Louisa Chafee, 19, is proud that her father, Governor Lincoln Chafee, is officially in office and serving as the state’s first independent governor. She was happy to be standing by him when he was sworn in at the inaugural ceremony Tuesday and said she is confident her father’s term will be “awesome.”
“I’m really glad because I think a lot of the ideas that he has about how to get the state back on track are actually going to work and move us forward,” Louisa said. “He really is about this state. He loves it and is so proud of it.”
Louisa is a student at Brown University, the same school her father graduated from in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics. While she volunteered on her father’s campaign, she did not organize “anything big” at the college.
“I wanted to keep a low profile,” she said. “I love it at Brown.”
Now that she is in college, Louisa said fewer people approach her with questions concerning her father when he was mayor of Warwick or a U.S. Senator. She said her father’s job had a bigger impact on her life when she was younger.
“I had a lot more teachers and other people ask me about the political process and things like that when I was in high school,” she said. “But, when I first went to Brown, my dad was running for governor and signs were everywhere. No one ever came up to me and was like, ‘I want to talk to you about your dad.’ It is nice this way. I’m doing my own thing.”
Louisa is studying folklore and mythology. She said she thinks she will end up double majoring in Environmental Science, as well. She is not interested in pursuing a career in politics, although she is interested in law. She wants to create her own destiny rather than continue to carry out the ideas of anyone else.
“I don’t like being told I’m wrong, especially not from a very large voter base,” she laughed. “I don’t think I’d do so well in politics.”
However, she said she has talked with her father about certain political issues that concern her. Since she plans to study environmental science, it is no surprise she is interested in environmentalism and global warming, as is her father.
“I’m really hoping he’ll work more on that,” she said. “He knows how I feel. I mentioned it to him and he said, ‘I’m already on that.’”
Through the years, she said she was never uncomfortable with the fact that she was growing up in a political family. When the family lived in Virginia, Louisa said her father made it a point to spend time with her and her younger siblings, Caleb and Thea, as well as their mother, Stephanie.
“It’s been cool to watch the entire process,” Louisa said. “He would be there on the weekends and that was the most important thing. I was busy, too. I had homework and friends and plenty to do. If he wasn’t around, it was fine because I wasn’t there much, either,” she laughed.
Louisa has been conscious of the fact her father is a high-profile figure and goes out of her way to behave appropriately. She does her best not to let it affect her too much.
“I try to carry myself in a better manner, especially when I’m in Rhode Island,” Louisa said. “I just want to create my own path through life.”
Virginia Chafee, mother of Lincoln and widow of the late John, was also in attendance. Louisa described her as, “a lot of fun to be around.” Virginia said she is “over the moon” her son has been elected and she is proud he followed in her husband’s footsteps.
“My husband is watching and his heart is full just like the rest of us,” Virginia said. “I know he is very happy.”