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Carcieri Becoming Rudy Giuliani of Rhode Island (posted March 2, 2003)

Republican Governor Don Carcieri is becoming the Rudy Giuliani of Rhode Island with his strong performance in handling the aftermath of the West Warwick fire tragedy. Blending decisive leadership with human compassion, the governor is earning rave reviews from people of many different political stripes. In this past week's Brown University survey taken the weekend after the fire, 69 percent said Carcieri was doing a good or excellent job as governor. This compares very favorably to the 33 percent mark earned by Governor Lincoln Almond in February, 1995, the first public survey of his initial term.

With 97 people already perished in the fire, the tragedy called for a leader with strong interpersonal skills and an ability to communicate and empatize with people's pain and suffering. Carcieri has been superb as he has dealt with the families who lost loved ones, called for tougher fire safety inspections, and dealt with numerous media inquiries.

The crisis has put him in the same kind of strong political position as Giuliani following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on New York City. With strong popularity and goodwill with the general public, Carcieri is in a formidable position to push his agenda for Rhode Island. What he chooses to emphasize is unclear at this point, but this week's budget message will afford him an opportunity to lay out his priorities and argue for the things he cares about. As the new "800 pound guerilla" of the state political scene, he is off to a great start as governor.

Copyright 2000Karen Martin Media Services