Saying overhaul needed, Fogarty to run for governor
The lieutenant governor, who must leave office due to term limits, becomes the first challenger to Governor Carcieri this election season.
01:00 AM EST on Tuesday, March 7, 2006
BY SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
Journal State House Bureau
JOHNSTON -- Saying that he will bring results, not just rhetoric, Lt. Gov. Charles J. Fogarty last night started his campaign to unseat Donald L. Carcieri as governor.
In a speech that quickly took the offensive, Democrat Fogarty repeatedly attacked the Republican governor whom he said had failed to follow through on his promises.
"For Governor Carcieri, good jobs and a growing economy have been nothing but talking points," Fogarty said. "Four years ago, he told us he was a corporate executive who would deliver on both, but he has delivered on neither."
Fogarty told the packed crowd at Lombardi's 1025 Club that during Carcieri's four years in office, the state has lost 6,200 manufacturing jobs and now has the highest unemployment rate in New England.
(The state, however, does have 11,600 more overall jobs since Carcieri took office, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.)
"And even those struggling to hold on to their jobs haven't gotten any help from Don Carcieri," Fogarty said, noting that the governor last year vetoed a minimum-wage hike, and this year let it become law without his signature.
He continued to attack Carcieri for plans to close Registry of Motor Vehicles offices and for reducing the budget for Meals on Wheels and day programs for the developmentally disabled.
Reading from teleprompters, Fogarty said the state is relying too much on money from gambling and that he would find efficiencies, cut spending on "high-priced" consultants and by eliminating "programs that are not getting results instead of those that do."
Fogarty, 50, must leave the lieutenant governor's office because of term limits. He was elected in 1998, ousting Republican Bernard A. Jackvony. Before that, Fogarty served as a state senator for eight years. His brother Paul W. Fogarty took over the Senate seat and still holds it today.
With yesterday's announcement, Fogarty becomes the only challenger to Carcieri so far this election season.
The lieutenant governor was introduced to the crowd of supporters and the state's Democratic leaders by his 17-year-old nephew, Patrick Fogarty.
"Some people say my uncle Charlie is not exciting enough to be governor," Patrick Fogarty said. "This is not true because I am old enough to know who [former Gov.] Lincoln Almond is."
Among those present last night were former U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, several members of the General Assembly and Bruce G. Sundlun, the state's last Democrat governor, who served from 1991 to 1995.
Fogarty is a Glocester native who has essentially spent his entire career in public service. He started as a policy aide to Gov. J. Joseph Garrahy and worked for Roger N. Begin, when the Woonsocket Democrat was general treasurer and lieutenant governor. While working for Begin, he served on the Glocester Town Council, until his election in 1990 to the Senate. That victory forced him to quit his state job with Begin for an elected post that then paid $300 a year. He did some communications consulting on the side.
His late father was a state senator and director of the Rhode Island Small Business Administration. He is the nephew of the late U.S. Rep. John E. Fogarty, who represented Rhode Island's 2nd Congressional District for more than 25 years.
Fogarty -- a man who spent his entire life in Rhode Island's political world -- spent a good part of his speech last night attacking the system for being filled with corruption.
"We will no longer watch insiders play the system for their own benefit, while disregarding the needs and interests of the people. Special interests are immune from accountability, while health care is becoming a luxury even for the middle class," Fogarty said. "Public education is neglected, while private deals are made. Thousands of good-paying jobs are lost while backroom deals continue and lobbyists flourish."
(There were several prominent lobbyists at Fogarty's kick-off event last night.)
Fogarty pledged to make Rhode Island "this country's leader for clean, honest, effective government."
He plans to call for term limits in the General Assembly -- where he served for eight years -- saying it would eliminate the ability of officials "to build backroom networks for their own gain."
Other proposals include requiring the disclosure of every meeting between public officials and lobbyists, requiring candidates, elected officials and key staff to disclose their personal assets and any outside sources of income and extending the length of time that officials must wait before working for businesses that are regulated or controlled by the state.
"When I see Rhode Island still under the cloud of corruption, when I see the confidence of our people shattered, I know it's time for a fundamental change in the way our state does business," Fogarty said. "It is a great honor to hold public office and our elected officials must start treating it that way."