Steve Laffey’s Thoughts on What a Rhode Island Governor Needs to Do
Officially, he hasn’t yet declared if he’s running for Governor in 2010. However, according to Projo columnist Edward Achorn, former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey has some specific ideas about the role that the leader of the executive branch should play in reforming Rhode Island…
Mr. Laffey argues [that] public-employee unions have to be brought around to face the real world. They will do so, if they think they are being treated fairly by someone who does his homework, and won’t back down. The state government must become much more efficient, and much more oriented toward serving the common good. Business leaders would flock to this beautiful state if taxes were competitive, government was honest and public services were strong.And Mayor Laffey is not reticent about offering his thoughts on how well he thinks the current executive is doing or not doing in these areas…
Rhode Island is small enough that its citizens could rally behind change. But change will not happen, Laffey said, without a leader who wants to shake everything up, knows how to run complex organizations and fix financial problems, and does not care how much he is hated by interest groups as a result. His political heroes are Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan — stubborn chief executives who knew what they wanted and did not hesitate to tread heavily on toes.
Mr. Laffey contends that [Governor Donald Carcieri] lost the moral authority to speak out against the crisis when he submitted a budget this year that promised massive future deficits and used one-time gimmicks to plug gaps. The governor also inexplicably kept telling Rhode Islanders that the state was headed in the right direction.From a political perspective, something worth watching for over the next year or so will be whether publicly telegraphing a split with Governor Carcieri encourages someone from the other wing of Rhode Island’s divided Republican party to jump sooner into the Governor’s race than they otherwise might. (Mayor Scott Avedisian of Warwick is the other possible Republican gubernatorial often mentioned).
“There is not a crisis mindset in the state because the guy at the top says things are going good,” Mr. Laffey said. “Things are not going good…We are not a place where anyone would consider right now starting and growing a business”.
On the other hand, Mayor Laffey (did I mention “if he decides to run”?) may be betting that the disaffected Chafee-wing of the party won’t offer enthusiastic support to him under any circumstances, so there’s nothing to be lost by moving directly to the positions he wants to take, as early as possible.