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Almonte jump-starts early chatter about 2014 governor’s race

March 20, 2012

Governor Lincoln Chafee won’t be half-way through his four-year term until next January. But the news today that longtime former state auditor general Ernest Almonte is mulling a possible gubernatorial run for 2014 offers an early start to the political hot stove league.

Chafee has pointed to his ongoing fundraising in suggesting he’s likely to seek re-election.

As for other candidates, speculation will focus on the twin rising Democratic stars of Rhode Island politics — Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and state Treasurer Gina Raimondo. Each boasts enviable approval numbers and an effective fundraising operation. Meanwhile, Republican John Robitaille almost beat Chafee in 2010; he says he expects to make a decision on his plans after the November elections. Of course, other names could also surface.

If he runs, Almonte would be something of an outside-the-box candidate and a less well-known guy who hasn’t held elective office. He tells me has the management skills to be effective, and is compelled by a sense of duty to consider running for governor:

I don’t want to be sitting around when I’m 70 years old, saying, I should have stepped in and I didn’t, and I watched the state flounder.

I know I have the skill set and I have the people around the country that can help me, my friends, that are very successful at what they do, that I could bring in to help solve the problems.

After 15 years as state auditor general, Almonte now runs his own accounting and consulting company, with offices in Providence and Boston. Whether he runs for governor, he says, will depend on whether it makes sense for him to leave the business world.

Almonte has an affable, unassuming manner that contrasts with some of his credentials — like chairing an audit advisory committee for the Department of Defense. (Almonte also uses his LinkedIn account to describe his current title as “Chief Visionary Officer and CEO.”) The father of five sons says he’s concerned about the future of Rhode Island:

I look around at other families and say we need to make this state — it’s such a beautiful state, there’s so many things we can do here — we have to make it a state where people can get jobs and they can have a pathway to success. And I know we can do it.

So that’s why I want to get involved. I don’t think we have time to wait any more.

Almonte says he spoke out years ago about pension problems, warning that inaction would require draconian solutions. “We’re at that point now,” he says. “We have this whole next generation, and we have to help them to have a pathway to success . . . so I don’t want to just sit on the sidelines and wait for it to happen.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Delmonte Light permalink
    March 21, 2012 1:43 am

    When did Ernie ever speak out? He was the Auditor General of the entire state for 15 years and what exactly did he speak out about? Pensions? Legislative corruption (John Harwood and cronies)? Mismanagement? How about all the money the state was giving that sports foundation over at URI?

    • Andrew Mofitt permalink
      March 21, 2012 5:24 am

      The author is right in saying that Ernie Almonte is an outside-of-the-box candidate, which is a breath of fresh air when compared to a political opportunist (Raimondo) or a career politician (Chafee).

      Ernie Almonte is a financial expert, as well as the CEO and founder of a thriving business employing folks in Rhode Island. He is also the chair of a nation-wide financial literacy program sponsored by the American Institute of CPA’s – an organization for which he previously served as the chairman – and is chairman of the U.S. Department of Defense Audit Advisory Committee. He’s a native Rhode Islander, CPA, well-regarded pension expert, dedicated family man who’s raised a wonderful family in the Ocean State, a professor at Brown University, and overall is best suited to help fix Rhode Island and strengthen our state.

      In Rhode Island, we need Ernie Almonte to become our next Governor – who is a nationally recognized financial expert running for this office because he knows how to fix our state’s problems – and not just another politician either moving up the political ladder, or venturing further into the family business. Kudos to Ernie for throwing his hat in the ring, and I wish him luck!

  2. Andrew Mofitt permalink
    March 21, 2012 1:00 pm

    Great article! Ernie Almonte is a well-qualified, “outside-of-the-box” candidate who is a breath of fresh air from the plethora of political opportunists in our state. As an entrepreneur — in addition to being a nationally recognized financial expert, job creator, well-regarded pension expert, and dedicated family man who’s raised a wonderful family in the Ocean State — Mr. Almonte is overall the best suited to help fix the problems we’re in and move our state towards a better future. Kudos to Mr. Almonte for throwing his hat in the ring, and I wish him luck!

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  1. Almonte launches 2014 Democratic campaign for governor « On Politics

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