The Scoop: Laffey Says Fung Wanted to Run as a Democrat

Thursday, November 14, 2013


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

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Fung Sought to Run for City Council as a Democrat

Republican Mayor of Cranston and current gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung once considered running for Cranston City Council as a Democrat, former Republican Mayor of Cranston Stephen Laffey told GoLocal.

According to Laffey, Fung went to the Cranston Democratic Committee in 2002 to express interest in running for City Council, but was told by City Democrats that they were not interested in him as a candidate.

Laffey told GoLocal that Fung then went to his office where the former mayor encouraged Fung to run as a Republican. Subsequently, Fung was elected to the Cranston City Council as a Republican in 2003 and served as a city-wide Councilman until 2007.

Fung, who had mentioned his switch from the Democrats to the Republicans on WPRI's Newsmakers this past weekend, said that the former had no room for him, and he switched parties in part for aligning on fiscal matters.

In the same appearance, Fung criticized his gubernatorial opponent Ken Block for his support of Democrats like President Barack Obama and Governor Lincoln Chafee.

GoLocal reached out to Fung’s campaign consultant Patrick Sweeney for comment, but our requests were not returned.

Democratic Donations

Earlier this month, GoLocal first reported that Fung has donated money to some of the most prominent Democrats in the state, including David Cicilline, Gordon Fox, and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. In fact, Fung donated $1,000 to Taveras during the 2010 Providence Mayoral Race while Republican Daniel Harrop was still a candidate.

2014 Race for Governor

Fung, who announced his candidacy for governor last week, will square off against former Moderate Party gubernatorial candidate Block in next September’s Republican Primary. According to GoLocal's ongoing "GOP Governor Nominee: Block or Fung" poll, Fung has received 2,611 votes compared to 1,877 for Block. Click here if you would like to cast your vote.

On the Democratic side, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, who announced his candidacy last month, is currently the only major candidate to join the race. General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who brought in Cicilline’s former campaign manager Eric Hyers on Wednesday, is expected to announce her candidacy by the end of the year.

GoLocal first reported last month that Clay Pell, grandson of the late six-term Senator Claiborne Pell, is also considering entering the race. Todd Giroux, who ran as an Independent in 2010, announced last month that he’d run as a Democrat in 2014.

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Related Slideshow: More “Scoops” for Thursday, Nov. 14

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Whitehouse's Hospital Bil

Senate Passes Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education Bill, which includes a provision by Sen. Whitehouse.

The United States Senate has unanimously approved the Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013, which includes a provision authored by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse that extends the program to children’s psychiatric hospitals like Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island. If this bill is signed into law, children’s psychiatric hospitals will be eligible for the same CHGME funding that general hospitals have benefitted from for years.  

Senators Whitehouse and Jack Reed (D-RI), original cosponsors of the legislation, have advocated for the inclusion of Bradley and other children’s psychiatric hospitals in the Children’s Hospitals GME payment program. According to the Senators, this would help address the shortfall in mental health professionals that specialize in treating children and adolescents. Senator Whitehouse's provision accomplishes this.

“We must support medical training programs that teach new health professionals how to treat children's mental and behavioral health conditions, not just physical ones," said Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “My provision will include children’s psychiatric hospitals in the CHGME program, so these hospitals can build and sustain their residency programs.  I was pleased the Senate acted in a bipartisan manner to pass the CHGME bill with this provision included, and I urge the House to act quickly to do the same.”

The Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013 will reauthorize the Children’s Hospitals GME (CHGME) Payment Program for five years at $300 million per year.  The bill authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use a portion of CHGME funds appropriated above $245 million for “qualified hospitals” that meet the requirements of the program but for technical reasons did not previously qualify.

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Fung's New Hires

Fung beefs up gubernatorial campaign staff.

Mayor Allan Fung has announced the addition of three new consultants to his gubernatorial campaign staff— Robert Coupe, Esq., Kyle Regan and Paula Smith.

"I'm very excited to bring Rob, Kyle and Paula onto Team Fung. All three share the vision of a better Rhode Island. I know they will do a great job. I feel privileged to have them on our team."

Coupe, who is experienced in Rhode Island politics, will be focusing on political operations. Coupe is a business attorney and political consultant with more than twenty years of experience managing and advising state and federal campaigns in Rhode Island. He was a policy advisor and spokesman for the late U.S. Senator John Chafee. Most recently serving as a strategic political consultant to the Doherty for Congress Campaign.

Regan will be focusing on multimedia, field and volunteer operations. Regan has an Associate’s Degree in Television and Radio Production and has been working in all aspects of media for almost a decade. Last cycle, Kyle was the Director of Multimedia for the Hinckley for US Senate.

Smith will be focusing on fundraising operations. Most recently, she worked for Junior Achievement of Rhode Island and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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Artist Wanted

State seeks artists to paint official Chafee portrait.

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts has issued a call for artists interested in being considered for a commission of up to $15,000.00 to produce an oil painting as the official portrait of Governor Lincoln D. Chafee.

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, a state agency, is managing the process on behalf of the Portrait Commission and is gathering digital images representing the work of professional portrait artists for consideration of the Governor.

Chafee will choose an artist from among these submissions, and a commission will be offered for an official portrait. The chosen artist will be required to work with and receive direction from the Governor regarding certain aspects of this commission, and work with the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission with respect to framing of the finished portrait.

Artists interested in being considered for the commission should visit the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts web site at for more information and a link to an online application. Applications will be submitted through, a web-based artist application process. Artists will be asked to submit a resume and upload no less than six and no more than ten digital images of previously commissioned work. Interested artists have until Friday, January 10, 2014 to submit samples of their work through the online system. 

Online applications must be submitted on or before Friday, January 10, 2014. We anticipate that a decision will be made by no later than April 2014.

For further information please contact Randall Rosenbaum via email.


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