The Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund Gubernatorial Debate: Opening Statements

The links below will take you to unofficial transcripts of the opening statements of the candidates for Governor of Rhode Island, speaking at last night’s debate hosted by the Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund, held at CCRI’s Liston Campus Auditorium. Candidates are listed in the order they spoke.

Victor Moffitt: : I am a lifetime Rhode Island resident. I’ve lived in Coventry my entire life. I also have 40 years experience and I did serve in the General Assembly for 6 years and was a member of the House Finance Committee, so I did work on budgets for 6 years and I do know many of the social issues and many of the cuts that were made between 2002 and 2008 when I was a member of the General Assembly. I do work in my investment and tax business with my wife, who is sitting in the audience, along with my daughter. I want to be your next Governor, because the governor needs to have a strong financial background and experience to work with the General Assembly, because for the last 16 years, our Republican Governors have had difficulty working with the Democratic controlled General Assembly, and I believe that with my 6 years experience there, I could make good legislation and get it passed.

John Robitaille: My name is John Robitaille, and just to fill out my bio a little bit, I was born in Central Falls, and lived on Grant Street. My grandmother and my aunts and uncles and my parents, we had quite a family grouping there on Grant St. I did start a business, when I finished my military service, and I ran that business for over 20 years here in Rhode Island and I completely understand what small business owners are going through right now in these terrible economic times. I guess if there’s one clear message that I want to get out tonight, it is that your next governor needs to have a very broad background and experience, in many facets of life, in business, in government, both personally and professionally. The key issue everyone should be focusing on today is jobs. We need a healthy economy. We need to do everything that we can do to create jobs. Because with a healthy economy, when people are working, it solves and resolves a lot of the issues we will probably be talking about later on this evening. I believe I am the best candidate, I believe my background with prove that. Thank you very much.

Ken Block: My name is Ken Block…I find myself here as the Moderate Party candidate for Governor because of the utter frustration that I came to with politics as usual in this state, with a fairly non-responsive legislature and an inability for the executive branch and the legislative branch to most effectively deal with the issues that most Rhode Islanders care about. Those are the issues of the economy, and the issues of our educational system and the underperformance of both of those critical areas. In the 20 years that I’ve lived here, I’ve watched chronic budget deficits come and go, and I’ve watched a lot of short-term thought processes, how do we close this year’s budget deficit, and very little in the way of how do we address next year’s budget deficit. We need to change that. We need new blood in politics. We need new people, who are leaders in their own rights, to step up, and help fix the issues that are broken in this state. Thank you.

Lincoln Chafee: My name is Lincoln Chafee, and I’d like to thank the Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund for hosting this debate. It’s the first time we’ve had seven candidates on this stage together…A majority of Rhode Islanders think Rhode Island is going in the wrong direction, and that is unacceptable, and the main reason is that our people aren’t working. We have got to get this state back to work and, from my view, the Governor and the legislature have not worked well together. There’s been some reference from previous candidates about the inability of the executive and the legislature branches to work together. Beyond that, there’s been too much contention with the Latino community with E-Verify and too much contention with the unions and that has not helped our state move forward. There is only one candidate on this stage has the executive experience of working with a legislative body and of with working with unions. And I did that as Mayor…and of course as Senator, I was able to work with my majority party.

Todd Giroux: My name is Todd Giroux…and I am a candidate for Governor. I do not have the political experience that my fellow candidates do. I am a General Contractor. I work, I understand the downturn in the economy and what we’ve all gone through. I feel most qualified to bring programs to the people of Rhode Island. I understand the unemployed. I understand folks that don’t have the cash supply to hire the local business. I understand labor, and I want to bring these programs to the people. I want you all to know that I am the most direct route for Federal and state programs to reach the communities.

Frank Caprio: Good evening, I am Frank Caprio, and I’d like to be your Governor…Let me tell you a few things about myself. I’ve live right now and for the past 20 years in a section of Providence that is a majority-minority neighborhood, and I represented that neighborhood in the state legislature for many years. I’ve been listening to the concerns of the minority community during all of those years and I will let the results speak for themselves, of the advancement that we made in our community. My wife is a first-generation American, her parents came here in the 1960s. She still speaks in Italian to her mom, when she will call her tonight to say goodnight. She teaches at Central High School. She’s been there, teaching Spanish for 17 years…Our country and our state has been founded on making sacrifices and working hard, and I believe in doing that, and that’s why I’m running for Governor; I want the ladder of success to stay that way.

Patrick Lynch: Good evening everybody, my name is Patrick Lynch. I am currently the Attorney General, and a candidate for Governor, and I am humbly seeking your support….My motivation for running for Governor is simple. It is to continue standing up for people. I grew up with a fundamental belief to use your voice for people, especially people who felt their voice didn’t matter. I don’t think there’s been more of a time in history when we need someone with a backbone to stand up. Our system of government is fundamentally broken…Taxes are too high and there is too much regulation. The government gets in the way. Our priorities are messed up. The legislature, for many, many years has brought us down a bad road, by making short term decisions and not thinking about our future. We need somebody who will stand up, make decisions and move our state forward, for everybody in the state. Thanks very much.

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11 years ago

Thanks so much for covering this debate, Andrew! I think John did a fantastic job of standing his conservative ground like a true leader should. I look forward to supporting him as Rhode Island’s next Governor!!

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