A snow storm moves into the campaign debate

PROVIDENCE, RI – A five-year-old snow storm has become an issue in the first congressional district race between incumbent Congressman David Cicilline and Republican challenger Brendan Doherty.

Republican congressional candidate Brendan Doherty says then-Providence Mayor David Cicilline's management of a December 2007 snow storm shows a lack of leadership. "People were stranded for hours on the highway. The city was stranded for hours. And David Cicilline - reported by the media - was a disappearing act. No one could find him."

The storm, which became known as the December Debacle, arrived in the afternoon and dumped 10 to 12 inches of snow on the state. Inadequate snow removal left highways in gridlock. Children were stranded for hours on school buses.

Cicilline admits it wasn't the city's finest hour but accuses Doherty of trying to distract voters from the major issues of the race. "In that event we learned lessons, we made improvements. But I was of course responsible as mayor of the city for the storm response."

Cicilline says he was not satisfied with the city's response to the storm " No, we made substantial changes and lots of improvements." A poll recently conducted by WPRI TV shows the first congressional district race is a dead heat.

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