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PowerPlayer: Ray Rickman

Monday, August 01, 2011


All Rhode Island insiders know GoLocalProv’s latest PowerPlayer. Ray Rickman is something of a renaissance man; a former State Rep., a successful business owner, a book reviewer, a former talk show host on PBS and an expert on all things Ocean State.

Rickman was kind enough to chat with GoLocalProv to tell us about what he’s been up to recently.

1) You've see a little bit of everything in your time in Rhode Island. Tell us about proudest moment in the state?

It was election night and I stood on the stage in Mount Pleasant with the Kennedy family as Patrick Kennedy gave his first [State Representative] victory speech. I was the only State Rep. that supported him. It was a fabulous evening and the experience of a lifetime.

2) Rhode Island is still facing a major financial crisis. You served in the General Assembly. What would you have done differently this session if you were still in office?

I spent more time on legislative issues this year than ever.

• Same Sex Marriage: I met with a lot of people and told them they don’t want to be on the wrong side of history.
• Nuclear Reactors: I tried real hard to get rid of nuclear reactions and it knocked me on my butt because no one cared.
• Central Falls: I’m not a lobbyist, I just talk to people. And I talked to probably 25 Reps and Senators and I showed them a map of Central Falls. The northern fourth of Central Falls is empty. We could make a 100 acre piece of land thee on the border of Massachusetts with an exit from I-95. The land would more valuable than the I-195 land [in Providence]. I think we could create a tax base in Central Falls within five years.

3) Take us through a day in your life.

I never know what’s going to happen after I leave my house. I like to walk to work and have a staff meeting, where I complain to my staff. We have six clients and everything is determined by the client. I’m old fashioned so my clients are the kings and queens and if I don’t love my clients, they aren’t my clients. For each one, we try to raise money and do publicity.

I also try really hard to walk every day. My goal is to not use my care more than once a week.

4) You're a prominent leader in the African American community. Where is Rhode Island today when it comes to equal rights for all?

This is one of “glass half full or half empty” questions and the answer is the glass is half full and half empty. Racism is convoluted these days. I think it’s kind of a weird time right now. It’s a bad time for a lot of people. On the half full side, when I was a kid, you couldn’t go into every other restaurant or live in every other neighborhood.

5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I love to play bocce and squash. I started bocce when I was 12 and I loved it because everyone was 70 except for me. And squash, I played it when I was young and have always loved it.

Quick Hitters

Role Model: Martin Luther King Jr.
Favorite Restaurant: Hemenway's, outside.
Favorite Beach: Horseneck Beach
Best Book You've Read This Year: Ladies and Gentlemen by Adam Ross
Advice For The Next Ray Rickman:

Now people need to be bigger than life. I think life is small, but it doesn’t take much to be big. Something as small as washing dishes at a soup kitchen can make you feel feel big.

Learn Spanish.

Perfect your writing.


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