Gov. Chafee's Pick for EDC up for Committee Vote

May 14, 2013

Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s choice to lead the state Economic Development Corporation faces approval by a state Senate committee Tuesday. The vote comes amid debate over whether to reorganize the EDC.

Chafee’s choice, Marcel Valois led the EDC back in the 1990’s during Lincoln Almond’s tenure as governor. Valois is the vice president of an economic foundation. He was previously chief operating officer of the Penske Automotive Group.

The governor wants to maintain the current EDC structure with Valois as its leader. But House Speaker Gordon Fox wants the EDC reformed as a so-called Commerce Corporation, with one person responsible for leading efforts to improve Rhode Island’s economy.

The EDC has been marked for years by turnover in its leadership. The agency lost its past leader after failed video game maker 38 Studios defaulted on a guaranteed loan, leaving Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook for about $100 million.

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