“I am Paul Pence,
“I’ve been a Rhode Islander for over 20 years; since the year of the April Fool’s Blizzard. I came to Rhode Island to be the Quality Systems Engineer for Cherry Semiconductor, helping them develop a culture of continuous improvement. For the last 15 years I’ve published Rhode Island Roads Magazine, telling online readers around the world about this wondrous state with layer after layer of history, arts, culture, and industry.
“Thirteen years ago, I married my soulmate, Linda Eagleson, a woman from East Providence who has helped me discover even more about my home and what it means to belong to a place. For the last nine years, in addition to publishing Rhode Island Roads, I have been the Senior Quality Management Systems and Food Safety Specialist for Toray Plastics in North Kingstown.
“I am, by nature, a problem-solver. I’m an engineer, that’s what engineers do. We see a problem and we need to fix it. It doesn’t matter if the problem is important like reducing the use of toxic chemicals or something as trivial as how napkins are folded at a restaurant; we are compelled to fix problems.
“Like you, I am aggravated by long waiting lines at the DMV, the fact that construction of a single bridge may take 10 years or longer, and that bureaucracy and paperwork has gotten so complex that it’s often easier just to give up and not even try to improve our lives. I’m not the kind of person who can just sit back and complain about problems, I need to jump in and lend a hand.
“The office of Lieutenant Governor is one of those problems. Bob Healey was right, the position, as it has been used so far, is a waste of the taxpayers’ money. We budget a million dollars a year for the Lieutenant Governor and his staff, a position that the Rhode Island Constitution gives no authority and no responsibility except to fill in for the Governor.
“Until now, the role of Lieutenant Governor has been treated as a place to park some favored member of the ruling political party, giving him a no-show job and an extra four years toward his pension. Bob Healey thought the best solution to the problem was to eliminate the position. My solution is to use the role of Lieutenant Governor as an internal consultant, change agent, and problem solver, to make that million dollars a year do some good for the state.
“I’ve made a career of fixing problems by building consensus, removing obstacles, and empowering people to improve processes. I’m facilitative — I help others succeed. I know that I don’t have the answers; instead it is the people who know the processes inside and out are the ones who know how to make government work for Rhode Island. They need to be given permission, given confidence, and given the tools needed to fix our government. The position of Lieutenant Governor is perfect for a facilitative problem solver to make a difference.
“I am proud to say that I’ve never held an elected public office, never been on an official commission or task force, and never actively campaigned for myself or anyone else. This state has never had a shortage of politicians. If the problems in our government could be solved by politicians, we wouldn’t have problems. . We don’t need politicians to solve the problems caused by politics, we need someone who can bring fresh eyes, fresh methods, and are not bound by politics to do things the same old way.
“I invite you to join me in making Rhode Island government work for the people of Rhode Island.”