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RI 2014 Governor’s Race Weekly Scorecard - March 12

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Each week GoLocal's reporters, editors and MINDSETTERS™ review and grade the candidates, policy statements, their media, and the campaign activities for each of the five major likely candidates for Governor of Rhode Island: Gina Raimondo (D), Angel Taveras (D), Allan Fung (R), Ken Block (R) and Clay Pell (D).


Allan Fung

Call quiet on the Western Cranston front. Fung may be waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop regarding the State Police investigation into the Cranston Police Department. If Ticketgate just proves to be incompetence, then Fung continues to be viable for the GOP Governor's race. But, if the State Police come back and tie Fung to the illegal tickets, then say good night.



Gina Raimondo

Raimondo presented her jobs program this week. A clear departure from her recent ongoing imitation of Giada De Laurentiis - the Food Network Queen.

Her focus on job creation matched Ken Block's efforts to focus the campaign on economic recovery and job creation. Raimondo scores points for shifting the debate from the frivolous to the substantive. Hopefully, we will never have to see another pathetic recipe or twitter photo of a night out bowling.

The pathetic consultant-driven effort to reposition a Rhode Scholar to "a Mommy" seems demeaning to Raimondo's track record and tone deaf to Rhode Islanders who seek someone smart with ideas on how to rebuild the Rhode Island economy. Moms are great. Raimondo can clearly be a mother and a leader - fire the consultant and define leadership.



Ken Block

Block fired back at the Raimondo and Taveras job programs for their lack of substance. "The only way to fix Rhode Island’s economy is to address our terrible economic climate. Treasurer Raimondo’s and Mayor Taveras’ plans are more big government business as usual – they include repackaged ideas that grow government, but do nothing to address the most significant barriers to job creation in Rhode Island." Block continues to work to differentiate his campaign as the only one with the independence and expertise to create jobs.




 Angel Taveras

Another rough week for the Providence Mayor. The Mayor of the Capital City continues to raise questions about his leadership - for every pothole their is a question about his ability to execute as a chief executive - "If you can't fill a pothole can you run a state?"

Raimondo has an advantage in money and now a growing lead in competence.





Clay Pell

The 32-year-old millionaire's slide continues. His inability to find his car in December raises serious questions about whether he should be let out alone, let alone be Governor of a state. The two-time missing Prius has become the butt of all jokes in Rhode Island.

Pell needs to turn this campaign around quickly or he will be marginalized. This could get ugly.

He has a million dollars and a great wife.

He forgot to vote (a lot) and can't find his car.



Related Slideshow: Taveras’ Staff Revolving Door

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J.R. Pagliarini

Role: Chief of Staff; Senior Executive Advisor

Left: December 18, 2012

Pagliarini served as Taveras' Chief of Staff before transitioning to Senior Executive Advisor. He left the Mayor's staff to accept a position at the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

See more of GoLocal's coverage of Pagliarini's resignation here. 

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Michael Raia

Role: Communications Director

Left: December 17, 2012

Just before Pagliarini's departure, Michael Raia resigned as Taveras' Director of Communications. Raia left to assume the position of director of media relations and marketing for WGBH, the Boston-based public broadcasting station.

See more from GoLocalProv on Raia's departure here.

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Arianne Lynch

Role: Deputy Chief of Staff

Left: November 30, 2013

Lynch tendered her resignation in October 2013, after she served as spokeswoman for Taveras' transition team during the interim between his election and inauguration. Lynch began her work with Taveras during his mayoral campaign. Previous to her recent work in city politics, Lynch was a managing director at the lobbying and PR firm Advocacy Solutions.

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Melissa Withers

Role: Communications Director

Left: September 10, 2011

Melissa Withers was one of Taveras' earliest appointments, as communications director in December 2010. A former director of communications for the RI Economic Development Corporation, Withers resigned only nine months into her tenure.

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Matt Jerzyk

Role: Deputy City Solicitor, Director of Policy and Municipal Affairs, Director of Government Relations and Senior Counsel to the Mayor

Left: January, 2014

Jerzyk resigned his position along with colleague Arianne Lynch in October of 2013, staying on at City Hall until the year's end. Jerzyk was a key staff member during Taveras' successful mayoral run, and was soon appointed as part of the mayoral staff. Jerzyk is currently consulting for The Hamilton Group, which is consulting with mayoral candidate Michael Solomon. 

Editor's Note: Matt Jerzyk used to write GoLocalProv's Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Rhode Island Politics column. 

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Will Farrell

Role: City Council and Statehouse Relations

Left: January 31, 2014

Farrell, a key staffer, was charged with wrangling with the City Council on behalf of the Taveras Administration. Farrell said that he departed to "pursue other opportunities in government relations," though he voiced his "strong support" for Taveras' ongoing gubernatorial effort.

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Angela Romans

Role: Senior Education Advisor

Left: May 20, 2013

Romans, who once took the helm of the Taveras administration's school policy, assumed a new role in May of last year when she joined the Annenberg Institute for Social Reform at Brown University. Romans joined AISR’s District Redesign & Leadership (DR&L) as a principal associate. She had worked 11 years at Brown as Associate Director of Admission.

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Peter Baptista

Role: Finance Director

Left: November 15, 2013

Soon after resigning his position as Finance Director, for Taveras' gubernatorial campaign, Peter Baptista has signed on with The Hamilton Group, a Democratic consulting organization that he helped to found before joining the Providence mayor's staff. The Hamilton Group has signed on to work with mayoral hopeful Michael Solomon

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Liz White

Role: Deputy Director of Communications & Media Relations

Left: February 2014

White is the latest in the Taveras adminstration's string of outgoing staffers. Her resignation was confirmed Thursday, February 27th, adding to the long list of political talent who have departed from City Hall since last winter began.

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Mike D'Amico

Role: Chief of Staff

Left: February, 2014

Considered the Mayor's alter ego and de facto Deputy Mayor, the loss of D'Amico may mean more than change in the top spot. It could mean a dramatic shift in strategy, a yet unannounced decision to halt the run for Governor and try and stay in City Hall or Taveras could pull a Patrick Lynch and not run for Governor and take his campaign money and go back to private practice.

Read D'Amico's bio


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