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NEW: Block Calls Out Raimondo, Taveras, Fung for Ties to Fox

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Ken Block

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Block issued the following statement today on the "need for significant government reform in Rhode Island" -- and called out three of the gubernatorial candidates for their ties to former Speaker of the House Gordon Fox.

Statement from Block

“When the Speaker, one of the most powerful elected officials in our state, resigns after Federal and State law enforcement raid his office and home, it is the clearest and most urgent message that Rhode Island’s government is broken.

It is a warning bell that decades of one-party rule have created a culture of back-office dealings and elected officials more concerned with personal gain and staying in power than the interests of their constituents.

I have been advocating for the needed reforms for years. We need to abolish the Master Lever, strengthen the Ethics Commission and create the line-item veto.

We also need a governor who will be an agent for change and the check on the General Assembly that we need.

There are insiders and career politicians running for governor that are products of the current system, such as Treasurer Raimondo, Mayor Fung, and Mayor Taveras who have supported Speaker Fox financially and politically, who will let the deal making and corruption in the General Assembly return to the shadows and continue in back rooms.

I will not. I am a businessman and a political outsider. I owe nothing to the people profiting from the current system. As Governor, I will end the Master Lever, strengthen the Ethics Commission, create the line-item veto and be the check on the General Assembly that we so desperately need.” 


Related Slideshow: 10 Questions Block Has to Answer When Running for Gov of RI

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10. Can Block convince voters he is more than a third party player?


To win in the GOP primary, Block is going to need to convince GOP primary voters that his ideals align with the fundamental beliefs of the Republican Party. 


He did get a political gift.  As GoLocalProv reported - Blocks opponent in the GOP primary, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has been a consistent donor for a decade to many of the top Democrats in the Party.


Both Block and Fung will be challenged to explain their GOP credentials.

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9. Is Block too much of a techno-candidate?


Block, the founder of a software company, love to talk about technology solutions to public policy problems. He is going to have to define his solutions to problems in a tangible way.  Often, voters connect to simple themes, "Hope and Change" or from "Head Start to Harvard." 


Block is going to need to be able to show he can connect to all Rhode Islanders - we are a retail political state.

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8. Can Block raise money?


Block has demonstrated he is serious about running - he has already invested $500,000 of his own money to win the GOP primary, but he will need an estimated $3 million to win the primary and General Election next November.


To date, his fundraising base has been small and while Fung is no Gina Raimondo in fundraising, he does have a modest Republican fundraising base.

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7. Will Block defend the behavior of National Republicans?


If 15 months from now Ted Cruz works tirelessly to close the federal government over the implementation of Obamacare, will GOP Governor Ken Block speak out on the issue? 


Will Block praise or criticize Cruz? In the primary, conservative voters may want him to praise Cruz and in the General election, the majority of voters may want him to condemn Cruz.

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6. Can Block attract RI GOP leaders?


A few weeks ago Fung announced an advisory group of prominent Republicans.  The announcement gave Fung's efforts some momentum. Block would pick up a lot of credibility if he were to peel some Fung supporters over to his team.


In addition, a number of leading Republicans have yet to make an announcement - if they break to Block it may create momentum.

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5. Can Block connect with voters in the General Election?


Assuming Block beat Fung in a GOP primary and went on to face a progressive Democrat like Providence Mayor Angel Taveras or rising star Clay Pell, can Block work the Greek Festival in Cranston or the Scituate Art Festival as well as these Democrats?


Will undecided voters connect to Block?

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4. Will Block's lack of previous elected office help or hinder?


It can be argued that never having been elected before could be perceived as a negative.


Sure, Governor Don Carcieri was never previously elected to office and Governor Bruce Sundlun had only been elected to the state's Constitutional Congress, but voters may want to be sure that Block will know a federal emergency declaration from a new software version - or will each new storm be deemed Sandy 2.0 and so on.

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3. Is Block the smartest guy in the room?


Make no mistake about it, Block is smart. Business smart, policy smart, but could he be too smart and then not be able to connect to voters.


Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar (so was Gina Raimondo), but one thing about Bill Clinton was that he could play the role of a good ol' boy as good as anyone. He could make any voter feel right at home.


Block will need to channel his intelligence into a language and approach that connects to the CEO he is asking to support his effort as equally as asking a unemployed mom in Pawtucket.

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2. How will he handle the plethora of special interests?


This time Block will have to answer the questionnaire from the FOP, the Right-to-Life groups, the Environment Council, MADD, the Teamsters, The Northern RI Chamber of Commerce, NEA-RI, arts advocacy groups, the NAACP, and you get the picture.


Consistency will matter. One group's endorsement will spark another groups condemnation. Mr. Block, welcome to the 2014 governor's race.

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1. Can he handle the hot lights?


The one thing about being the third or fourth candidate in a race is people remember the smart things you said, but don't pay much attention to the dumb things you said. Heck, you really didn't have a real chance to win so the assessment is not very stringent.


This time will be different. He needs to run not one but two nearly flawless races to be the next Governor of Rhode Island. His effort in 2010 will help him, but this time he has a real chance to win and the stakes are much higher


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Ken Block... lol... give me a break.
This guy isn't a "career politician" because he continuously loses elections. Just a "career ego maniac" or a "career loser" I guess... seems the Block campaign is all about attacks. What ever numb skull is running his campaign needs to wake up.

Comment #1 by Rhodey Rhodes on 2014 03 25

Democrats = Corruption 100%

Comment #2 by llik amabo on 2014 03 25

@Rhody Rhodes: Being a "numb skull" could be due to all his altercations at the bars...good thing he had Harwood as his attorney.....Remember this headline ? "Club owners want former lobbyist Britt banned for good" .. ?

Comment #3 by Right InRI on 2014 03 25

So just let me get this right. After months of hearing Mayor Fung throw Ken Block under as bus on his presidential vote, and then hearing the Mayor personally insult him by calling him a bag of hot air on WPRO, and then watching his staff and supporters insult him at every turn on these posts, you have the nerve to call Ken Blocks points about Fung's tax record and donation record to Gordon Fox an attack?

For months the Fung campaign has been constantly attacking an have even attacked individuals who have come out and endorsed Ken Block in some of the very pages of the website!

Now you decide to also attack a campaign staffer who is not an elected official or someone seeking office?

I will continue to let your actions speak for you.

Comment #4 by Reagan Republican on 2014 03 26

Look, just about anyone who understands Rouges Island politics understands how powerful the Speaker is. If you are an elected official from an entity which interacts with state government, (just about aLL, I'd say right down to the most obscure water district) you gotta deal with the GA, and FOX was running it. Block's whining is absurd. If anything, it shows he is out of touch with how the system works. I suspect putting him in the Governor's seat would produce an extended period of Flob Dobbing while the guy figured out how stuff gets done.
Block, your finger pointing campaign hacks will insure your NON-election. We want some IDEAS, not Na na na naaaaaa na. Grow UP.

Comment #5 by G Godot on 2014 04 02

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