TOM WARD - 'New' Democrats prevailed
TOM WARD - 'New' Democrats prevailed
Congratulations are in order for Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee, who surprised many (including me) with his solid win in the lieutenant governor's Democratic Primary race against two-term - and term limited - Secretary of State Ralph Mollis. Name recognition is important, and Mollis had been twice elected statewide before. When the campaign started, McKee was little known beyond the Blackstone Valley. Further, a recent ruling by the state Board of Elections put a lot of his money from past races out of reach.
McKee painted himself as a "new Democrat" and education reformer, and Mollis was brought to heel with his recent ties to the 38 Studios debacle and lame investigation. It appears voters were paying attention after all, and McKee won in precincts across the state.
• And speaking of "guys," I recall the ever-gushing press that waxes and wanes over women in positions of power. When the very liberal Myrth York ran for governor, writers of a certain persuasion fawned over the prospect of "Rhode Island's First Woman Governor." I have yet to hear much of this around General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, the now Democratic nominee for governor. I bring this up to just remind people that this flattering isn't really about gender at all, but about Progressive + Gender. When women are less than pure in their liberalism, the press doesn't spend as much time with that "First Woman" stuff.
• Last week, I wrote that our state would be best off with either Raimondo or Ken Block as the next governor. With Republicans choosing Cranston Mayor Allan Fung over Block as their nominee, I can at least say with confidence that Rhode Island, come Jan. 1, will be exponentially better off than it has been for the past four years, no matter what happens on Election Day. And for that, I'm already grateful. And two years from now, the rest of America might begin to heal, too.
• Ernie Almonte, the highly regarded former state auditor general, and a Democrat from Scituate, looks pretty smart for his making himself "independent," avoiding a three-way primary battle, and opting to run in November for the position of general treasurer. It turns out no Republican bothered to seek the seat, and so it will be Almonte against newcomer Seth Magaziner, who has little experience in public finance, but is an "F.O.B.," or "Friend of Bill (Clinton)", after all.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, as Democrat voters seemed a bit feisty Tuesday, dumping endorsed candidates (Mollis, Guillaume De Ramel, and Frank Caprio) and union-backed politicians (Pell) in favor of leaders like Raimondo and McKee. Might those same voters, knowing that Almonte is really a Democrat anyway, go for his years of experience in finding and working to heal local pension problems? Time will tell.
Interesting work, John
I'm going to give a hat tip to my brother, John Ward, the former Woonsocket City Council president and current Lincoln finance director. Somehow, with his extensive internet prowess, he determined that Clay Pell might have been a Republican in his past life, and on Aug. 13 sent that little factoid off to Providence media for investigation. It all led to last week's dust-up over Pell's decade-long dance with the GOP in his home state of Arizona. No doubt this impurity of a young man with the Pell pedigree was an arrow straight through the bleeding hearts of fellow travelers on the far left. Egads! How could Pell have done such a dance with the devil? It's unforgivable!
On another matter, I'm pleased new Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt may have noted my brother's thoughts, discussed on the Woonsocket Patch web site Oct. 13, 2013, for consideration of moving the athletic fields for Woonsocket High School from the current Barry Field, across the city to Cass Park, adjacent to where the high school has been since 1971. While there is room for all of it, the move would be costly, and so a "go slow" approach will be needed as the city's financial struggles continue. There is also the deed restriction on Barry Field, donated to the city a long time ago for educational purposes. That may not be simple to undo. Still, the move is common sense, and I urge city officials to consider this much-needed change.
Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze newspapers