poll: Should the Attorney General Investigate Ken Block’s Claims?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


View Larger +

In one of the first salvos of the 2014 campaign for Governor, GOP candidate Ken Block took aim at the decision-making process of the Chafee Administration and their efforts to relocate the Parole Board office in downtown Providence. As GoLocal first reported, Angus Davis, the activist CEO of Swipely came out in opposition of the office being relocated to 40 Fountain Street two week's ago. Davis made serious charges about the motivation and the process to move the Parole Board.

Block held a high profile press conference on Tuesday calling on the Attorney General Office to investigate the process as well as the record of the State Properties Committee. Late yesterday, the Attorney General's office told GoLocalProv, "The Office has received the complaint. It is the policy of this office not to comment on the validity of a complaint until such time as it is properly vetted and investigated. Once the investigation and review is complete, the Office will make its determination through the release of a finding to the parties involved."

Properties Committee Responds

Block raises a series of issues about the decision of the Properties Committee. Late Tuesday, the State Properties Committee issued the following statement:

“A plan is in place to catch up with the missing minutes for the State Properties Committee meetings. We regret that due to the fact the Committee is extremely short staffed, the minutes were not filed in a more timely manner. The State Properties Committee hired court reporters earlier this year to transcribe the minutes from digital recordings. Department of Administration staff members are in the process of finalizing the minutes, and a plan is in place to upload these minutes to the Secretary of State's website as soon as possible.

“Transparency is a top priority for this administration and we regret that these minutes were not filed in a more timely manner,” said Executive Director Ronald N. Renaud, Department of Administration.

Davis' Charges

Previously, Davis, the CEO of one of Rhode Island's fastest growing companies, charged that the decision of the State Properties Committee was a political decision. 

Davis wrote in the letter to Chafee:

Your administration's proposal to move the Department of Corrections parole and
probation offices to a new downtown location is deeply concerning. Despite the fact
this will triple costs to taxpayers, it is a terrible idea to attract violent offenders to a
downtown location for their meetings with parole and probation officers.
My company, Swipely, was recently named by Inc. Magazine as the fastest growing
technology company in RI and the third largest private job creator in our state.

Davis concludes with:

I don't expect state government to help my business succeed, but I at least ask it to
do minimal harm. This decision by your department of administration is bad for
tourism, bad for the growth of Providence's economy, and dangerous to my
employees who must walk through this high-crime area every day and night.
We cannot reduce crime and violence in downtown Providence by turning it into a
government-mandated criminal convention center - please put a stop to this
misguided proposal immediately.


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

View Larger +
Prev Next

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.

View Larger +
Prev Next

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.

View Larger +
Prev Next

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.

View Larger +
Prev Next

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.

View Larger +
Prev Next

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.

View Larger +
Prev Next

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?

View Larger +
Prev Next

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.

View Larger +
Prev Next

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.

View Larger +
Prev Next

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.

View Larger +
Prev Next

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


Enjoy this post? Share it with others.


Sign Up for the Daily Eblast

I want to follow on Twitter

I want to Like on Facebook

Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox