As a Republican representative in a state where such individuals are outnumbered by Democrats nearly 6 to 1, Patricia Morgan (District 26, Coventry, Warwick and West Warwick), 67, understands a thing or two about facing long odds and voicing opinions against the status quo.
The House Minority Leader announced Monday she is throwing her hat in the ring for the upcoming joust to become the Republican candidate for Governor – a fight that she vows to take on in order to bring economic prosperity back to all Rhode Islanders.
“The people of our state, the good people, deserve better than they're getting and I intend to get it for them,” Morgan said to the Beacon on Monday. “I’m not afraid to work hard or take on the status quo. I have a backbone, and I'm willing to stand up and fight for hardworking Rhode Islanders so they have a better life and brighter future.”
Morgan said that her time in the State House, now in her seventh year, which includes five years on the state finance committee, has given her insight into where the state is wasting resources and governing irresponsibly.
“Now, more than ever, we need that grounded leadership and a clear vision and strategy of what needs to be fixed to guide our Ocean State back to prosperity,” Morgan announced in a campaign announcement video posted to her Facebook page and her official candidacy site – PatriciaForRI.com.
Morgan delved into multiple specific areas where she feels Rhode Island could be improved, including a low GDP growth in the state which she feels is being partially caused by taxpayers being overburdened through state tax policies that asks for more and more from their pockets rather than addressing causes of financial turmoil.
“We can't keep taking money away from ordinary Rhode Islanders – and I hate to use that term because nobody is ‘ordinary.’ We need to stop taking money out of their wallets,” Morgan said. “We need to help people to be able to save for the future and save for college instead of increasing the cost of living.”
One of the largest contributors to the higher cost of living, Morgan said, was pension practices in the state which tie up so much funding for each municipality. Morgan specifically mentioned that she would address and refine the policies regarding disability pensions.
“Too many people are taking them,” she said. “We want to always take care of people who can't work again, but that's not what's happening in all cases.” Morgan said she would enact some “common sense” reforms to prevent people from taking advantage of the system.
Elsewhere, Morgan said that looking into reducing the amount of health insurance mandates in the state and searching for energy alternatives to make energy prices more competitive were two other means to hopefully lessen the burdensome costs shouldered by residents paying for healthcare and utilities.
Morgan also said that she felt it was important to provide better training and education to municipal government workers who conduct contract negotiations so that they will be better prepared to negotiate with professional negotiators hired by labor unions.
“There are things at the municipal level we can do,” she said. “I'll be a champion for those things.”
Another large part of Morgan’s platform is battling corruption in government.
“As Rhode Islanders, we have the largest hearts in the nation, and our beauty and the kindness of our neighbors make this state a place where anyone would want to raise their family and grow their future,” Morgan said in her campaign video. “Unfortunately, we also lead the country in the largest amount of public corruption. It's simple – our government is broken. For years we have seen our state leaders take care of insiders instead of hardworking Rhode Islanders.”
Morgan said that she is not running for Governor to further her career. She talks in her video about holding true to a core set of values that were instilled in her as the daughter of a World War II veteran who fought in the 82nd Airborne and worked at the Firestone Tire Factory after the war. “I truly understand and appreciate the importance of strong family values, hard work and unequivocal determination,” she said.
“I'm at the point in my life where I'm not looking to build a name for myself, I only want to focus on Rhode Island and do what's best for every Rhode Islander,” she said. “My priority is going to be the best interest of the working class Rhode Islander out there; making changes and reforms to the status quo so everyone can thrive here.”
When asked why she would be a better Republican candidate to challenge incumbent Democrat Gina Raimondo than, say, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung – who is announcing his second consecutive bid for governor Tuesday – Morgan said that she already has the experience and knowledge of how to fight the status quo and work at the state level, rather than “managing” against it.
“Managing through the status quo gets us 1 percent GPD, and that's not good enough,” she said. “They try to take my microphone away and I just speak louder. That's why I'll be a better candidate – I’ve been doing it.”