessman, is seen favorably by 35% and unfavorably by 41%, with nine percent (9%) Very Favorable and 14% Very Unfavorable. Twenty-three percent (23%) have no opinion of the Moderate Party candidate.
Fifty-six percent (56%) of Rhode Island voters approve of the job President Obama is doing. Forty-three percent (43%) disapprove. This is well above the job approval ratings the president earns nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.
As for Carcieri who is term-limited and cannot seek reelection, 44% approve of the job he is doing as governor, but 55% disapprove.
Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.
Rasmussen Reports also has released recent polls on the 2010 governor's races in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
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Linc Chafee is a tested leader of unquestioned integrity and a strong independent voice. As Governor, he will work hard to create new jobs, rebuild our economy, solve our chronic budget problems, end corruption, and forge a new way forward for Rhode Island.