Chafee's Smith Hill Prospects

I've got a piece in today's Phoenix about Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee's prospects on Smith Hill.

It should be interesting to watch: on the one hand, he takes the office with a rather weak mandate - just 36 percent of the vote and broad public opposition to his signature campaign proposal, an expansion of the sales tax. He also has few ties to the power brokers on the overwhelmingly Democratic Smith Hill.

But that offers something of a clean slate. And some in the State House say he has a better shot of forging a good relationship with the General Assembly than either of his two main competitors for the governor's chair - Republican John Robitaille ran against "career politicians" and gave the legislature an "F" in a debate; Caprio gave the Assembly a "C," moved to the right of many legislators during the campaign, and is viewed by some on Smith Hill a strong-willed figure.

But whether he can build and maintain a good relationship with the legislature - and the public - amid the hard work of (potential) tax hikes and budget cuts remains to be seen.


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