Islanders will go to the polls on Tuesday to cast their votes on the many candidates and state ballot questions in the Nov. 7th general election. Some will vote straight party, but the rest of us will have harder choices to make. There will be a few who will write in the names of their selections.
After lengthy consideration we've decided to endorse candidates in this election. You may not agree with our choices, yet we urge you to vote anyway.
Republican incumbent Don Carcieri is fending off an impressive challenge from Democrat Charlie Fogarty, who has been languishing as the state's lieutenant governor. We think Carcieri has done a fairly impressive job of putting the word "accountability" back into Rhode Island's state government. We also like the fact that he was previously employed in a field other than politics. Putting the same party in charge of the governor's office and the state legislature spells trouble in the Ocean State. Therefore, Carcieri gets our nod.
The campaign rhetoric dished out of late by Republican incumbent Lincoln Chaffee and Democrat hopeful Sheldon Whitehouse has gotten pretty deep. Chaffee has done an adequate job of bringing home the pork to Rhode Islanders, and he has been a thorn in the side of the administration as the GOP's self-appointed lone wolf, but he tends to waffle at times. In our estimation, both gentlemen have impressive records of public service. We'd like to see Congress keep tighter reigns on the administration, though, so Whitehouse has the edge in this election.
Nobody can really figure out what the state's lieutenant governor is supposed to do other than crank out press releases while waiting for the sitting governor to be removed from office or die. Three candidates are vying for the office, yet only one, Bob Healey Jr. of the Cool Moose Party, gets our attention. Healey says he'll serve, but won't take a salary or staff the office, saving the state more than $1 million annually. Healey gets our vote. Let's apply the unused money to fund something worthwhile, like education.
Democrat Patrick Lynch wants to serve again while Republican Bill Harsch claims that he is the better choice. The recent plea bargains from Lynch's office in the Station fire disaster have left everyone scratching their heads. Harsch hails from Jamestown and has also served as legal counsel to the island's Town Council. We give both thumbs up to the hometown boy.
There are two candidates who would like to unseat veteran Democrat Patrick Kennedy from his strong grip on Congress, but we've not heard much from them. Kennedy has had his problems, but he has consistently done a sound job of filling the populist shoes in the federal representative post. And he's of a different party than the administration, so we say send him back to Washington one more time.
State General Assembly
There's really not much to get excited about in these two non-races, simply because there is no competition. Democrat Teresa Paiva Weed is unapposed in her bid to return to the Senate, as is Republican Bruce Long, who wants another term in the House. They both seem to be doing an okay job, so let's give 'em our votes.
This question seems like a no brainer. Do we really need to amend the state's Constitution to allow Harrah's to build a glittering casino here? The only winner on this question will be Harrah's. Let's not gamble on the state's future. We say vote "No."