Surprise winner of the snow storm: Fogarty

Who would have thought that the political rehabilitation of Charlie Fogarty, who almost knocked off Governor Carcieri with a dog of a campaign last year, would be one of the big beneficiaries of last week's epic snow calamity?

This qualifies as more surprising than the news that Amy Winehouse has been arrested and that Britney Spears's 16-year-old sister is pregnant.

Fogarty was interviewed a short time ago on Dan Yorke, and he came off strong and decisive in today's ProJo:

Nearly five years ago, there was another lieutenant governor in that position. When a major winter storm was predicted over President’s Day weekend in 2003, then-Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty returned from a conference in Washington, D.C. Carcieri, a new governor, remained in Florida.

Fogarty said then-Adjutant Gen. Reginald Centracchio told him that the governor’s staff didn’t want to open the emergency operations center because they didn’t want to panic anyone. Fogarty said he called Carcieri to insist, and the governor agreed. The EOC opened. Fogarty stood before the news cameras and spoke to the public; the governor spoke via speakerphone from Florida. Fogarty called the city leaders and asked what they needed. New Providence mayor David N. Cicilline needed help plowing the major intersections, so Fogarty sent in state plows.

“When you see exactly what’s going on and you get a different perspective,” Fogarty said. “It’s not a political issue. It’s not usurping power. … [People] don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. They just want you to work together.”

After that, Fogarty said, Carcieri rarely told him when he’d be out of the state. Except for news reports, Roberts hadn’t known Carcieri was gone for a week. Thursday’s snowstorm raises questions about how a real emergency would be handled, Fogarty said. “If you can’t be communicated with in an emergency, do we have to put everything on hold?” he said.

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