What Lincoln Chafee brings to the 2016 Presidential race


Yesterday in Wilson 101, former Governor and Senator of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee ‘75 P’ 14 P ’17, in a partnership with the Brown Journal of World Affairs, participated in a Q&A on various national and international issues. This comes right on the tail of Chafee basically announcing that he was running for President of the United States, and offered ample opportunity for participants to get an early understanding of his agenda and positions on key topics in the upcoming race.

With Hillary Clinton dominating the democratic nomination conversation, it can be hard to understand why other Democrats would even bother. Yet, as Chafee said himself, “There shouldn’t be one person out there…voters want options.” Chafee would certainly be a very different candidate from Clinton.

Here is what Lincoln Chafee could bring to the presidential race:

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R.I. Gov. Chafee will not seek reelection

Yesterday Rhode Island residents received a shock when—in a hastily convened press conference outside of the Cranston branch of the R.I. Department of Motor Vehicles—Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 P’17 announced that he would not be seeking reelection next year.

The announcement sent shock waves through the state’s political world and will almost certainly jump-start what was already expected to be a heated 2014 gubernatorial race.

During the press conference Chafee explained his rationale for opting out after his one term expires in January, 2015: “The challenges we have in this state are very significant and I want to put all my energy and time into addressing those challenges,” Chafee told reporters at the press conference. Here’s a video of the announcement.

Part of what made the announcement so surprising was Chafee’s other big decision this year — that he would be switching his party affiliation from Independent to Democrat. Most observers interpreted the switch as an indication he was gearing up to seek reelection. Continue Reading

Hold the pot: Chafee halts compassion center openings

Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 announced today that he is putting the brakes on efforts to open three medical marijuana compassion centers in Rhode Island. The move comes after U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha, the state’s top federal prosecutor, sent Chafee a letter Friday stating that the law establishing the medical marijuana dispensaries violates federal law and that the Department of Justice could prosecute those associated with the centers if they open. The centers, which would have been able to sell medical marijuana on a larger scale than is possible under the current system, were slated to open this summer.

This isn’t the first setback for compassion centers in Rhode Island. In the first round of applications to open compassion centers last year, the state’s Department of Health denied all of the applicants. On March 15, the department approved the three centers in a second round review of applications.

A Thousand Words: Chafee inauguration

Lincoln Chafee was sworn in as the 58th governor of Rhode Island yesterday in an inauguration ceremony held in front of the state house.  Photos by Michael Danielewicz / Herald.

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Brown alum helps lead Chafee to victory

Political and media consultant, Tad Devine (Class of ’78) aided independent Linc Chafee to victory this past Tuesday in the Governor race of Rhode Island. Devine, a Providence native, ran Chafee’s campaign, making memorable local televisions ads. He has also had significant roles in the presidential campaigns of Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, and John Kerry, as well as the campaigns of various Senate and House members. It’s comforting to know that at least one Brown grad is somewhat involved in Rhode Island politics.

Lost faith in Rhode Island (excuse me) Rhode Island and Providence Plantations? Maybe this video will cheer you up. Even though it was not made by Devine, it is still amazing.

Caprio to Obama: ‘Shove it’

State Treasurer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio told President Obama to “shove it” after hearing that Obama was coming to Rhode Island without an endorsement for him. The Associated Press notes that Obama might be staying out of the R.I. endorsement business because of key support in his 2008 election from independent Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14, a former GOP senator. Caprio probably can’t be too happy either that a new Rasmussen poll shows Chafee up seven points, giving Nate Silver’s computer reason to change its mind and declare Chafee a light favorite. Or maybe the prez is still salty that hoops buddy and R.I. Attorney General Patrick Lynch ’87 is not on the ballot.

When candidate Obama was in Li'l Rhody in 2008, only half of the Democratic Party was against him. Rahul Keerthi / Herald File Photo