Don Carcieri 2002 Run For Govenor of Rhode Island

"I love this state, and strongly believe that it can be the shinning star in New England"

In 2002 Don Carcieri won the Republican primary for governor of Rhode Island against James S. Bennett with a whopping 66% of the vote. He went on to win the govenorship against his democratic challenger, Myrth York. During his 2002 bid for the governorship, this was Don Carcieri's website created to spell out his vision for Rhode Island. Elected to two terms in office, Don Carcieri was a staunch Republican who clashed repeatedly with his Democratic Lieutenant Governor and the Democratic dominated General Assembly on a number of issues.

Once the election was over, the domain's registration was allowed to expire. disappeared from the internet. Recently I discovered that the domain was available, so I bought it with the goal of recreating as much of its original content as possible from archived pages. I felt for historical reason this site should remain visible. 

Since the site will not be exactly as you remember it, please be indulgent
Now let's take a look back to 2002 and Don Carcieri's run to become the next govenor of Rhode Island.


"Don Carcieri's response to receiving a Bane t-shirt from his opponent, an underhanded gesture meant to liken him to a notorious villain known for chaos and disruption, showcases his remarkable ability to handle situations with humor and grace. Instead of taking offense, Carcieri chose to wear the shirt, transforming a potentially negative implication into a symbol of his own role as an outsider fighting against the establishment. This act not only highlights his confidence and self-assuredness but also demonstrates his adeptness at turning a sly criticism into a positive portrayal of his character. By embracing the symbolism in such a way, Carcieri exhibited resilience, adaptability, and a unique leadership style, adept at finding strength and positivity in challenging situations." Zip Davies, Providence Resource



Don Carcieri has deep roots in Rhode Island. He and his wife Sue live in East Greenwich where they raised their family, the same town where Don was born and raised and where they both attended East Greenwich High School. In fact, both Don's parents, Nicola and Marguerite, were born in East Greenwich, so the Carcieri family has grown up with the town. Don and Sue have 4 children and 13 grandchildren, 10 of whom still live in Rhode Island.

The oldest of five children, Don went through the East Greenwich public school system before attending Brown University on an academic scholarship. He graduated with a degree in International Relations. While at Brown he played Varsity Football and Baseball. When he wasn't studying or participating in sports he worked summers in construction, as a milk truck driver, quahogging on Narragansett Bay, and as a first mate on a charter boat to help supplement his scholarship.

Education, for himself and for others, has played a strong role in Don's life, and remains an important part of his vision for Rhode Island. His father, Nicola Carcieri, was a beloved figure in East Greenwich, teaching at the high school and coaching generations of young men in football and basketball. He instilled in Don an appreciation for the importance of education. A lifelong quahogger, he also introduced Don to shell fishing and an appreciation for hard work.

Two weeks after graduating from Brown, and URI respectively, Don married his high school sweetheart Suzanne Owren. As their family grew he spent a couple of years as a math teacher, first at Rogers High School in Newport and then at Concord Carlisle Regional High School in Concord, Massachusetts.

After teaching, he turned to business and built a career at Old Stone Bank. In his 10 years with the bank Don rose to the position of Executive Vice President. In 1981 Don left Old Stone and he and Sue moved the family to Kingston, Jamaica where Don headed the Catholic Relief Service's West Indies operation, while Sue taught science in the local school. Don brought the family back to Rhode Island in 1983 when he joined Cookson America. Starting as the president of a small, start-up company owned by Cookson, he eventually worked his way up to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Cookson America and Joint Managing Director of Cookson Group Worldwide. In his time at the helm of Cookson, he brought the company from an organization doing $300 million in sales to over $3 billion. Cookson's operating budget at the time Don left was bigger than the general revenue budget of the State of Rhode Island.

Don Carcieri has long been involved in the Rhode Island community, giving back at every opportunity. He is a Director of The Providence Center (the state's largest community mental health center), and a member of Catholic Relief Services Leadership Council. He formerly chaired the Rhode Island Math/Science Education Coalition. In addition, he and his wife co-founded the Academy Children's Science Center in East Greenwich. They also support many philanthropic organizations including the McAuley House, Vision of Hope, Sisters of Mercy, FOCUS Tutoring Program, the Westerly Chorus, R.I. Philharmonic, and Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Don Carcieri is committed to Rhode Island and solving the problems that face our state. His experience in business and his commitment to the state are exactly what Rhode Island needs right now.


Together We Can Make Rhode Island a Jewel

Bring Government Spending Under Control

Spending has been out of control. Our fiscal health is near crisis. Rhode Island’s budget has increased 55% in the past six years, that’s one billion dollars. Very few Rhode Islanders have seen their paychecks increase 55% over that time period. Don Carcieri will scutinize the budget line by line. He will eliminate the waste and veto spending. Don Carcieri will review every program on a zero-base standard.

Hold Government Accountable

Too many of our elected officials seem to forget whom they represent, and whose money they are spending. Don Carcieri is not beholden to the system, he does not owe favors to anyone. Don Carcieri will create a new standard of accountability in state government. He will insist that state departments treat taxpayers’ hard earned money with respect. Don Carcieri will establish new benchmarks for productivity and service.

Hold the Line on Any New Taxes

Rhode Island’s taxes are among the highest in the country. Our property taxes are the 5th highest nationally. Our combined state and local tax burden is 9th highest. We must manage this fiscal crisis by reducing spending, not increasing the tax burden. We are already paying too much.

Achieving Excellence in Education

We must infuse our educational system with the expectation of high performance and accountability for achieving results. We must stop rewarding failure and start demanding results.


Latest Press Releases

August 27, 2002
Don Carcieri Calls for the Department of Administration to Release Information on the John Harwood/ Wendy Collins Allegations

Contact: Barbara H. Trainor
"This is an awful situation. While none of us really know exactly what went on, we do know that taxpayers have already footed the bill for a $75,000 settlement. We also know that a new job was created for an individual at Rhode Island College and it was never requested.

This story contains all the elements that we have grown sick of inRhode Islandpolitics. I am running for governor because of scandals like this, which have become the norm instead of the exception.

As I have been saying since the beginning of my campaign, there are problems with secrecy and a lack of accountability. Government officials are stonewalling and giving elaborate excuses for why they are not providing the facts to the public. We need open government and we need to shine the light under every rock to watch the bugs go scurrying off.

The Department of Administration should immediately release all documents related to this case.  To continue refusing to do so, casts a cloud over the entire Executive Branch.

There is reckless spending going on: the leaders in control of the General Assembly treat the people’s money like a slush fund. Today it seems to be  paying off someone to keep quiet, yesterday it was selling the tobacco settlement for half price, and who knows what tomorrow may bring?

While the facts on this situation have not yet been brought to light, it looks like a skunk and it smells like a skunk. Rhode Islanders deserve better."



August 22, 2002
Carcieri Challenges Bennett to A Clean Campaign
Contact: Barbara H. Trainor
Carcieri Challenges Bennett to A Clean Campaign / Eagerly Awaits a Response
Warwick, RI: In an effort to bring the Republican gubernatorial campaign back to the issues, candidate Don Carcieri today challenged his opponent Jim Bennett to sign a mutual pledge to end negative campaign advertising and mailing.

In a letter delivered to Bennett headquarters by courier today, Don Carcieri wrote I am willing to do it, and I believe the voters want it. Will you pledge with me to cease and desist from all attack ads? My signing of this letter indicates my pledge to immediately end any television, radio, and mail efforts that mention your name -- as long as you will agree to play by the same rules. Sign your name next to mine and we can get back to the issues, have a clean campaign, and finish it up on a high note!

Don Carcieri is a Rhode Island native, a graduate of Brown University and the former Chief Executive Officer of Cookson America



Latest Campaign News

August 15, 2002
Carcieri Unveils Plan to Control Government Spending
Plans “The Big Audit”
Warwick, RI: A combination of wasteful legislative spending and massive neglect have brought Rhode Island to a critical point. Just this week we learned that the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is facing a huge deficit, the Transportation Department reports that we need $89 million for repair and replacement of bridges and roads and yet we gave $14 million to greyhound owners last year.

Candidate for governor Don Carcieri believes the public has lost confidence not only in the General Assembly, but in state government and politicians in general. After 30 years in publicly traded businesses, Don is announcing his plan to restore the state’s fiscal integrity and bring back people’s trust in government. They consist of 6 action steps to deal with the immediate crisis and innovative programs to protect the state over the long term.

Step 1: “The Big Audit”: review department budgets in detail to find wasteful spending in any amount. A “war room” will be established at a site away from the distractions of the statehouse during the transition period to immediately review the budgets of every department. Don Carcieri will call all department heads together to review the budgets line by line to squeeze out fat and waste in their budgets. No spending program will be exempt from this audit. Programs that help people in need will be protected while areas of unnecessary waste will be tagged for extinction.

Step 2: A “State Worker Incentive Program to bring state workers into the process of bringing state spending under control. Don will enlist them in the battle to root out wasteful spending; soliciting suggestions from the people who are most likely to know the problems because they work with them. There will be a hotline telephone number for employees to alert the governor’s office about specific areas of waste, corruption or inefficiency and the workers who supply information will share any savings that result.

Step 3- Structurally Balanced Budgets with spending levels less than income levels, one that does not use gimmicks, over-estimated revenue or one-time windfalls such as the tobacco settlement to provide short term fixes to budget problems.

Step 4: A“Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” will be added to the state constitution to prevent state spending increases from exceeding the rate of inflation (adjusted for population). This reform is protection against the kind of wild legislative spending that has increased the state budget 50% in the past five years. There is no excuse for that kind of record.

Step 5: A strong>Line Item Veto to enable the governor to curtail specific expenditures such as the Quonset Point port study that is costing us millions for a project that will never be built, and the legislative budget that increased while the number of legislators is reduced. This state’s addiction to overspending can be curbed by the use of this important reform tool.

Step 6: Departmental Directors Dedicated to Change; Don Carcieri will only appoint people who share his dedication to changing this state for the better. Doing more with fewer tax dollars will be a hallmark of his administration. In state service he will seek departmental directors who are not satisfied with the status quo and who share his vision of a more effective and efficient state government.

As a chief executive officer of a large multi-national company, Don Carcieri has already managed a budget the size of Rhode Island’s. He is a Rhode Island native and a Brown University graduate.


Latest Campaign News


August 5, 2002
6,000 Signatures, A Surge of Support

Contact: Barbara H. Trainor
A surge of statewide support along with a spectacular volunteer effort has given the Carcieri campaign reason to celebrate. During the ten day signature gathering period, nearly 6,000 signatures were collected from all 39 towns in Rhode Island, including Block Island. Don Carcieri and the campaign are very grateful to those who worked so hard during a very hot week. This is indicative of the momentum the campaign is building, and the enthusiasm for real change that will win the Republican Primary September 10th. State law requires a candidate for Governor to collect 1,000 signatures to be eligible for placement on the ballot.




June 12, 2002
The Alpo Relief Act

Contact: Barbara H. Trainor
$17,000,000 of tax payer money is going to the dogs. And Don Carcieri is fighting against it.

He recently stood on the steps of the State House and decried the legislature's desire to subsidize gambling by funneling money to the greyhound owners at Lincoln Park, even as the House of Representatives met inside to discuss keeping the money in the budget. At a time when our state faces a huge deficit in this fiscal year (which ends only weeks from now), and a planned deficit next year, how can the State's House of Representatives consider continuing to give away money to the dog owners at Lincoln Greyhound Park, especially after talking about cutting programs that the people of this state need and use?

"State taxpayers are paying greyhound owners $13.5 million dollars for racing their dogs at Lincoln Park. We have many more important bills to pay than gravy for the racing industry," Carcieri said.

Currently the state pays a percentage of the money taken in from Video Lottery Terminal at Lincoln Park to the greyhound owners. The amount of this subsidy has grown from an initial $1 million just 10 years ago. And, though the House claims to be lowering it by decreasing the amount by half a percent, an expected increase in gambling will mean next year the dog owners can expect even more tax payer dollars.


June 4, 2002
Carcieri Piles up the Endorsements

Contact: Barbara H. Trainor
In one week, Don Carcieri was honored with the endorsement of 6 towns, as voted by the Republican Town Committees. Smithfield, Bristol, Jamestown, East Greenwich, Middletown and West Warwick all voted to support Don's candidacy and advise their delegates to the State Republican Convention to vote for him there.

"I am very proud to have the support of these towns," Carcieri said. "I know that our message is getting out and the people are responding very positively."

This brings the total of towns who have endorsed Don to 10 (including Central Falls, West Greenwich, Portsmouth and Exeter). Most of these endorsements have come in the past few weeks as Don's name recognition has grown and the people of those towns have become more and more in favor of the things he stands for. More towns are expected to endorse him as the convention moves closer.


If you lived in Rhode Island during the years that Don Carcieri was the governor you'll remember the tension and confrontations between him and the Democratic-dominated General Assembly. They were at odds on a number of issues: enacting separation of powers, the treatment of state workers, and whether children of illegal immigrants should have access to the state childcare health care plan, among others. I moved up to Providence during this time (actually during his second term) from Baltimore. We arrived in Providence in the fall of 2007. One of the most controversial events of Carcieri's governorship occurred on December 13, 2007. A nor'easter storm dumped about 10-12 inches of snow on the state at the time of the evening commute. The newspaper's later dubbed it "December Debacle." On that day, Governor Carcieri was in the Middle East. He could not be contacted. The timing of the storm and of conflicts among various State agencies as to who was responsible for emergency management during Carcieri's absence resulted in inadequate snow clearance on major highways. The result was a nightmare of gridlock long into the night that stranded several buses of schoolchildren in snowbanks for a number of hours. I was so glad my kids could walk to school. Anyway Don Carcieri's 2nd term continued to be very controversial as he continued in his very conservative Republican views. Although I did not agree with many of Don Carcieri stances, I think it is important for historical reason to keep the content from his election campaign available to view on the web.