A Change of Race
For some reason a statement released by the Moderate Party’s candidate for lieutenant governor, Jean Ann Guliano, capped for me a little wave of inexplicable optimism, yesterday:
Many have pointed out that my running for state office is admirable, but what we really need are committed people in the General Assembly, people who are going to advocate for taxpayers, our students and small businesses. We need a strong coalition of General Assembly members who will pledge to focus all efforts on 1) growing our economy and 2) promoting a successful educational system for our children. Those are the two most important priorities for the state, and are my priorities, as well. So, after much consideration, I have decided to run for the State Senate in District 35 (East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Warwick, Potowomut).
As the Providence Journal reports, the General Assembly races have attracted a lot of interest:
How many Rhode Island lawmakers will return to the State House next year without a fight?
The answer: very few, after tea party activists, Republicans, Moderate Party candidates, independents and a slew of Democratic primary challengers raced to meet Wednesday’s deadline for officially declaring their candidacies for the General Assembly.
By 4 p.m. on Wednesday, at least 307 candidates had entered the running for the 113 seats in the House and Senate. …
… from the information available so far, it appears that only six incumbents in the House and six in the Senate are running without opposition.
We’re talking Rhode Island, though, and the fact that somebody is not an incumbent does not mean that they’ll pull the government in the right direct. Indeed, it would be foolish of special interests not to run candidates to capitalize on anti-incumbent sentiment, even if they’re generally satisfied with what they’ve already got, and folks who merely thirst after power will surely see this season as an opportunity. Nothing beats paying attention to the races on which you’ll vote, but as a general rule, vote Republican, Moderate, and Independent, first, going with the Democrat only if you’re very familiar with him or her. Even breaking the party’s hold a bit would send a valuable message.
Still — and whatever the dynamics of district 35 — Moderate Guliano’s move might suggest a general shift in focus toward the actual center of power. It’s indicative of the sorry state of circumstances, ’round here, but even just a handful of fresh faces with a healthier political philosophy could make it more difficult for the establishment to play such games as I mentioned yesterday. It will be much more difficult for Democrat leaders to shift blame for their own predictably bad outcomes to reform policies that were never actually implemented if legislators are making noise about the scam all along.
Of course, while we should plan for small steps in turning the state around, many Rhode Islanders who are struggling to get by would welcome an electoral revolution (even if some of us don’t realize it, yet).