York Goes On Offensive

Providence – Two weeks before the general election in Rhode Island the democratic candidate for governor and her party went on the offensive. Candidate Myth York raised new questions about republican Donald Carcieri's tenure as CEO of Cookson America.

The new direction of the campaign began with a new television ad over the weekend that criticizes Carcieri's record at Cookson. On Monday, York backed up the ad by distributing copies of court records and news reports about a tin mine in Brazil and a lead processing plant in Philadelphia.

Don Carcieri is a corporate CEO who pursued profits at the expense of people, York said, Now, as a corporate CEO he must take responsibility for his record. He puts the bottom line first and that's wrong for Rhode Island. We don't put the health of our children at risk for the bottom line.

The tin mining company was not owned by Cookson America. Under Carcieri's predecessor as CEO, the conglomerate struck a deal to become the exclusive North American marketer of tin from the mine and became one of the country's largest tin distributors. Carcieri, as executive vice president, participated in negotiations. Fifteen miners died in the accident there a year later. Mine operators were accused of polluting local drinking water supplies.

We bought some tin from a Brazilian mining company. You know it's sort of like when I buy a teddy bear for my granddaughter that's made in China. Does that mean I'm responsible for everything that happens in China? responded Carcieri, who showed up to watch York's news conference.

Carcieri also brushed aside criticism of Cookson America management of Anzon Inc. in Philadelphia. The company manufactured lead based products including plastics. Neighbors questioned whether it was to blame for elevated levels of lead found in children living nearby.

That was a hundred and fifty year old plant that we acquired. When I was in a responsibility for that plant we spent millions of dollars trying to put that plant in compliance and it was most of the time, said Carcieri

Carcieri also accused York of backing out of a pledge not to engage in negative campaigning. York said she lived up to the pledge.

The pledge was to discuss the issues that matter to Rhode Islanders, to discuss what we can do to help Rhode Islanders, to move our state forward. And that's what we're talking about, said York.

Carcieri said his campaign had no immediate plans for ads attacking Myrth York but he refused to rule it out.