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NEW: RI GOP Names Vargas Director of Strategic Initiatives

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

 

The Rhode Island Republican Party has named Luis A. Vargas its new Director of Strategic Initiatives.

Vargas will be charged with spearheading the state GOP's new initiative, "Oportunidad para Todos," aimed at reaching out to Rhode Island's Hispanic population. As the number of Hispanic voters on the ascendency both regionally and nationwide, the GOP attempts to find ways to understand and improve their showing with this growing voting block.

"Previous elections have underscored that the Latino electorate is growing, and winning elections requires us to complete for every voter, often in places where we haven't been in a long time," said Vargas. "The Republican Party is long overdue for a resurgence in the Ocean State, and I am happy to be part of the team that's going to make a difference. For far too long, Democrats have taken Hispanics for granted, and it's time voters know that they can have a seat at the table."

Vargas is currently completing a degree in Legal Studies and Political Science at Roger Williams University and will begin law school this coming fall. He is an 18 year Rhode Island resident after moving to the state from his native Puerto Rico.

"I am pleased to welcome Luis to the Rhode Island GOP," said RIGOP Executive Director Robert Paquin III. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and insight that will ensure Republicans at the state, local and neighborhood levels are building new relationships in the Latino community."  

 

Related Slideshow: Ken Block—Timeline

Former gubernatorial candidate and Moderate Party head Ken Block has announced his intentions to run again in 2014.  Here is a timeline of his professional and political background.  

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Early Years

 

Block was born in 1965 and grew up in Milford, CT as the oldest of three children.  He graduated from high school in 1983 and attended Dartmouth College, earning a BA in Computer Science in 1987.  

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Career Beginnings

 

Block began his career writing software for Wall Street trading desks.  He went on to Bank of New England in Boston, and then to job at a small software consultancy in the Boston area. 

In 1991, Block began work in Rhode Island on a one year consulting job with GTECH Corporation, and by 1992 took a full time position at the company.  Block left GTECH in 1997 to form Kinetic Consulting and after the dot-com bust he formed Simpatico Software.

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Moderate Party Formation

The beginnings of the Moderate Party of Rhode Island were started in 2008, when a website was established and candidates were endorsed in the general election.  

The Moderate Party faced several legal hurdles however seeking official recognition by the state.  The party filed a lawsuit against the state in February of 2009 to be able to gain official party stauts, and a US District Judge ruled ultimately in the Moderate Party's favor in May 2009.  

Over 33,000 signatures were collected ultimately validating the party, and placing it on the 2010 ballot.  

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2010 Election

Running as the Moderate Party candidate, Ken Block finished 4th in the statewide general election with 6.5% of the vote -- 22,146 in total.

Governor Lincoln Chafee won with 36.1 percent (123,571 votes); Republican John Robitaille took 33.6% (114,911 votes), and Democrat Frank Caprio 23% (78,896). 

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Political Presence

Following the 2010 election, Block continued to push for political change in the state, undertaking the Rhode Island Health and Human Services Waste and Fraud Report, with the preliminary findings submitted earlier this year.  

Block has spoken out on such issues as abolishing the master lever, opposing payments to bondholders on 38 Studios, among others.  Block also served as President of RI Taxpayers.  

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2014 Governor's Race

Block announced his candidacy for the 2014 Rhode Island Governor's race earlier this year in May.  

 
 

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