Fecteau: The PawSox Leave and a Former Pawtucket Senator Charged – Pawtucket’s Bad Week

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Thanks to citizen apathy and failed leadership, the days of a packed stadium in Pawtucket are drawing to a close.

In an almost back-to-back related stories, former Rhode Island Senator James Doyle of Pawtucket is being brought up on bank fraud charges, and the PawSox are ready to leave.

Doyle was recently charged with 31 counts of bank fraud, one count of filing a false tax return, and one count of failing to file a tax return.

The PawSox will also leave signaling a serious change in the direction of our state.

I ran for state Senate against James Doyle, and remember him as a corrupt man, more eager to seek reelection simply because he felt he was entitled to the office (his father was mayor of Pawtucket for decades). Doyle, as a result, didn’t care about the people or the issues such as the PawSox.

When I asked one politician about what Doyle did to help ensure the PawSox remained a part of Pawtucket, his answer was Doyle “never could be found.”

Doyle’s name was missing from all key pieces of legislation and articles related to the PawSox during this tumultuous time.

Running While Serving

In 2016, I had the honor of running against Doyle while still deployed overseas. I was overseeing military training operations across the greater Middle East in an austere combat environment.

Something like this has never been attempted from my knowledge of politics – at least few could think of something similar. My campaign exposed the fact Doyle rarely attended any of his committee meetings or even voted. Everyone thought what I attempted was impossible, but we came just shy of only 67 votes with a third party candidate in the race.

You would think with Doyle’s history; he would receive almost no support. This is not true. Doyle received support from his peers in the Senate, and Pawtucket Representative. One Representative told me that he has known Doyle’s family for 40 years; I replied he is a liability to the city and state and he needs to be opposed. That logic was lost on him, and so many others. 

However, after a Doyle and his campaign manager, Kevin Crowley, filed a bunch of frivolous complaints against me, the voters of Pawtucket voted him back in. They voted for him because of his last name, family ties, and because he was around for such a long time. He wasn’t value added to the city or state, if you ask me. 

The Voters Should Shoulder Blame 

Doyle of all people is responsible for the PawSox departure considering he did nothing, but aren’t we all a little responsible because at the end of the day. The people did vote Doyle in for another term.

The voters decided on Doyle to represent us in the General Assembly which resulted in him doing, again, completely nothing for another term. He eventually resigned due to “alcoholism.”

So here we are today with the PawSox as good as gone.

If I was elected back in 2016, I would have fought tooth and nail to keep the PawSox in Pawtucket. Whether we want to admit this or not, we simply voted for the same old politicians that failed us, and in an unsurprising twist, those politicians failed us again (at least it is predictable).

Our state and cities deserve so much better than to elect the people in simply because of who they are linkage, family ties, or because they have an asterisks next to their name.

If not, we risk more PawSox like “fails” such as the PawSox in the future.

Sometimes change can be a very good thing. That’s especially true when the alternatives are at best stagnant, and at worst, corrupt.

The Apex building will now continue to sit as a monument to not only the failed leadership of the state, but also our inability to vote for something different at the ballot box.

It’s time we started pointing some blame at the voters who have set this whole system up. 

Matthew Fecteau
Matt Fecteau of Pawtucket, Rhode Island is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and an Iraq War veteran. Send him email at Matthew.Fecteau@gmail.com
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