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Dan Lawlor: 1st District Needs a Democrat it Can Trust

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


David Cicilline did many admirable things as Mayor. He came into office following Tammany Hall 2.0, and faced massive challenges trying to modernize city procedures, support business, and improve education. His greatest success was probably in fostering community partnerships and supporting and expanding high quality youth programming, which a past colleague in Vermont knew him for. However, the albatross of city finances, a process that began with contracts signed by Paolino and Cianci, threatens to bring Providence to bankruptcy. This is not all Cicilline's fault -declining tax revenue and increasing tax exemptions (think the state authorized GTECH property tax exemption) contributed.

That said, at this point, it seems as if Congressman Cicilline is a liability to the Democratic Party. I might be wrong, but the poll numbers don't suggest it. If he cares about the success of the party and the state, he should not continue to seek re-election. From Elizabeth Roberts to Dr. Wayne Montague, from Ruth Simmons to Gordon Fox, from David Segal to my old colleague Annibell Higgins there are plenty of intelligent, hard working individuals in this state who would be great assets in Congress. We need new voices.

Cicilline did a great deal of hard work to push for reforms in the city, to attract downtown investment, to support youth programming. Yet, the failure to confront the pension issue earlier, the lack of planning for the damage caused by cuts from state aid, and leaving the city on the brink of financial ruin, should lead one to pause before running for Congress. As a private citizen, Cicilline will do many good things for this city and nation. From non-profits to foundation work, I'm sure he will contribute and build up many strong programs. Yet, he should not be running for office. Not now.

I do not want a Republican representing Rhode Island in Congress. Especially on the national level, this region must defend metropolitan interests, public transit, support the Dream ACT, promote strong education, and a clean environment. To do those things in Congress, we need an elected representative. Doherty is polling double digits ahead of Cicilline. With due respect to Doherty, he was unsure who received the Bush tax cuts. He should not be elected. I want a Democrat we can trust, and who will win.

Cicilline, don't help the Republican Party. Endorse a hard working Democrat to take your place, win the election, and keep the state delegation Democratic.

Democrats (and Republicans for that matter) lose elections when the interests of the person in office are placed ahead of the well being of people at large. Put people first. If possible, we need another way and a new candidate. We shouldn't lose a vote for public transit, health care, fair taxes, and the National Endowment for the Arts to attempt to save Congressman Cicilline's career.


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