Take the Time to Thank the Veterans in Your Life

We are rapidly losing the Veterans of the Greatest Generation. Over 16 million Americans served during WWII, and now we are down to 566,000. Not only are we losing the heroes themselves, we are also losing the experience that they lived through – the crushing poverty of the Great Depression, the genuine fear of losing our liberty and national identity, what it means to stand up when it mattered and risk everything to protect those that you love.

Everyone who puts on the uniform of our armed services is a hero.

But war is a horrible, nasty thing. Something to be avoided. And if it can’t be avoided, it needs to be done with complete resolve and all needed resources to get the job done and over with. Sadly, that awfulness makes us want to forget it ever happened.

And that forgetfulness makes us also forget to be grateful to those who have sacrificed for us.

44 million people have served during wartime in the US military and another 10 million served between the wars, ready to fight for us if called upon. Presently there are 2 million people in the armed services and reserve groups, heroes all.

In my personal life, I’ve lost many heroes in from the past era, but I still have living examples whose dedication to service should make us all stand in awe and hang our heads in recognition that they took on the tasks that we did not. My two older brothers both served during the Vietnam era alongside my dad who is now passed. My little sister flew for the Strategic Air Command during the Cold War. I have two nephews who have seen service during this current era of unrest and conflict, one of whom is currently deployed.

I could never give them the level of appreciation that they deserve.

So today, reminded this one time each year to reach out to them and my many friends and neighbors who have also served, I say Thank You.

I urge everyone to say Thank You to the many Veterans in their lives too.

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Interview on WPRO with Dan Yorke

Starting today I am a politician.

The official announcement was released at 5pm. At 5:05pm I was being interviewed on WPRO radio by Dan Yorke.

Laugh if you will at my unpracticed stammering, but I hope you hear my message that it’s time for the Rhode Island government to be responsive to the people, not place undue regulations and hurdles in their way, and be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money.

– Here is a link to the audio –

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The Fuse is Lit!

Until this weekend my campaign staff and I had been preparing – building contact lists, creating press materials, developing a web presence, setting up paperwork with the state.

Over the weekend, we sent out announcements to our friends and supporters, asking them to forward the information to their own contact lists. Press releases went in email and snail mail to Rhode Island media with instructions to hold until 5pm Monday the 6th.

But now with the release of announcements, the veil is lifted and the world knows what we have been working on.

This is an interesting time.

Now is the one time that the press is most likely to cover the campaign. Now is the time when the other potential candidates will be deciding whether or not to compete. And now is the time when people are first hearing about my campaign, hopefully with a few extra positive words from you.

Please take the time to pass along word to your friends and encourage them to visit the website.


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Political Outsiders

You can make a long (and reasonably humorous) list of things that surveys say that people prefer more than Congress. People prefer traffic jams, root canals, and colonoscopies to Congress. I haven’t seen a survey of how people feel about Rhode Island government, but anecdotal evidence suggests that in general terms people have a low opinion of government and politicians in general.

Politicians know this. They are quick to claim the mantle of outsider, no matter what their political history. And those that can’t get away with that title they at least claim to be independent and able to “reach across the aisle.”

Even though this is frequently an attempt by a candidate to avoid being blamed for being part of the problem, there’s a good reason to be the outsider.

You can’t see your problems from the inside.

Certainly you know people whose choices and behaviors have caused them more problems than necessary in their lives. If they could see the harm that they are causing themselves and the way that they are contributing to their problems, they’d fix it. It’s impossible for them to see how the choices that they make continues the pattern and makes things worse instead of better.

You can see it. They can’t. And if somehow they do see it, they will deny it. They will swear that the problem doesn’t exist, its cause is elsewhere, that their choices are what keep it from getting worse.

The same concept applies to problems in any organization, the Rhode Island government included.

Choose a problem related to the RI government — the condition of our bridges, for instance. Talk to an insider and you’ll hear — “We don’t have a problem. It’s not as bad as you say it is. Okay it’s a problem but it’s not my fault. And and imagine how much worse it would be if I hadn’t been in government for the last 40 years.”

It takes an outsider can see the problem, how bad it is, and how the insider has contributed to it.

If we are ever going to make Rhode Island’s government more efficient and more responsive to the voters, we need as many true outsiders as we can find.

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Why run as a Republican?

People who know of my support for the arts and social programs are sometimes surprised to find that I’m running as a Republican.

Most Rhode Islanders would be Republican if they actually understood what Republicans stood for.  They value self-reliance, good education, hard work, and fair play.  They respect those who serve us – not only our police, firefighters, and military, but also school teachers, road construction crews, and anyone whose work makes Rhode Island a great place to live. They demand fairness in our courts and in our dealings with one another. They want to protect and help those of us who are in need, and elevate everyone to reach their full potential and be the best they can be.

These are Rhode Island values, these are Republican values, and these are my values.

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North Providence’s Challenge

In a recent chat with North Providence’s Mayor Lombardi, he told me that North Providence’s population has been essentially unchanged 30 years at 32,000 residents.  The population can’t grow because there’s no more room for expansion.

The town has also resisted the demographic changes caused by an aging population, attracting young families with a comfortable living environment and moderate housing prices. Unlike many Rhode Island towns, the student population has also been stable,

I looked into the situation afterward.

In many ways, a stable population is great — there is no need to build new roads, to expand utilities, or grow the police force.  Even the schools have little need to be expanded or consolidated.

But not everything is stable – the decline in Rhode Island’s jewelry industry means that the taxes to provide city services has been shifting, putting new pressures on the property taxes paid directly by property owners.

The options are limited: increase taxes, reduce services — neither of which are desirable — or find alternative sources of funding.  Typically those alternative sources are re-distributive, moving tax money from some communities into others.

A much more difficult path is to increase commercial development in the town to replace what had been lost when the jewelry industry collapsed.  That’s the path that Mayor Lombardi has been taking.

Imagine how much easier the Mayor’s Lombardi’s job would be if the entire state was friendlier to businesses. What if Rhode Island had simplified regulations that were easy to understand and comply with and if state property taxes were competitive with our neighbors?

Fixing these things are within the scope of the legislature. As Lt. Governor I will be adding my voice and insights where I can, prodding and coaxing, but ultimately these things are up to the voters.  They are the ones who tell their representatives in the legislature what is important to them.

If you agree with my message of an efficient and effective government that  works for the people, then consider nominating and electing people throughout the state government who will work with me to make it happen.

While you’re considering things, maybe you’ll consider running for office yourself.



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