A year from now, Rhode Islanders will have decided who will be their governor for the four years beginning in 2015.
The race has officially begun.
Speculation as to who would run for the state’s highest office has been grist for the rumor mills for months, becoming increasingly feverish when current Governor Lincoln Chafee announced he would not seek re-election.
As of this week, we officially have three candidates.
On Monday, about two months after forming an exploratory committee, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung declared he would seek the Republican nomination.
Founder of Rhode Island’s Moderate Party Ken Block, who announced his intention to run for governor this summer, declared as a Republican last week.
On the other side of the aisle, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination last Monday and has already hit the campaign trail, visiting cities and towns, including a stop at the Beacon Communications office.
More candidates are expected.
General Treasurer Gina Raimondo has yet to officially announce her campaign but has been fundraising. An announcement is expected in the near future. And Clay Pell, 31, the grandson of late Senator Claiborne Pell, has indicated his interest in the race.
So what does that mean for Rhode Islanders?
Campaign signs, bumper stickers, television ads and public appearances are sure to start popping up (if they haven’t already). Newspapers will cover every potential angle imaginable, from the candidates’ platforms to their personal lives (we apologize in advance). And there promises to be the phone calls, the direct mail pieces and in this day, the buzz on social media.
While some Rhode Islanders call politics their favorite sport, and indeed it can often be a form of entertainment, campaigns showcase what is so great about living in a free, democratic society. We can take an active role and work for our choice of candidate; we can watch from the sidelines and, most important, we have a say with our vote.
So let the debate begin.
We look forward to hearing how each of the candidates define the issues facing Rhode Island and what they would do to address them.
It should also be noted that should Fung, Taveras or Raimondo win, the state would see their first Asian American, Hispanic or female governor, respectively.
It should be an election for the books, and trust us, we will be watching.