One expects appointed department heads in government to support the policies of the elected officials who hired them and even, to some extent, their political interests. But Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s Secretary of Commerce, Stefan Pryor, seems to go beyond reasonable boundaries to the point of being a pitch man for her individually. Here he is appearing on a recent Rhode Island Public Radio (RIPR) Political Roundtable:
Ian Donnis: Maureen, how would you evaluate how things are unfolding in the I-195 district?
Maureen Moakley: Well, I think it’s important to keep in mind that this is public property. It’s very different from an existing structure that’s privately owned, so we have to make this kind of investment. Having said that, when you talk about the pedestrian bridge, that’s been in the works for a long time, and I think the problem is…
Stefan Pryor [interrupting]: But it didn’t get done. Now it’s getting done.
Moakley: But the plan was there. I think the problem is, we’ve got to start seeing some action. There’s a political question, here, in the sense that, while the governor has wisely invested in the long-term kind of things, she’s up for reelection. We’ve got to see some results.
Pryor: Well, absolutely, and we’re seeing it. Now, there’s plenty more work to do, but this is the administration that gets things done. There may have been plans… ideas… figments of people’s imagination regarding a bridge. Now, it’s actually entering construction, fully financed, rolling. That doesn’t get done by itself.
The tone of voice is important, so listen to the whole show (which is only 9 minutes). There’s something about the way that Pryor dismisses all who came before his queen and the work that they did as he layers in the political marketing slogans (e.g., The Administration That Gets Things Done™). One gets the sense that Rhode Islanders can have no confidence that he’ll do anything for the state that isn’t in the direct, immediate, and planned interests of the governor as a politician rather than an office.