Where is Gina Raimondo — No Debates, No Public Schedule
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
She has refused to debate her Democratic primary opponents and now her once robust official State House schedule is void of listing her events.
For the last few weeks, fewer and fewer events are listed on her public schedule. For Wednesday of this week, her official schedule claimed that there are no public events.
Just one hour later, however, a local nursing home sent out an advisory from their Boston-based public relations firm announcing that "Raimondo, who is seeking re-election to a second term serving in the Ocean State’s highest office, will be joined by U.S. Sen. Jack Reed" in a visit to the facility on Wednesday.
In some weeks, Raimondo’s weekly public schedule has just one or two events.
For Rhode Islanders who want to hear her debate her Democratic primary opponents about UHIP, economic growth or her free college tuition program — that is not going to happen.
Raimondo’s campaign has refused to debate. According to one local media personality, the only place you may be able to hear her discuss the most important issues is on one of her 30 television commercials.
“Keep in mind that I am NOT voting in the Democrat primary, however, here's some info if you are? I reached out with identical e-mails and phone calls to the Gina Raimondo campaign and the Matt Brown campaign. I never even got the courtesy of a reply from the Raimondo campaign. I get it, it's a Saturday show, who listens to a Saturday show on WPRO? - but not even the courtesy of a "no thanks but thanks" from Raimondo. Matt Brown's people got right back to me and we worked with his schedule to set up a great interview. Spencer Dickenson - always very responsive too. The arrogance of the Raimondo people. Not interested in "the little people". Keep that in mind if you vote in that God forsaken primary,” said WPRO radio host John Loughlin in a Facebook post.
Similar criticism has been heaped on Raimondo (and GOP front-runner Allan Fung) for failing to debate by a range of media and political analysts.
Questions of Transparency
The lack of a public schedule and the lack of debates raise further questions about the Raimondo administration's transparency.
In October of 2016, GoLocalProv.com's attorney Tom Dickinson filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and State Police Colonel Kevin Barry for the release of the State Police interviews and notes relating to the 38 Studios investigation. After nearly six-months and multiple court filinigs the documents were released by the Raimondo administration.
Read the lawsuit below.
The Independent newspaper, which covers some of the communities in South County, Dan Kittredge wrote in 2016 in a piece titled, "Raimondo a failure on transparency,” the Editorial wrote:
In two recent moves, Governor Gina Raimondo has again shown an appalling lack of interest in transparency.
In both cases, college and university foundation money was used to further her agenda while the details are largely kept hidden from the public. The University of Rhode Island Foundation planned to pay approximately $7,000 for her trip to the World Economic Forum in Davo, Switzerland, (a trip later canceled by the impending snowstorm) and Rhode Island College Foundation is funding the $210,000 annual salary, $21,000 annual supplemental retirement costs, and $550 monthly car allowance, of the state’s new chief innovation officer, Richard Culatta – who grew up in South Kingstown.
In 2015, a group of five press and civil rights organization strongly criticized the Raimondo administration’s handling of public record requests. In a letter, the organizations wrote, “In the course of the past month, our organizations have witnessed a series of troubling responses from your Administration to Access to Public Records (APRA) requests filed by journalists, public interest organizations, and individuals on extremely important matters of public concern. We find deeply alarming this seeming pattern of disinterest among state executive agencies in promoting the public’s right to know. “
In April 2018, GoLocal reported that Raimondo and the State of Rhode Island has received a “D” for its government spending transparency website, according to “Following the Money 2018: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data," a report issued by the Rhode Island Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (RIPIRG).
“When states are transparent about how they spend tax dollars, we all win: the state saves money, it can operate more efficiently and effectively, and citizens can feel more confident in their government. That’s why Rhode Island should invest in accessible, comprehensive, online spending data,” said Michelle Surka, program director with RIPIRG Education Fund.
Raimondo’s administration has defended the lack of public events. “Because not everything the Governor does is a media event. Some weeks have a heavier public schedule than others,” wrote Michael Raia, Raimondo’s spokesperson in an email to GoLocal.
Related Slideshow: GoLocalProv’s Lawsuit Against Governor Raimondo - October 17, 2016
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