Fecteau: Cicilline’s Republican Challenger

Monday, August 28, 2017


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Russell Taub

Former Republican Congressional candidate Russell Taub misses the mark in a recent GoLocalProv article ridiculing Congressman David Cicilline. Mr. Taub contends Mr. Cicilline is failing his constituents by not being the “self-styled Jewish Voice of Rhode Island” as Mr. Cicilline supposedly proclaims (never heard of that before). Mr. Taub cites Mr. Cicilline’s lack of support for a bill unknown to most Rhode Island voters as evidence, and only briefly mentions Cicilline’s lack of legislative accomplishment (a valid criticism).

This is typical for Republicans in Rhode Island, exploit a minuscule, obscure issue and say the Democrats – especially the Democratic federal delegation -- are failing the state. Last I checked, it was a group effort. Republicans have failed to offer a viable alternative with actual positions; something Rhode Island voters can see right through. Then, many of the conservatives let us know how stupid Rhode Islanders are for voting Democrats back in office through social media of course.

I specifically asked Mr. Taub via social media what his platform was, but he has yet to get back to me. I have a feeling it is entitled Republican syndrome setting in. Mr. Taub surrounds himself with far right conservatives who simply tell him how great he is for taking on Cicilline, and he starts to believe he is something special. The truth is that these people only reinforces his vanity, and does little more. When someone asks Mr. Taub a basic question, he just doesn’t answer because he is far superior to little people such as yours truly.

If you cannot even explain your platform, what is the point of voting for you? What Mr. Taub and Cicilline’s other Republican challengers such as Mr. John Loughlin do is simply put together a boilerplate, generic platform that spells out nothing, put up a couple lawns signs, send out some cheesy mailers, and then hope to skate by blaming everything on the Democrats (not exactly a recipe for success). Their campaign slogan going forward should simply be: I am not Cicilline, vote for me.

I would have preferred to hear Mr. Taub explain his stance on the issues, and how he differs from Republican leadership. The U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan champions cuts to Medicare and Medicaid – something that is anathema to senior citizens. Does Mr. Taub as well? If Mr. Taub truly wants free market solutions (as other Republicans proudly espouse), he must support privatizing Social Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs – a non-starter in a veteran friendly state.

Republicans like Mr. Taub must support the likes of President Donald J. Trump. However, Mr. Trump's behavior is far more egregious than Mr. Cicilline's, yet no condemnation. Mr. Trump has attacked everyone from women to Mexicans, and also incited violence at his rallies. Mr. Trump has attempted to strip upwards of 23 million people of their healthcare and is fixated on a silly wall to keep Mexican "rapists" out (as Mr. Trump calls them). Yet, there is no condemnation for Mr. Trump’s behavior from the likes of Mr. Taub; why?

Why should Mr. Cicilline debate Mr. Taub (as he complained about the last election)? I wouldn’t debate him either if I was Mr. Cicilline. Mr. Taub has no sincere platform that we know of, and cannot answer basic questions. I am not Mr. Cicilline however, and would absolutely love to discuss Mr. Taub’s platform in any arena just to understand his position as a potential candidate. Maybe Mr. Taub would surprise me or disappointment, but regardless, Mr. Taub needs to start giving Rhode Islanders a straight talk minus the extra drama.


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Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is an M.P.A. candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and an Iraq War veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau 


Related Slideshow: RI Democrats React to Trump’s Budget - 2017

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Gina Raimondo 

RI Governor 

"Rhode Island is making strong progress to provide our people with the education and job training they need to be successful and to expand access to affordable, quality health care to virtually everyone in our state. 

President Trump's budget betrays Rhode Islanders by giving huge tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans while drastically reducing federal funding for vital programs that create jobs, raise wages, and protect low-income Americans. 

Even as we analyze President Trump's budget in the coming days to determine its specific impacts on Rhode Island, I appreciate the members of Rhode Island's Congressional Delegation for their leadership and advocacy, and I join them in calling on their colleagues in Washington, D.C. to stop the Trump administration from making massive cuts to health care, public schools, affordable housing, and other programs that Rhode Islanders rely upon."

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Jim Langevin 

U.S. Congressman

“In March, President Trump released a budget outline that I strongly condemned for its drastic cuts to programs that help everyday Americans. Unfortunately, the President’s full budget proposal continues these harmful policies by gutting programs that invest in our economy, create jobs and provide crucial assistance to families across the country. 

This proposal slashes funding for education, food assistance and health care for low-income seniors, children and people with disabilities. It makes cuts to worker training, environmental protection, and investments in medical research and advanced manufacturing. These are not mere luxuries, but programs that make meaningful differences in the lives of Rhode Islanders. 

Congress must reject this cynical and misguided budget. Instead, we should work together in a bipartisan manner, as we did on the recently passed 2017 funding bill, to find a balanced approach to funding priorities that will support families, promote economic growth and provide for our national security.”  

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David Cicilline

U.S. Congressman

“If a budget is a statement of your priorities and values, then Donald Trump’s budget shows he doesn’t understand the challenges facing honest, hardworking Rhode Islanders. This is a budget written by the wealthiest Americans for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans. But it’s a setback for the middle class. It makes life harder for anyone who’s trying to punch a ticket to the middle class.”

Donald Trump has already proposed a huge tax cut for billionaires. But the budget he released today says everyone else is on their own. This budget eliminates hundreds of millions of dollars for job creation. It zeroes out funding for workforce training and good-paying manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island. And it makes it even harder for young people to succeed by cutting teacher training, eliminating afterschool funding, and making it harder to pay off student loans.”

This budget does nothing to address Rhode Island’s crumbling infrastructure. It eliminates the TIGER grant program, which is critical to supporting local infrastructure projects like the new commuter rail station in Pawtucket. And it cuts funding for public transit by $928 million.”

And most worrisome of all, this budget makes our towns and cities less safe. It actually cuts funding for firefighters. It cuts billions from the EPA and other resources to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe. And it slashes $978 million from the Army Corps of Engineers – meaning Rhode Island will be less prepared for hurricanes and have fewer resources to protect the quality of our waterways.”

Plain and simple, this is not a budget that any Member of Congress should be comfortable supporting. Along with my colleagues in the House Democratic Leadership, I will do everything I can to reverse these devastating cuts and shape a budget that invests in the future of our country and puts honest, hardworking families first.”

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Sheldon Whitehouse 

U.S. Senator

“This budget is reckless, plain and simple. The President proposes massive cuts to Medicaid, breaking yet another campaign promise. He seeks to decimate the federal government’s central command in the battle against the opioid crisis affecting communities from Burrillville to Westerly. He pursues tens of billions of dollars in cuts to student loans and loan forgiveness programs.

His plan would slash funding for research into life-saving cures; lay waste to endowments that support Rhode Island’s world-class cultural institutions; hamstring the EPA so big polluters can poison our air and water; and weaken NOAA, sapping critical resources for coastal economies like Rhode Island’s. The list goes on.

These senseless, irresponsible choices serve one purpose: to pave the way for tax cuts for the very wealthiest.  The good news is that this extremist proposal will go nowhere in the Senate. I look forward to moving past this political stunt of a budget and working on one the American people will support.”

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Jack Reed 

U.S. Senator

“President Trump’s budget is bad news for Rhode Island because it weakens our economy and places new burdens on families, businesses, and communities across the country. 

The Trump budget takes a less is more approach: less investment in education, health care, transportation and safety for the general public and more pollution, outsourcing jobs overseas, and tax breaks for the wealthy and well-connected.

This irresponsible budget would be a real setback for middle-class families and seniors in particular.  The $800 billion in Medicaid cuts could cause over 10 million low-income Americans to lose their health coverage.  If this budget were enacted, more elderly Americans could be forced to go from assisted living to living on the streets.  That is immoral and ill-advised.

The Trump cuts also threaten federal funding for public education, medical research, job training and economic development. These cuts are counterproductive and won’t achieve real cost-savings.  In fact, they would impede economic growth.

Families with limited incomes who are trying to make ends meet get hit hardest by the Trump budget.  It takes food, health care, and retirement security away from children, seniors, and people with disabilities while adding funds for an ineffective border wall and tax cuts for millionaires.  It eliminates the LIHEAP energy assistance program, Community Development Block Grants, and many other critical, cost-effective programs that have a positive impact on Rhode Island. 

While our military deserves to be well-funded, cutting diplomacy and foreign aid won’t help prevent war.  These are the wrong priorities for America and don’t reflect our core values.

I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight these disastrous cuts and enact a more balanced, fiscally responsible budget that focuses on job creation and strengthening the middle-class.”


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