They are who we thought they were. And the choice between the two of them couldn’t be more clear–or easier.
The two candidates who everyone thought would prevail in this week’s primaries–Cranston Mayor Allan Fung on the Republican side and Governor Gina Raimondo on the Democrat side–did.
That leaves us with a rematch from four years ago. And it also leaves voters with a clear choice of two very different candidates.
The only reason Raimondo prevailed over Mayor Fung four years ago was due to the presence of the late Bob Healey in the race. Far too many suburban voters cast ballots for Healey, and it cost Fung the election.
The Real Losers in 2014
But the real losers were the people of Rhode Island.
Let’s face it: the Governor mismanaged the state–to put it mildly. Under her supervision, the state has squandered hundreds of millions on dollars on the UHIP computer upgrade. In the meantime, thousands of needy Rhode Islanders went without benefits.
But it doesn’t end there. The DCYF (Department of Children, Youth, and Families) has been mismanaged as well. Babies have died in the department’s care. That makes me sick to my stomach.
Meanwhile, a state-funded group home was being managed by a man who was accused of being a pimp. (No, you didn’t read that incorrectly.)
Raimondo’s state lawyers have missed appeal deadlines. That’s cost Rhode Islanders about $24 million in the process. The state department of transportation is mismanaged as well. Passengers routinely spend hours in traffic for no good reason.
The only way the state gets economic development is when the Commerce Corporation hands out taxpayer money to (connected, of course) private companies.
The Rhode Island economy has marginally improved. But that’s largely due to improvement in the national economy. Raimondo, of course, tries to take full credit.
Rhode Island can do better. It must.
A Tremendous Alternative
Fortunately, Rhode Islanders have more than a reasonable alternative in Fung.
Under Fung’s watch, Garden City and Chapel View have provided Rhode Island with some of its best economic development over the last decade. And it’s all taken place without any corporate welfare.
Fung has largely held the line on taxes in Cranston–presenting budget after budget without a tax hike.
Voters can rest assured he would do the same on the state level. In fact, Fung has promised to propose a cut in the state sales tax to 5-percent. That would actually give Rhode Island an advantage over its neighbors.
Further, Fung has promised that when he’s governor, he’ll make sure that the state has the lowest fees in the region. That would be another boon to local businesses.
Nobody’s perfect. Make no mistake: Fung, like the rest of us, isn’t without foibles.
But when compared with Raimondo, the choice couldn’t be easier. Compared to Raimondo, Fung’s few mishaps in office seem like comparing jaywalking to felonies.
It’s too bad to see House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan exhibit sour grapes, act like a sore loser, and refuse to do the right thing and endorse Fung’s bid after he easily bested her in the primary. Hopefully, she, as well as her supporters, will come to their senses and endorse Fung’s bid to unseat Raimondo.
That’s because, with Fung, voters have a candidate that they can and should be proud to support.