Openly Gay Candidate Runs for RI Governor
Todd Giroux, who is openly gay and a Bristol resident, has announced he will seek the Democratic nomination for Governor of Rhode Island in 2014.
Giroux, 43, a former candidate for Governor, will be facing heavy-duty challengers, including State Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Tavares. Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, a Republican, is also a candidate, as well as businessman Ken Block, from the Moderate Party.
Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) announced this will be his only term in office.
Giroux is one of a handful of prominent LGBT politicians in the Ocean State, like House Speaker Gordon Fox (D-Providence), Senator Donna Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket), State Rep. Frank Ferri (D-Warwick), and State Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Jamestown), but he says he doesn't want to be labeled as a "gay" candidate.
In an interview with EDGE, he explained he wants voters to focus on his goals for Rhode Island, not his sexual orientation.
"I want to be a mainstream politician," Giroux said. "[Rhode Island] needs a new direction. We're driving people away. We need something to be happy about."
Rhode Island has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and Giroux wants to lower the state sales tax, which will make small businesses more competitive. He also has a jobs plan:
"I am focused on putting people back to work," he said. "I'm a labor guy. I want people working." Giroux wants to establish an office of the Inspector General, which would provide continuity of oversight to state contracts, agreements by executive boards and to legislative actions and state commitments.
"The role of Inspector General is to investigate waste, fraud and abuse," Giroux states on his web site. "Federally it is well known with The Department of Health and Human Services and the focus is on Medicare fraud and discovers tens of millions of dollars of abuse per year."
Additionally, Giroux wants to spend $200 million for small business loans and $200 million loans for residential property loans.
Giroux grew up in Woonsocket and Cumberland and later graduated from URI with a psychology degree. He has been working as a contractor for the last 20 years, continuing the business started by his father. He specializes in performing restoration and maintenance services for historic properties including Aldrich House, the Providence Public Library, and Trinity Repertory Theater.
Giroux feels his experience as a contractor is beneficial to being the leader of the state.
"People trust me to do large projects," Giroux said, later adding that he believes the battle for governor is about Main Street versus Wall Street. He scolds Raimondo for not investing in the state.
"[She] is betting on outsiders to do the work," Giroux said. "We should be reinvesting in Rhode Island."
Giroux learned a lot about the political system since his last run for Governor in 2010. He engages with community leaders on his weekly radio show on 990WBOB.com
"I have a network I didn't have before," Giroux explained. "I want to do this. Nobody else is."
For more information about Todd Giroux, go to Giroux's web site at https://sites.google.com/site/girouxrigovernor2014.