Lincoln Chafee - Independent Candidate for Rhode Island Governor

Media: January 2010 Archives

Chafee runs in R.I. as budget hawk

January 25, 2010

By RAY HENRY Associated Press Writer

Providence - Former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee embraces the image of a bean counter as he runs as an independent candidate for Rhode Island governor. To solve chronic state budget deficits, his first campaign proposal is imposing a tax on groceries, medicine and other items - a move that might not be popular in a state with 12.9 percent unemployment.

"We've got to make the columns match," Chafee said in an interview with The Associated Press. "And I'm not a smoke-and-mirrors guy."

Chafee left the Republican Party in 2007 after losing his Senate seat to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, but he had for years clashed with most of his GOP colleagues over issues, including his support of abortion rights and opposition to the Iraq war. The other declared candidates are Attorney General Patrick Lynch, a Democrat, and little-known Republican John Robitaille, a staffer for Gov. Don Carcieri. General Treasurer Frank Caprio, a Democrat, also is raising money for a run.

Still, Chafee, 56, calls himself a fiscal conservative and continually cites his financial experience while running for governor in a state where unemployment hit 10 percent a year ago and hasn't dropped back to the single digits since.

Asked how to create jobs in a state with soaring unemployment, Chafee said he would start by balancing the budget.

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January 22, 2010

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Ex-RI Sen. Chafee: independents swung Mass race

January 21, 2010

By Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, now running for Rhode Island governor as an independent, called the historic GOP victory in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race a message from independent voters who are worried about proposed overhauls to the nation's health care system.

"For me, the independents, the independents have spoken," Chafee told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday. "Used to be that solid Democrats would vote solidly Democratic, and you could count on it. And there are just more and more independents, and they're voting more and more independently."

Independent voters outnumber Democrats in deeply blue Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and they are a key voting bloc as Chafee tries to win the governor's seat in November's election without the backing of a political party.

State law prevents Republican Gov. Don Carcieri from seeking re-election when his second term ends next year. The other candidates in the race include Attorney General Patrick Lynch and General Treasurer Frank Caprio, both Democrats, and Republican John Robitaille.

Still, Chafee was uncertain whether the victory of Republican Scott Brown over Democrat Martha Coakley in Tuesday's race to claim the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's Senate seat would translate in Rhode Island.

"Certainly, everyone will be paying close attention to what happened," he said.

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Cost-savings plan gets hearing in House

January 13, 2010

By Randal Edgar

PROVIDENCE -- By some tallies, the cost-saving measures Governor Carcieri has proposed for cities and towns would almost make up for the millions he wants to cut in state aid. But House Finance Committee members, wrestling with the scope of Carcieri's plan, heard diametrically opposed testimony Tuesday on the merits of the measures -- particularly those that would abolish minimum-staffing requirements, require higher employee health insurance co-shares and change the rules on employee pensions.

The committee heard first from mayors and managers and then from union leaders, and never did the twain meet.
Mayors and managers, while sharply critical of Carcieri's proposed aid cuts, urged lawmakers to approve the cost-saving tools, saying they would at least give cities and towns a chance of offsetting some of the cuts.

"Mr. Chairman, this is not the first time the House Finance Committee has taken testimony on several of these articles," said Pawtucket Mayor James E. Doyle, who recalled appearing before the committee in 2008 and in 2009. "Here we are again."
Union leaders urged lawmakers to reject the proposals, saying they would only punish employees who have already made sacrifices and would also jeopardize employee safety and public safety if minimum-staffing requirements are abolished.

"There's no requirement in state law, in state rules, or anywhere that says there needs to be a certain number of firefighters on a fire truck," said Providence Firefighter Paul A. Doughty, president of Local 799 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. "It becomes a necessity that we put these terms in our contract."

The debate even drew a visit from gubernatorial candidate and former U.S. Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee, who urged the committee to leave benefits alone but allow flexibility on staffing to help managers and mayors "at least address" high overtime costs.

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Editorial: Chafee and taxes

January 7, 2010

Former U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee has, as expected, entered the Rhode Island gubernatorial race. He brings a rather colorful résumé, including as a farrier, membership in a famous Rhode Island family, some business experience, the mayoralty of Warwick and, of course, as a senator with a record of great independence (some would say quirkiness) regarding his then-fellow-Republicans and Washington politics in general. He has justly criticized the last decade's binge of deficit spending.

In his announcement on Monday, Mr. Chafee, who is running as an independent, also displayed what many would construe as political courage (or suicide) in proposing that the state consider imposing a two-tiered sales tax in order to tax items now exempt from the state sales tax, such as food, clothing and over-the-counter drugs. The idea is to raise enough extra revenue to pull the state out of its deep state government deficit, and, he hopes, ultimately produce enough state revenue to lower the overall sales tax and allow cutting other taxes in the state, too. (The local property tax is generally considered the most onerous.)

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Cicilline admires Chafee for broaching tax topic

By, Ian Donnis

Recently announced gubernatorial candidates Lincoln Chafee's status as an independent cuts both ways; it allows him to draw support from across the political spectrum, including the state's biggest pool of voters -- unaffiliateds. Yet running outside the bounds of conventional parties will also deny Chafee a share of institutional support, possibly including from those elected officials who like his vision and approach.

One such official, Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, told me yesterday that he plans to support the eventual Democratic nominee for governor. But that didn't stop Cicilline from offering some kind words for Chafee and his candor in raising the issue of Rhode Island's system of taxation:

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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.

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