Ken Block

Moderate Party founder Ken Block has announced that he’ll be a candidate for governor next year. Block calls himself a problem-solver who can move the state forward.

Block thinks he can significantly improve on his showing in 2010, when he got six and a half percent of the vote for governor. He says he’s running because Rhode Island’s problems are abundantly clear.

Moderate Party founder Ken Block, who has hinted for months about a second run for governor, made it official Tuesday, unveiling a campaign Web site and an announcement:

Rhode Island Moderate Party leader Ken Block is weighing a second run for governor. Block said he will announce in the not-too-distant future whether he’s in the race.

In 2010, Moderate Party founder Ken Block, with virtually no statewide name recognition, garnered 6.5 percent of the vote in the race for governor.  Block is hinting he’s going to make another gubernatorial run in 2014.

Happy Friday and welcome back. Your tips and thoughts are always appreciated in my inbox at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's dive in.

Are Ken Block’s 15 minutes of master lever fame up yet? Block, founder of the Moderate Party, losing 2010 gubernatorial candidate, computer genius and self-appointed political gadfly, has been campaigning relentlessly for an end to the master lever in Rhode Island elections.

Block has advanced a plethora of  reasons, many of them simple good-government ideas that likely resonate with a large slice of voters. He also pushes the yahoo side, weaving in corruption, the state’s economy and shadowy State House dealings by pols elected due to voter ignorance/master lever machinations.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The leader of efforts to kill straight-ticket voting, Moderate Party founder Ken Block, says opponents of the master lever plan to raise their focus on winning support from House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed.

“It’s up to the speaker and the Senate president to bring those bills up for a vote in committee to get them to the floor, and now the public pressure begins to mount on both of those offices to do that," Block says. "We’ll be pushing on that very hard over the next month, month and a half.”

Kristin Gourlay

Two bills getting a lot of attention this legislative session will go under the microscope at committee hearings Tuesday. Lawmakers will be discussing legislation abolishing straight-ticket voting and restricting payday lenders.

Moderate Party founder Ken Block is leading an effort to do away with straight ticket voting, a practice also known as using the master lever. Block says the master lever sows confusion and gives an advantage to the ruling Democrats in the General Assembly.

Welcome back to my weekly column. Spring is starting to pop, and there's never a shortage of news hereabouts, so let's get to it. As always, your thoughts and tips are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org.

Welcome back to my weekly column, and a happy St. Patrick's Day weekend to all. Stay safe out there and don't let the green beer get you. As always, your thoughts and tips are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's get to it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mar 15, 2013

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse talks proposed gun control legislation.  Students ask adults to take the NECAP test.  These stories and more on the RIPR morning news podcast.

Plus,  Moderate Party founder Ken Block is this week's guest on the Political Roundtable.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

Moderate Party founder Ken Block, who's had a winning week in the news cycle, says he's still thinking about a possible gubernatorial run in 2014. He got 6.5 percent of vote in a four-way field in 2010.

"I'm just trying to figure it all out," Block said during a taping of RIPR's Bonus Q+A.

The full segment -- covering his fraud and waste report, the master lever, and why more businessmen don't become politically active, among other topics --  airs Friday at 6:40 and 8:40 a.m.

Block says he's still in assessment mode on a future campaign:

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee has released a new report on Medicaid fraud. Lawmakers and citizen groups had been pressuring Chafee to make the report public.

And, after declining for fear of jeopardizing fraud investigations, Chafee finally released the report, along with several proposed anti-fraud bills and a timeline of his administration’s efforts over the past few years to crack down on corruption.  

Governor Lincoln Chafee Defends Report Secrecy

Mar 12, 2013
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee
Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee is trying to explain why he’s withholding a report that details waste, fraud and abuse in the state’s Medicaid and food stamp programs. The report was done by former Moderate Party gubernatorial candidate Ken Block.  Chafee says he asked Block to conduct the investigation about a year ago. But now that it’s done, the governor is refusing to release it.

Searching for waste and fraud in government would seem to be a win-win for a governor. Yet Lincoln Chafee has received the brunt of a critical backlash by declining to make public Ken Block's report on that subject. In an effort to explain himself, Chafee has released this statement:

Governor Lincoln Chafee is throwing his support behind eliminating the master lever.

“It is time for Rhode Island to join the majority of states and eliminate the Master Lever from the ballot,” said Governor Chafee. “Any mechanism that contributes to voter confusion – and worse, voter disenfranchisement – should not be on the ballot. Its time has come.”

In a news release, the governor says eliminating the master lever will further align Rhode Island with neighboring states and provide its citizens with more open and transparent government.