Saying that he would put his “put my environmental record against this Governor’s any day,” Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, the Republican challenger to incumbent Democrat Gina Raimondo for Governor of Rhode Island, declared to the people of Burrillville, “I am opposed to that power plant. You deserve better. I will stand with you as Governor in this fight.”
Fung was referring of course to Invenergy‘s proposed $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant, which is supported by the Governor. The permitting of the power plant is currently before the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB).
Fung sees the need for more local control in these kind of decisions. “How would Cranston residents feel if a second prison were sited in the city without input from residents?” he asked, adding, “I am glad that Cranston is one of the 35 municipalities to oppose the power plant.” Here Fung was referring to an effort by Burillville residents to collect resolutions of opposition from the city and town councils of Rhode Island.
Later, when being grilled on his environmental stances by Burrillville resident Stephanie Sloman, Fung said he thinks that humans are responsible for at least some global warming. He is opposed to offshore drilling, at least off the shore of Rhode Island, and on the siting of renewables such as wind and solar, he thinks there should be more local control.
As for National Grid‘s proposed LNG facility that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently approved for the Port of Providence with the help of Governor Raimondo, Fung said that the project would have received a thumb’s down from him.
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Organized by resident Donna Woods, Fung’s appearance at the First Universalist Church was the last statewide campaign event in Burrillville this season. Woods efforts to get Governor Raimondo to come and speak to the people of Burrillville were unsuccessful. This makes sense, since the Raimondo campaign has seemingly written off Burrillville and northwest Rhode Island, conceding the race there and establishing a political sacrifice zone in service to a large out-of-state fossil fuel company.
On the drive through Burrillville there are no yard signs that I could see for Raimondo or Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, whose reputation as an environmental leader has a curious blind spot when it comes to Invenergy’s power plant and fracked gas. Fung signs (and Robert Flanders signs, Whitehouse’s Republican challenger) dominate the area.
Fung did not only talk about the power plant and other environmental issues. He also talked about his support for a line item veto, which he says he has used judicially as Mayor of Cranston, and for establishing the office of an Inspector General, who would have the power to open the books of any Rhode Island governmental agency (and even the quasi-governmental agencies) and look for cost savings.
On other issues, Fung opposes raising the minimum wage every year, which he says burdens small businesses. As the son of restaurateurs, Fung opposes a $15 minimum wage. He also opposes eliminating the tipped minimum wage.
Fung is opposed to the Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA) which he characterized as being too extreme. He has said elsewhere that he is pro-life. It is apparent that were Fung to become Governor, passing the RHCA would become more difficult for advocates.
As for former Republican, now Independent, Joseph Trillo, who is also running for Governor, Fung sees him as a spoiler. “A vote for Joe is going to bring another four years of Raimondo,” said Fung.
Below is all the video from the event:
Opening statement from organizer and emcee Donna Woods:
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