Chafee picks Democratic veteran as department head

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee on Monday selected a Democratic veteran of Rhode Island politics to lead the state Department of Administration.

Lawyer Richard Licht will head a department that functions as the nerve center of state government. He says his experience as a lawyer, lobbyist, and elected official doesn't contradict Chafee's pledge to run a different kind of government. Rather, Licht says, Chafee should be applauded for reaching across the partisan aisle.

"This is a new way forward," Licht says. "We have opposite political backgrounds. He didn't care. All he cared about was, did I have the ability and the enthusiasm and the energy and the intelligence to do this job."

Chafee says he chose Licht as his first appointment due to his knowledge of state government. The selection is subject to Senate confirmation.

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