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The Scoop: Fung Emboldened by Position in Brown Poll

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


Welcome to The Scoop, the 4 p.m. report on everything politics in Rhode Island – the inside daily report exclusively on GoLocalProv.com.

Fung Reacts to Brown University Gubernatorial Poll

Likely gubernatorial candidate Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (Republican) says he's encouraged with a gubernatorial poll released today by Brown University, which shows him trailing Providence Mayor Angel Taveras by about 7 percentage points in a hypothetical matchup, and behind General Treasurer Gina Raimondo by less than 2 percentage points.

Fung’s Reaction

"Though Mayor Fung is still in the process of exploring a potential run for governor, the Brown poll shows he is in a very strong position for being 14 months out," said Patrick Sweeney, a consultant for Fung and former director of the Rhode Island Republican Party. "It is abundantly clear that the people of Rhode Island believe that we are going in the wrong direction due to our poor economy conditions and opportunities. We need a proven leader with the executive experience to lead Rhode Island into better times. Given Rhode Island's history of electing Republican governors, there is no question that when people get to know Mayor Fung, learn the great things he has done for Cranston, and listen to his vision for RI, our numbers will strengthen."

The Data

In a matchup between Taveras and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, 41.5 percent of Rhode Island voters say they would vote for Taveras, 32.9 percent for Fung, with 25.6 percent undecided. In a potential race between Raimondo and Fung, Raimondo has a slight lead, 37.6 percent, to Fung’s 35.9 percent, with 26.5 percent undecided.

When asked about a potential general election for governor including Ken Block, Fung, Raimondo, and Taveras, Raimondo leads with 27.3 percent, while 20.7 percent of voters say they would vote for Taveras, 19.0 percent for Fung, and 9.0 percent for Block. When considering this potential field of candidates, nearly a quarter of voters (24.0 percent) are undecided.


Researchers at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions and the John Hazen White Public Opinion Laboratory at Brown University surveyed a random sample of 638 Rhode Island voters Oct. 2–5, 2013. The poll has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent. The sample of likely Democratic primary voters was 433 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

See More Scoops Below

If you have a scoop for The Scoop, please email it to [email protected]

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Whitehouse Talks Shutdown

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says Tea Partiers need to drop their extremist demands and come to the negotiating table.

On this the ninth day of the federal government shutdown, GoLocal spoke to US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in order to examine where the talks between Democrats and Republicans stand, and how the looming federal default would affect Rhode Island. Here's what Whitehouse told GoLocal.

“As the government shutdown drags on and we hurtle needlessly toward a possible default, I hope Tea Party Republicans will drop their extreme demands. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are being hurt by this Tea Party shutdown, and a Tea-Party-driven default would be catastrophic for the global economy. Rhode Islanders can’t afford another economic crisis. My Democratic colleagues and I are ready to negotiate with Republicans on any issue any time, as soon as they release the hostages of a shut down U.S. government and a threatened U.S. default. Every Rhode Islander knows the difference between threats and good faith negotiations.” 

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Fisher v. Baldelli-Hunt

Former Woonsocket Mayoral candidate David Fisher says Lisa Baldelli-Hunt’s plan for Woonsocket defies logic.

Independent David Fisher, who finished third in yesterday’s primary election, says he’s surprised by Lisa Balldelli-Hunt’s landslide victory considering that her plan to fix Woonsocket is non-existent.

“As far as a plan for Woonsocket: If she has one, I haven't seen it,” Fisher told GoLocal. “Then again, she doesn't have a website or Facebook page, or any other open portal where people could be made privy to her supposed plan. She has made the vague promise of ‘creative and bold’ solutions to the crises in Woonsocket, and has uttered, ‘we need to’ and ‘I will’ more times than I can count, but has failed to get to the all-important, ‘how.’”

That said, Baldelli-Hunt has proposed a plan to turn the streetlights back on in Woonsocket by eliminating the position of Economic Development director, a position that she would take on herself.

According to Fisher, this proposal defies all logic. “So her ‘plan’ to send a message that Woonsocket is open for business is to eliminate the position that says just that, and adding another aspect to the mayoral duties, which already includes sitting on the Budget Commission, and acting as the city's Public Safety Director. How effective can one person be when they're doing the job of four people?” 

Fisher also told GoLocal that he doesn’t believe that incumbent Mayor Leo Fontaine has a solid plan to rebuild Woonsocket.

“In January, he reconstituted the Woonsocket Redevelopment Agency, and resurrected a decades old plan to revitalize a 30 acre parcel along the Blackstone, and at the same time attempt to revitalize the "gateways" to our community. While I think that these revitalization plans have some merit, I believe that revitalizing the city cannot happen from the outskirts in.

"We have to create a draw in the center of the city, and allow that to radiate outward. There is also not enough focus on returning commerce to our neighborhoods to make them more walkable and allowing our youth, elderly, disabled, and public transit dependent populations access to essential service and retail operations.”

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Mayoral Primary Recap

Lisa Baldelli-Hunt wins big in Tuesday's primary.

Democratic State Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt won a decisive victory over Republican incumbent Mayor Leo Fontaine in Tuesday’s primary election in Woonsocket beating him by a 3 to 1 ration. Baldelli-Hunt and Fontaine will now face off in the final election on Nov. 5.

The mayoral results were as follows:

  • Lisa Baldelli-Hunt: 2,746 votes
  • Leo Fontaine: 881 votes
  • David Fisher: 446 votes
  • Michael Moniz: 34 votes


Tuesday’s primary also trimmed the field for city council from 15 to 14. Al Brien earned the most votes in the primary, while City Council President John Ward finished 9th.

Despite earning enough to advance in the general election, Ward could lose his seat, because only the top seven candidates will be elected to the council.

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Center Criticizes SLRB

Center Criticizes State Labor Relations Board Decision to Dismiss Request.

The State Labor Relations Board (SLRB) has dismissed a request by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity to await a US Supreme Court decision about whether or not independent home care providers can be classified as a kind of public employee for the purpose of unionization.

The Center previously suggested that no election should be held for the certification of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to represent the providers until the Constitutionality of doing so is clarified.

"It is the epitome of irresponsibility to rush into this election without any public debate and legal analysis of how the Supreme Court's planned hearings, or the recent federal appeals court ruling, might affect plans here in our state. The highest court in the land has clearly signaled that there may be a constitutional issue with forced unionization", said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. "It would be totally unfair to child care providers to conduct an election under this cloud, only to find out in a few months that the entire process may soon be ruled as unconstitutional."

The letter of dismissal, SLRB Administrator Robyn Golden states that SLRB "policy" leaves the Center with no standing to make requests of the government board. She goes on to assert, "It is also not within the Board's statutory authority to act on your request or any requests of this nature."

"The Rhode Island taxpayer has every right to ask the SLRB to avoid lawsuits associated with potentially unconstitutional laws," said Stenhouse, "and the board has the authority to take that precaution."

Earlier this month, the Center published a report highlighting concerns that unionization may cause for taxpayers, service providers, and other independent business owners.

Prev Next

Tea Party on Unionization

RI Tea Party concerned over possible ramifications of unionization.

In light of the State Labor Relations Board's decision not to wait for the US Supreme Court to decide about whether or not independent home care providers can be classified as a kind of public employee for the purpose of unionization, Susan Wynne, President of the Rhode Island Tea Party issued GoLocalProv the following statement:

"This decision by the State Labor Relations Board brings up several questions: Why the rush? Where is the public debate? What about the child care providers who may later learn that this type of forced unionization is unconstitutional? Who is looking out for them? We are very concerned for these providers and fear that once unionization takes place that their individual rights may be restricted and promises made to them may not be fulfilled. And of course, we are very concerned that unionization will place a burden on the taxpayer as the unions look for ways to provide benefits to their new members."

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More Unionization Fallout

RI Taxpayers Disagrees with State Labor Board Decision to move forward with unionization vote.

The statewide taxpayer advocacy organization Rhode Island Taxpayers is questioning the State Labor Relations Board’s decision to reject a request by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity that the Board cancel a planned unionization vote by 650-plus home daycare providers.

“First of all, how can the Labor Board say that a group of taxpayers doesn’t have standing?” asked RI Taxpayers spokesperson Monique Chartier. “Taxpayers would fund the additional cost that would come with unionization!”

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear Harris v Quinn, the case which challenges the constitutionality of Illinois' law forcing the unionization of homecare providers.

"R.I. Taxpayers remains very concerned that the Supreme Court's ruling early next year may set the precedent for state laws, including especially Rhode Island's new law, pertaining to unionization of home and day care providers," said Chartier.  "What legal Pandora's Box will the Labor Board have opened if the Supreme Court rules that such a law does, indeed, violate the rights of free expression and association of homecare providers?"

Prev Next

Reed Backs Yellen

US Sen. Jack Reed Applauds President Obama’s nomination of Janet Yellen.

US Senator Jack Reed is celebrating President Barack Obama’s nomination of Janet Yellen as the next person to chair the Federal Reserve—making her the first woman to lead the central bank.

“I applaud President Obama for making this smart and historic nomination of Janet Yellen to lead the Fed,” said Reed. “She is a strong voice for promoting full employment and is supremely qualified for the job.  Ms. Yellen deserves to be confirmed with strong bipartisan support.”
Now that the President has nominated her, the Senate Banking Committee will consider Yellen’s nomination before being sent to the full U.S. Senate for a vote.
Current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's term is scheduled to end on January 31st.

Prev Next

SCJ O’Conner Visits RI

Sandra Day O’Connor visits two Rhode Island schools.

Earlier today, retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor appeared at Roger Williams University School of Law to partake in a discussion with Judge Bruce Selva of the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals.

After speaking to students at RWU, O’Connor headed to Providence’s Highlander Charter School, where she joined Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell to promote he iCivics initiative, which aims to improve civics education in schools.

Appointed by President Ronald Regan in 1981, O’Connor served in the US Supreme Court until her retirement in 2006. She was the first woman ever to be appointed to the Court.


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Let's see just how the Gubernatorial campaign unfolds. I for one am very willing to give Mayor Fung a serious look. He has done a solid job in Cranston, has not been afraid to address fiscal issues, and seems like a willing decision maker.

Comment #1 by Walter Miller on 2013 10 09

None of Rhode Island's pseudo conservatives, including Mr Fung would make it in Arizona politics, the right-wing rubes here demand a much higher level of CRAZY, and a lot more venomous hate speech. Like righties everywhere they do have a soft spot for convicted felons, so they might tolerate Buddy Cianci, since he has been promoted to Sean Hannity's conservative "Great American Panel"

Sammy in Arizona

Comment #2 by Sammy Arizona on 2013 10 09

Living in Cranston, I do like the Mayor and have voted for him. He is a good, decent man and will try to fix RI; however, it will be awfully hard for me as a female not to vote for Gina because she stood up to the unions. I am also a little nervous about what happened in Mayor Fung's party with raffling off the guns at an event where children were present. I heard Mr. Smily on the radio and I find him very simplistic and he really didn't listen when asked questions. I hope Mayor Fung runs away from those people in his party.

Comment #3 by Lisa Famigilietti on 2013 10 10

Whitehouse manages to cram "Tea Party" into nearly every breath in his statement.

While of course Sheldon "Spending Party" Whitehouse is happy to force Obamacare on the common people while he and his buddies keep their own nice healthcare plans.

He'll also be there to raise the debt ceiling rather keeping spending under the ceiling.

Thanks, Sheldon!

Comment #4 by Art West on 2013 10 10

The attack on Senator Whitehouse (for wanting to avoid default!) is out of place on thsi thread.
Alan Fung seems like a decent guy with a good record in Cranston, but its not just personal. I'd want to knw hs position on statewide issues such as economic development strategies, environmental protection, civil liberties, transportation, what to do about the health care exchanges, public higher education, energy policy, good government reforms such as abolishing the master lever and re-establishing Ethics Commission oversight on legislators... that Mayors have less to do with.
I also agree with concern over what his connection to the extremes in his party, the same kind of concern I have with Democratic candidate's connection to the insider-old-boy netowrk there. That's one reson I believe an independent candidate such as Ken Block is worth considering.

Comment #5 by barry schiller on 2013 10 11

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