Donald Carcieri: Wikis


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Don Carcieri

Assumed office 
January 7, 2003
Lieutenant Charles J. Fogarty
(2003 - 2007)
Elizabeth H. Roberts
(2007 - present)
Preceded by Lincoln C. Almond

Born December 16, 1942 (1942-12-16) (age 67)
East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Suzanne Carcieri
Residence East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Alma mater Brown University
Profession Teacher, Banker
Religion Roman Catholic

Donald L. "Don" Carcieri (ka-CHYAIR-ee) (born December 16, 1942) is the current Governor of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. Carcieri has had a varied vocational background, having worked as a manufacturing company executive, aid relief worker, bank executive and teacher.[1]


Personal background

Carcieri grew up in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He played baseball, basketball, and football while in high school and received a college scholarship. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in International Relations. Carcieri started his career as a high school math teacher, working in Newport, Rhode Island and Concord, Massachusetts. He later became a banker and businessman, working his way up the ranks to become an executive vice president at Old Stone Bank.[2]

In 1981, Carcieri and his family moved to Kingston, Jamaica, where he worked for Catholic Relief Services. Two years later, he returned to Rhode Island and became an executive at the Cookson Group. He eventually became Joint Managing Director for Cookson and CEO of the company's Cookson America subsidiary. At the request of Carcieri, Cookson established their US headquarters in an unused building in downtown Providence. He has 4 children and 14 grandchildren.[2]


In 2002, Carcieri won the Republican primary over the endorsed candidate and went on to defeat Democrat Myrth York, 55% to 45% in the general election.

The Station night club fire

On February 20, 2003, The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, was engulfed in a catastrophic fire which claimed 100 lives. The fire, which was one of the worst such tragedies in American history, was widely covered by the national press, which gave Carcieri's public statements on the event nationwide coverage. Eventually the Governor declared a moratorium on pyrotechnics for crowds under 300 people.

Conflicts with the legislature

In 2005, both houses of the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana. Carcieri vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode Carcieri by a large margin.[3] Governor Carcieri and the Democratic-dominated General Assembly have been 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. Carcieri often warns against increasing the size of the state's welfare programs as unaffordable and unsustainable and that the state suffers economically from a history of corruption. Carcieri has had a history of confrontations with the heavily Democratic state legislature, community activists, and organized labor.


Carcieri won re-election in 2006. Rhode Island is one of 19 states that elects its governor and lieutenant governor separately rather than on a single party ticket; Carcieri faced his own Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Charles J. Fogarty, who was prevented, by term limits, from running again for the Lieutenant Governor position.

The 2007 snowstorm

One of the most controversial events of Carcieri's governorship occurred on December 13, 2007 when the state of Rhode Island experienced a storm which dumped about 10-12 inches of snow on the state at the time of the evening commute. On that day, Governor Carcieri was in the Middle East and could not be contacted until the storm was over. As a result of the timing of the storm and of conflicts between various State agencies about who was responsible for emergency management during Carcieri's absence, there was inadequate snow clearance on major highways, causing gridlock long into the night and stranding several buses of schoolchildren in snowbanks for a number of hours. Widely criticized for blocking the Lieutenant-Governor from taking charge in his absence,[4] Carcieri admitted that his administration did "a poor job of communications"[5] during the storm. However, he refused to answer questions concerning who would be in charge of the state in the event of his absence. Eventually a judge required Carcieri to release documents indicating his orders on the chain of command in such situations.[6]

On March 27, 2008, Governor Carcieri signed an Executive Order requiring state agencies and vendors to verify the legal status of all employees and directing the Rhode Island State Police and the Department of Corrections to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensure federal immigration laws are enforced.

Anti-gay controversy

In October 2009, Carcieri was the keynote speaker of the annual banquet of the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI).[7] In addition to being opposed to gay marriage, MFI is opposed to civil unions and domestic partnerships. They frame LGBT civil rights as "special rights" and claim that "homosexuality is an unhealthy practice and destructive to individuals, families and society."[8] Carcieri is the last remaining New England governor to vigorously oppose same-sex marriage; he is a member of the anti-same-sex marriage group National Organization for Marriage.[9]

In November 2009, Carcieri vetoed H 5294 which, if enacted, would allow domestic partners to oversee and care for a same-sex partner's funeral arrangements. The bill's impetus was motivated by an event when the State refused to release the body of a man to his 17 year same-sex partner.[10] In his veto message, Carcieri made the following statement: "This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue."[10]

In January 2010, the Legislature voted to override the veto.[11 ]

2009 furlough controversy

In the fiscal year 2010, the state of Rhode Island is facing a budget shortfall of $528 million.[12] In an effort to shed $67.8 million, Governor Carcieri imposed 12 furlough days. The first unpaid day was to occur on Friday, September 5, 2009. The unions representing state workers was able to, in the 11th hour, have a restraining order issued by Supreme Court Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg with a full court hearing on the matter to occur on September 12. Almost immediately Governor Carcieri issued a press release noting he now has no other option but layoffs. He further went on to say "It should greatly disturb every state employee and every Rhode Islander that labor leaders are willing to sacrifice people’s jobs so they can maintain their stranglehold on the citizens of this state."[13]

Electoral History

Rhode Island Gubernatorial Election 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Donald Carcieri 173,545 54.8
Democratic Myrth York 143,750 45.2
Rhode Island Gubernatorial Election 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Donald Carcieri (Incumbent) 197,013 50.9 -3.9
Democratic Charles J. Fogarty 189,099 48.9

See also


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Lincoln C. Almond
Governor of Rhode Island

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