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March 22, 2006

Healey for Lt. Gov. of Rhode Island

I'm on the road at a client site in Rhode Island this week, and I picked up the local free paper while eating supper this evening. (I mention that in case anyone wonders why this Georgia resident would even know about this story.) I read about a guy who's campaign I could get behind. I don't know what his general politics are, but he's got a mission and has been willing to walk the talk, not just talk it.

Robert J. Healey, Jr. EAST BAY - Robert J. Healey, Jr. is tired of preaching logic to voters. Instead, the Barrington resident and Warren native is basing his recently announced campaign for the office of Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor on the absurd. If it's silly or non-sensical you can imagine it's coming from Mr. Healey, who stated his intentions for office from Brava Beach in Punta del Este, Uraguay on Thursday.

Why Uruguay?

"I have chosen this location because I think that it demonstrates that no matter where you are in the world, and no matter what you are doing, you can also be serving as Rhode Island's Lt. Governor at the same time. Waiting for the demise of the governor can be accomplished just about anywhere, any time, and by just about anyone with a pulse. I probably would do it here on the beach," Mr. Healey said, adding that if he is elected he will facilitate the constitutional abolition of the office or "serve as the impetus for otherwise changing its constitutional role."

Now before you dismiss this as a one-off, futile, point-making campaign, consider that this guy's been making a career out of this. And he's been doing a decent job at this. From the biographical highlights at the end of the article come these points:
* Founded Cool Moose Party (name taken from Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party) and ran for governor against former Governor Edward DiPrete in 1986 — received a little less than 4,000 votes

* Ran for governor again in 1994, this time garnering slightly less than 10 percent of all votes cast — won the race in Warren which "humbled him," he said.

* Because of that showing (receiving more than 5 percent of the vote), the Cool Moose Party gained statewide recognition

* In 1998, he took on then Gov. Lincoln Almond and Democratic challenger Myrth York and received 8 percent of all votes cast.

* In 2002, he ran against incumbent Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty promising to abolish the office, if elected; he received a 20 percent share of votes cast statewide.

He's been doing this for 20 years, so he's no flash in the pan. I can't possibly do the article on him justice with snippets, so go ahead and read the whole thing, even if you're not from Rhode Island. I did, and I enjoyed it.

Posted by Doug at March 22, 2006 08:24 PM

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In the same vein as Healy's suggestion that we do not need a Lieuetenant Governor I suggest that we may not need the RI state government either.

I am hoping the Providence Journal will publish this letter to the editor.

Title – “Rhode Island, Massachusetts 02900”

We have a $500 million dollar opportunity to solve two vexing Rhode Island economic problems. According to the Governors office, it costs about $500 million dollars just to manage this state each year. This does not include the state cost for education, human services, natural resources or public safety.
Simple math tells us that the projected $300 million dollar budget deficit disappears if we eliminate the $500 million dollars it costs to manage this state.

Secondly, the widely respected Tax Foundation recently compared spending per capita in Rhode Island vs. Massachusetts. They say that our state government spends about $500 dollars more per capita than our neighboring state government. With a population of a little more than one million people in Rhode Island that amounts to about $500 million dollars more in spending here in Rhode Island than in Massachusetts. By the way, if we spend $500 more per person we are taxing $500 more per person. Those are the problems and here is the opportunity to solve them.

Isn’t it about time that we start to think of re-uniting Rhode Island and Massachusetts at the state government level? We are already attached geographically and in many other ways. Rhode Island was formed over 300 years ago solely because of religious intolerance in the Bay Colony. Last time I checked that issue has been resolved. The reason we are a separate state no longer exists.

In addition to lowering of our taxes there many other benefits. Some examples are 1) Rhode Islanders working in Mass would have only one tax return to file, 2) companies that do business in both states, and most do, would have only one set of tax laws, regulations and other burdens to deal with and 3) probably most importantly our educational system would benefit from more collective, regional thinking.

About the only thing we stand to lose are the names of two United States Senators. That might be a nice opportunity to pick the best two of the four to represent us. Town and city governments as well as other local representation would remain the unchanged.

We are fortunate to have two governors who understand economies of scale. Both have run large global companies which benefited by merging and consolidating identical functions in multiple organizations into one. If there ever was an opportune time to look at this issue in a serious way, it’s now.

Posted by: frank lubrano at March 26, 2006 07:22 PM