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Post-Election Roundup: Nov. 11, 2014

One week after Democrats swept elections across the state, securing the gubernatorial and Providence mayoral seats as well as many smaller offices, winners, losers and pundits have already started discussing Rhode Island’s potential over the next term.


Raimondo readies agenda

Governor-elect and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo met with Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 P’17 and with voters over the past week to discuss her upcoming agenda, preparing to be sworn in to the governor’s office in January.

Raimondo has advocated increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 during 2015, focusing on I-195 redevelopment projects and developing a more “outcome-oriented” state government, the Providence Journal reported.

She appointed three people to lead her transition team from general treasurer to governor: two former chairs of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Jon Duffy and Carol Grant, and Rep. Joseph Shekarchi, D-Warwick, WPRI reported.

Raimondo is the first Democrat elected to the governor’s office since 1992. WPRI reported that she also received the second-lowest number of votes since 1930 for a new gubernatorial candidate in the state, garnering only 41 percent of the vote.


Elorza appointments and advice

Providence Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza should “under-promise and over-perform” in his new position, said Mayor Angel Taveras when asked what advice he would give his successor, the Journal reported. The rest of his advice will be left in a 40-page letter for Elorza to read when he arrives at City Hall.

Elorza, a former Housing Court judge, has said he plans to focus on the city’s economic recovery, stabilizing the municipal budget and carrying out development projects, including high-speed rail and Kennedy Plaza construction. Elorza has chosen Lisa Ranglin, vice president at Bank of America, Victor Capellan, an education consultant, and Sally Lapides, president and chief executive officer of Residential Properties Ltd., to co-chair his transition committee, according to a press release from spokesperson Marisa O’Gara.

The release also announced that a new website, Transition PVD, will be launched to notify citizens of the steps Elorza’s team will take in the coming months.


Healey editorial Providence improvements

Robert Healey, the losing Moderate candidate for governor who generated national headlines by winning over 20 percent of the statewide vote last Tuesday while spending under $50 on his campaign, released an op-ed in RI Future yesterday, outlining his vision to “restore Rhode Island to prosperity.” He suggested implementing a statewide teacher contract funded by income taxes, a state-owned bank, state control over the production and distribution of marijuana and state election reform with instant-runoff voting.

As of Oct. 28, Healey spent only $35.31 on his campaign and received 69,070 votes, the Journal reported. By comparison, Raimondo spent $5,455,291 to obtain 131,452 votes, and Republican candidate Allan Fung, mayor of Cranston, received 117,106 votes after spending $1,780,234 on his campaign.


Runoff elections

Since the election, both political commentators and some candidates have suggested that it might be time to bring a runoff voting system to Rhode Island.

Like Chafee, Raimondo won the election despite winning less than a majority of the state’s vote, which Fung said illustrates the need to consider implementing runoff voting.

Scott MacKay, political commentator for Rhode Island Public Radio, noted that having viable gubernatorial candidates from more than two parties in both the 2010 and 2014 elections raises the question of whether plurality victories will become more common in future election cycles. In 2010, Chafee beat out three other major candidates despite winning less than 40 percent of the vote.


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