Rhode Island’s New Political Reality a Disturbing Joke


How about some review?  Under Governor Gina Raimondo (D):

  • The governor’s big economic development plan is centered around an intricate refinancing deal that essentially allows her office to borrow around $80 million without taxpayer approval.
  • The State Police has issued a heavily political report attacking the Republican mayor of Cranston (i.e., the governor’s electoral competition).
  • A bridge near the law office of the Speaker of the House was mysteriously closed down in the middle of an infrastructure debate for work that was of questionable necessity.
  • The governor’s toll-and-borrow plan for infrastructure is another way to borrow millions upon millions of dollars without ever having to win approval from Rhode Island taxpayers.
  • The quasi-public Commerce Corp. is acting like a Gina Raimondo PAC.
  • Wealthy political donors to Raimondo are “independently” funding a D.C. think tank to advance the governor’s policies, with clear cooperation from her office.
  • The Dept. of Transportation has hired a marketing firm to help it push Raimondo’s infrastructure proposal.
  • The DOT is also becoming a difficult place from which to receive documents requested under open records law.
  • Ultra-insider Richard Licht’s son landed a high-paying job with the Commerce Corp.

I’m sure there’s more that I’ve forgotten, but new to the list is the hiring of recently retired state representative Donald Lally to an $87,057-a-year position with the Dept. of Business Regulation, which (along with the Commerce Corp.) is under the direction of Raimondo’s Commerce Secretary, Stefan Pryor.  Despite the befuddlement of John Marion, one of the leading experts on RI ethics laws, Lally claims that revolving door provisions don’t apply to him because he technically works for the governor and is just on loan to the Dept. of Business Regulation.

The sick joke comes at the end of Stephanie Turaj’s report about Lally’s hiring, when the former rep explains his motivation as follows:

“I have two children, a daughter finishing up at the [University of Connecticut] and I have a son who’s a sophomore at the [University of Rhode Island] in business,” Lally said. “I’d like to give them the opportunity to work in Rhode Island if they wanted to. I wanted to help out and do my part.”

Well, if Mr. Lally wants to ensure Rhode Island–based work for his children, building his connections within state government seems to be about the only certain way to do so.  Any other parents who wish to do the same better get with the Raimondo program.

  • Guest

    Don’t forget tuition waivers and advanced degrees for Lallys children…

  • Monique Chartier

    “I’d like to give them the opportunity to work in Rhode Island if they wanted to. I wanted to help out and do my part.”

    Seriously??? Dude, you did your part. You spent your ENTIRE POLITICAL CAREER decimating the state’s business climate so that neither your children nor anyone else’s could possibly count on having a decent job when they graduated h.s. or college.

    • ShannonEntropy

      Boy is *that* The Trvth !!

      Of the four Millenials in my immediate family — S, D, SIL & DIL — three of them had to find jobs in Massachusetts

      My daughter works in a health care field so she gets to work here. Not too surprising given that Lifespan® is the State’s largest private employer