Moderate Party of RI chairman to run for governor, be replaced by former US attorney

Moderate Party of Rhode Island chairman Kenneth J. Block will be running for governor on his party’s ballot line.  He will be replaced as chairman by former US attorney Robert Corrente.  According to Ballot Access News, the party needs to poll at least five percent in the governor’s race in order to retain its spot on the ballot.

From the Providence Journal:

Kenneth J. Block’s decision to run for governor under the banner of the party he founded came to light in the “notice of organization” he filed with the state Board of Elections on Friday.

Other candidates on the Moderate slate include: East Greenwich School Committee Chairwoman Jean Ann W. Guliano, running for lieutenant governor, and lawyer and former Save The Bay president Christopher Little, of South Kingstown, running for attorney general, party spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger confirmed.

The party will formally announce its slate Sunday at a 2 p.m. kickoff party at the Everyman Bistro, 311 Iron Horse Way, Providence.

None of the Moderates’ newly minted candidates responded to inquiries on Tuesday, but Hunsinger said what Rhode Island needs most now are candidates with “the political will and political courage to say no to the special interests and the status quo, and I think our candidates embody that.”

The party’s platform, set out on its Internet Web site, calls for lower taxes on small businesses and reductions in state employee compensation packages to bring them more “in line with what private sector workers earn.” The party also seeks to end legislative grants, “bring spending on social services in line with Massachusetts’s spending on the same services” and prohibit politicians from paying a settlement to the Ethics Commission “without admitting guilt.”

In education, the party wants merit-based pay for teachers, judging them on a four-point system. The ones at the top would get bonuses and the ones at the bottom for three years straight would get laid off. It would also ban bumping in teacher layoffs and allow noncertified professionals to teach.

As the top federal prosecutor in Rhode Island for close to five years, Corrente led the Operation Dollar Bill investigation that resulted in the convictions of two high-profile former lawmakers and an ex-hospital president, and prosecution deals with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Roger Williams Medical Center.

After leaving the post to work for Burns & Levinson, he spent roughly a month considering his own gubernatorial run with the Moderates before deciding against it. He later agreed to chair the party’s Ethics Policy Committee, and, subsequently, the party when Block stepped down on Feb. 10.

Corrente was unavailable for comment Tuesday. But Block had this to say about him when he took over the ethics committee chairmanship: “Only by insisting on transparent and accountable government can we force change upon what is supposed to be the most-representative branch of government.… Mr. Corrente is the perfect person to lead this charge.”

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