Connect with us

Politics & Elections

First gubernatorial debate of 2018 missing some candidates

Published

on

There were no winners or losers in last night’s gubernatorial candidate debate. Instead, it was a “get to know you” event in which the four candidates who showed up got to introduce themselves to the pubic. Four of the ten announced candidates for governor of Rhode Island, including Spencer Dickinson (Democrat), Giovanni Feroce (Republican), Bill Gilbert (Moderate) and Paul Roselli (Democrat) showed up at the Sheraton Providence Airport Hotel conference center in Warwick. Five of the announced candidates for governor declined to attend, including Matt Brown (Independent), Luis-Daniel Munoz (Independent), Allan Fung (Republican), Patricia Morgan (Republican) and incumbent Gina Raimondo (Democrat).

In a weird bit of political thinking, Joseph Trillo, a former Republican State representative now running as an Independent, sent a truck to sit in the parking lot of the Sheraton Hotel. The Moderate Party’s Bill Gilbert organized the event. In an announcement for the the debate he wrote, “Trillo’s campaign has confirmed attendance at the March debate, subject to Allan Fung’s confirmation. We are excited that Mr Trillo is agreeable to attend and disappointed that someone who is asking for a leadership position is following a man who he wants to best.”

The candidates tackled issues such as school repair, school safety, the Burrillville power plant and Rhode Island’s energy needs. There was a lot of talk about the qualities necessary to be a good governor, with Feroce saying the state needs a leader while others made the case for being good managers, or at least hiring good managers.

Dickinson, a former state representative, spoke about being an early adapter in the field of renewable energy, claiming to have built the first solar panel in Rhode Island. Feroce, formerly CEO of Alex & Ani, revealed himself to be a blockchain utopian, and talked about the potential of the emerging computer technology to change the world (and Rhode Island). Roselli, best known for his environmental activism and opposition to the $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant aimed at the pristine forests of northwest Rhode Island, was the only candidate to talk about the fact that all four candidates on stage were older white men. Roselli hoped to broaden the discussion to include those not represented. Gilbert argued with Roselli about nationalizing the electric grid, saying that he is opposed to expanding government and nationalizing private industry. Roselli’s nuanced response was lost in the chatter.


Can you help us?

Funding for our reporting relies on the generosity of readers like you. Our independence allows us to write stories that hold RI state and local government officials accountable. All of our stories are free and available to everyone. But your support is essential to keeping Steve and Will on the beat, covering the costs of reporting many stories in a single day. If you are able to, please support Uprise RI. Every contribution, big or small is so valuable to us. You provide the motivation and financial support to keep doing what we do. Thank you.

Become a Patron!
Opens in a new tab - you won't lose you place

The event was moderated by WJAR reporter Bill Rappleye and just over 40 people were in attendance.

Below is the full two-hour debate:


UpriseRI is entirely supported by donations and advertising. Every little bit helps:

Become a Patron!