Gubernatorial Debate Debrief

Three of the Gubernatorial candidates participated in a debate at Roger Williams. WPRI reporters Tim White and Ted Nesi moderated the event. Many topics were discussed and the candidates agreed and disagreed throughout the night. The debate was broadcasted live on WPRI. Here are a few of the topics discussed with direct quotes from each candidate.

Topic: Pro-choice or Pro-life?

Raimondo: Pro-choice

Trillo: Pro-life

Fung: I respect a woman’s right to make a medical decisions with common sense limitations.

This topic took place during a rapid fire series where the moderators were looking for one or two word answers. Candidate Fung did not give a direct answer.

Topic: Climate Change and Sea-level Rise

Raimondo: Climate change is real. It’s one of the biggest threats that we face and we can’t do enough to meet the challenges. We need to move as fast as we can to 100 percent of renewables. I’m proud to be the only governor in American with an offshore wind farm. Under my leadership, we have a contract to expand that. We are going to create a number of jobs. We have put in place new energy efficiency programs, but there is no one silver bullet. We have to commit ourselves to renewables and keeping our ocean clean.

Trillo: We already have a lot of laws on the books and I would make sure that those laws are enforced regarding air pollution. I certainly support renewable energy and the concept of the wind farm. I think the wind farm has the potential to generate a lot of electricity with a minimal amount of impact on the people. I would only support it if the rate to the taxpayers and to the utilities is going to be very competitive with what it is right now for fossil fuels. I have been assured that it will be. I support it with caution.

Fung: There’s three actions I would take. I do support renewable energy but it can’t be forced down everyone’s throat like what the governor’s trying to do. In Cranston, we chose to go the solar route and I’m proud that we have the largest solar farm. We’ve also taken action because we’ve seen devastating floods that impact our city. We’ve leveraged federal and state dollars to buy some of the properties that were built too close to the waterways. We are restoring them back to their natural habitats and making sure that they are not burdening our first responders when they flood. I support efforts by Save The Bay to clean up our waters.


A follow-up question regarded the Burrillville power plant. Trillo opposes, Raimondo says to let the facts play out, and Fung opposes.


Topic: Marijuana Legalization

Raimondo: I would consider it but I am wary about it. We have to figure out how to regulate it so kids don’t get sick and we protect young people.

Trillo: When we develop a test that police officers on the highway can test for marijuana and people being under the influence of it, I would then support it to go on the ballot for a vote.

Fung: I support medical marijuana and I’m open to recreational… I would consider it.


Topic: Gun Control & School Safety

Raimondo: Schools shouldn’t look like prisons. Schools aren’t prisons. Since I’ve been governor, I’ve had to lower the flags 11 times for gun violence. Two weeks ago I sat in a funeral home holding the hand of a mother who lost her teenager to gun violence. It’s time for action, it’s not time for politics. There’s a very clear contrast between my position and my opponents. The answer is fewer guns. I have spent an enormous amount of time listening to teachers, parents, and public safety. There’s a broad agreement that every kid deserves to go to a school that is gun free and safe. How bad does it have to get and how many lives to we have to lose before we take action?

Trillo: We’re not just allowing guns to be in schools arbitrarily. We’re not saying anybody can have a gun. The provision of this is if you want to go through a special training program held for school employees, get certified with a weapon, then you can act the same way a service officer can if you are well enough trained. There’s a fallacy out there that guns are the problem…there’s a lot of ways you can do damage. So going after the guns is the wrong approach. If there is a shooter in the school and I’m a teacher and I have a gun and I know how to use it, guess what? I’ll take that student out faster than the police are ever going to get there.

Fung: I think we can all agree that the safety of students is all about how we get there. Unlike the governor, I don’t subscribe to just having a piece of paper that says “no guns in school” because that’s not going to stop criminals from doing criminal acts. I was a former prosecutor. What is going to stop them is a police officer at that door. That’s why I released my plan for a 50-50 share for all 306 schools, if the local community decides to go that route, to provide that adequate protection. I also want to bring back retired police officers to help alleviate that burden as well.