Barrington resident Ken Block, the founder of the Moderate Party of Rhode Island, is now a Republican.
Mr. Block said his shift in parties should not distract people from his intentions, however. He said he still aims to repair the problems of this state, including the fiscal issues.
“I got involved in Rhode Island politics with the expressed purpose of making the biggest amount of change as I could,” Mr. Block said. “Back in 2008 I convinced myself and others that the best way to make the most change was” to build a new party. “What I’ve learned is that it’s not that easy. … Not a single thing about it was easy. The most difficult thing was getting people to put their heads around it.”
Mr. Block said he realized he was spending much of his energy and the overall effort on building the Moderate Party of Rhode Island and not implementing important change in the government. He said he started talking to members of the state’s Republican party and earlier this fall made the decision to run for Rhode Island governor as a Republican.
“I have ended my involvement with the Moderate Party,” he said.
Now Mr. Block is setting his sights on the governor’s seat. He said he’s been talking with many people in the party and has been working hard on a plan to repair the fiscal problems of the state. His economic plan includes finding and saving $1 billion in alleged wasteful spending — he points to unemployment insurance, temporary disability insurance and public sector retiree healthcare as three specific problems. Those savings, he said, will help the local economy and Rhode Island taxpayers.
“People can go to the website (kenblockforgovernor.com), we go through the detail on how to find the billion dollars,” he said. “The big thing is the billion by itself is not an end. It’s actually a beginning. We don’t manage ourselves well, and then we make bad decisions, like tolling the Sakonnet Bridge.”
Mr. Block, who has two children in the public schools in Barrington, has said in prior interviews that his interest and involvement in politics is based upon his kids. He said he does not want his children to be forced to move out of the state when they graduate because there are a shortage of good jobs available in Rhode Island. Mr. Block said he hopes his work leads to a better economy and improved local jobs market.
“We’ve been talking to a lot of people over the last two months, and made the decision, internally, that the best way to get my ideas out there, the best way to bring the biggest change, to help rebalance the General Assembly, which is most important, was to do it within the infrastructure of the Republican party,” he said.
Mr. Block will speak at a Barrington Republican Party meeting on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 9 a.m., at the Barrington Senior Center. The meeting will be open to the public.