In Rhode Island, a political party officially obtains a party status if they have a Gubernatorial and Presidential candidate that obtains five percent of the statewide vote. This makes third parties like the Moderate Party, prioritize fielding a Gubernatorial candidate for 2022.
“We currently don’t have a locked-in candidate, but there will be somebody on the ballot. I can assure you that. We’re committed to making sure that there’s a viable candidate,” Moderate Party Chairman William Gilbert said in an episode of Ray-ality TV.
Running for a statewide office requires a lot of time for candidates to get their name recognition higher and raise money. Gilbert has a deadline of the Spring for this announcement of their candidate in order to run an effective campaign.
“I think we have to probably do it [around the] April/May timeframe to really take advantage of all the debates, all the invites, and that type of stuff,” Gilbert said. “It will be sooner than later.”
The party has had 6,400 registered voters and stands for a “centrist [and] open-minded way of thinking,” according to Gilbert.
“We’re actually trying to drive the dialogue and the discussion. And at the same time be inclusive. That’s in essence, what the Moderate [Party] stands for. It’s really a centrist, independent-minded [party] and [open to] having discussions. I don’t know anybody that’s really far-right or far-left, and that doesn’t share some philosophies in the middle.”
Gilbert says the party could end up fielding a candidate for Lieutenant Governor too, but is more focused on the Gubernatorial Election so they can re-obtain their party status.
A top priority for the Governor and municipalities across the state is to spend the once in a generation surplus of federal money. One idea Gilbert wants to see the money spent on is free internet access for everyone in the state as more aspects of life go remote during the pandemic.
“I believe we need to implement a statewide internet system that’s free to everybody. Everybody should be able to access the internet. For information, for education, for ability to speak [to] your government. So when the government [meetings go remote], I can get on Zoom and go attend my Town Council meetings or my Representative’s meetings. Or just take my class at school,” Gilbert said. “You should be able to come to Rhode Island and log in to the internet for free. And that’s something we can do with that money.”
The party has an extensive portion of their platform dedicated to education. Gilbert explained some of their proposals in that section of the platform.
“We waste too much money on duplicative services. I think we need to free up our free capital. We need to have school choice. And the way that you do that is we need a statewide funding formula and we need to go to either [a] four-region or statewide school [system]. You can’t have the duplicity that we have over and over.”
Another educational reform proposal Gilbert mentions is the need for an increase in vocational training.
During a lightning-round portion of the interview, Gilbert said the party is “absolutely” in favor of line-item veto power for the Governor. Other proposals the party favors are term limits for General Assembly members, ranked choice voting, the legalization of marijuana and the Governor and Lieutenant Governor running on the same ticket. In that same lightning round section, on a letter grade scale from A to F, Gilbert gives Governor Dan McKee’s performance so far a B.
Additionally, Gilbert and I spoke about non-political topics such as his hobbies and what he thinks Rhode Island is best known for.
To view the full interview, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjtrADca4uY.