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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

An evening in Charlestown with Seth Magaziner

Good show of support for Democratic candidate for General Treasurer
By Will Collette
Seth at the Charlestown Gallery, June 21

A roomful of friends and supporters crowded into the Charlestown Gallery on June 21 to hear Seth Magaziner and to kick in their contributions to aid in his tough primary fight to become Rhode Island’s next General Treasurer.

Seth has been enthusiastically endorsed by the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee. He is running in a three-way primary fight with two DINOs (“Democrats in Name Only”) as his opponents.

The current favorite in that race is the former General Treasurer in the years leading up to RI’s pension crisis, Frank Caprio. Caprio ran one of the state’s worst campaigns ever for Governor in 2010, finally killing his chances by disrespecting the President of the United States, telling President Obama to take his endorsement and “shove it.” Caprio later disaffiliated from the Democratic Party, but returned so he could run what is turning into his Redemption Tour.

L-R: Gallery owners Dave Gilstein and Renee O'Gara, Seth Magaziner
and State Rep. Donna Walsh
The other opponent is former Auditor General Ernie Almonte, another guy who was asleep at the switch in the run-up to the state public pension crisis, failing to sound the alarm in his audits of the pension funds. Almonte was caught on camera in 2012 using the same language as failed GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney that praised the rich and denigrated working people as freeloaders.

By contrast, Seth is a genuine social progressive who also holds solid investment expertise as a portfolio manager for the Trillium Funds of Boston, a socially-responsible investment house. 

Magaziner has great ideas for not only restoring and protecting Rhode Island’s investment funds, but also using Rhode Island’s many assets to promote job growth.

He’s easily one of the smartest people running for office this year, is untainted and trustworthy, and has the right blend of experience and innovative ideas for the office.

He spoke about his vision for the state and how he would devote his energies to ensuring that the state keeps his promises, meets its obligations and grows the economy. While lots of other candidates make similar claims, with Seth, you actually believe it. You only have to talk with him briefly (or visit his website) to see that he can back up his claims.

The Democratic State Covention gave Speaker Mattiello what he wanted
At the Democratic State Convention on June 22, Seth was pretty much shut out of contention for the state party endorsement after Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello anointed Frank Caprio as his choice.

In the days before the Convention, delegates such as my wife Cathy and I were pressured from several directions to go along with Mattiello’s choices “in the interest of party unity.” 

Cathy and I both resisted the pressure and voted both our consciences and the position of Charlestown Democrats in casting two of the two dozen votes Seth received at the Convention.

It certainly helped Caprio’s candidacy for the state party endorsement that his conservative politics are far more in line with those of Speaker Mattiello. Plus, his brother David is Chair of the Democratic State Party and his father, Judge Caprio, has lots of political influence.

Caprio himself admitted when he gave his acceptance speak at the State Convention that he ran a terrible campaign in 2010 (“I let you down”) and said things he never should have said, including his disrespectful remarks to President Obama. He promised he wouldn’t do it again.

Well, while I think we’d all like to believe in redemption, and we’d all like to see people who stumble pick themselves up out of the dirt, I have not yet heard any other reason to support Frank Caprio and frankly, his personal redemption is not a good enough reason to vote for him, especially given his baggage.

Given the importance of the General Treasurer’s office, I intend make the positive choice to support the candidate who most reflects my values and holds the right credentials, a candidate I can trust. That’s Seth Magaziner.