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Mike Morin Challenges Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt For Dist. 49 Seat

Challenger says local legislators should be more involved in the city's affairs.

 

Michael Morin, Woonsocket native, president of the firefighter's union, son of former WHS principal George Morin and Ann Morin, said Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's (D-Dist. 49) recent votes have been out of touch with the city's best interests.

In fact, Morin said, many of the city's state representatives seem distant during Woonsocket's crisis. "They should be involved in what's going on in the city and they're not," he said.

But Morin, a firefighter since 1987, said he decided to run against Baldelli-Hunt after a recent vote tabling a measure to reverse a 2006 tax cut for people making more than $250,000. "I think the straw was her flip-flopping on the tax equity bill," Morin said.

The bill, H-7729, was included as an amendment to the budget during this year's legislative session. It would have . Baldelli-Hunt is listed as a sponsor of the bill at RITE (Rhode Island Tax Equity.com). But her vote helped table the measure, effectively killing it, as did the vote of Jon Brien (D-Dist. 50) and another 51 representatives, according to the House Journal from June 7.

The measure reportedly would have added $131 million to the state's coffers. "Just imagine if Woonsocket could have gotten $5 million of that money," Morin said.

Morin added he thought Baldelli-Hunt's vote to table the bill, preserving current tax rates on people with incomes greater than $250,000, wasn't in touch with someone representing a city with, according to the US Census, a median income of $38,625. Though one school of thought says that giving higher-income people tax breaks helps the economy, Morin said there's no evidence it's helped RI since 2006. "In my opinion, all it's done is given the rich bigger yachts and bigger homes," he said.

Morin also sets himself apart from Hunt in their positions on taking the city into bankruptcy as a means to solve the city's $7 milllion deficit. "I want to do everything I can to prevent us from going into bankruptcy," Morin said, "There seems to be this sentiment out there that bankruptcy has worked out so well for Central Falls," and that it is a way to avoid tax increases.

In fact, bankruptcy did not save Central Falls from higher taxes, a point former Central Falls receiver Robert G. Flanders made to the Woonsocket Taxpayers Coalition in April.  "It would be a mistake to think that going to state intervention in any of the forms I've mentioned, including a receivership, would necessarily provide relief from taxes," Flanders cautioned. In Central Falls, taxes hadn't risen very much in many years, so he had to impose a supplemental tax of 19 percent, and plan out 5 years of 4 percent increases from there.

Morin said another reversal of Baldelli-Hunt's, her last-minute stand against the supplemental tax bill, ignores Flanders' advice and the example of Central Falls. "I think it's disengenuous on her part, because if you go into bankruptcy, there's going to be a tax increase." Morin said.

Morin said he's not a fan of increasing taxes himself, but he'd rather the city handled it on its own if it has to happen. "We wouldn't be facing as big of a tax increase, or even bankruptcy, if our legislators were fighting harder for us, (for state aid)" Morin said, "The local delegation needs to be held accountable for their actions, and lack of action. This all happened on their watch."

Morin said he doesn't want to see anyone lose their house, and that he would be interested in a sliding rate to protect the city's most vulnerable homeowners, but he'd have to see such a plan in writing. 

Budget Commission Chairman Bill Sequino has stated the city's deficit can't be solved without concessions from local unions. Morin, president of the firefighters' union, Local #732, IAFF, said he and the union have always been willing to negotiate in the best interests of the city. Morin said the firefighters union's concessions during their last negotiations saved the city about $7 million.

Morin, also an assistant deputy state fire marshal for the Woonsocket Fire Department, said the reason he loves being a firefighter is the ability to help others, often at a time in their lives when they most need that help. "You can see it in people's faces," Morin said. He said now he wants to help Woonsocket out of its current crisis. "I love this city and I want to see it recover," Morin said.

Baldelli-Hunt faces two challengers in the Sept.11 primary: Morin and Stuart Gitlow of 641 Harris Ave. Whoever wins that contest will face Independent candidate Michael E. Moniz of 429 East School St. for the seat Nov. 6.

John Ward Jr. August 21, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I'll vote for Morin if he gets me a scooter and lets me hang out at the firehouse.100 bucks would be nice too.I'll use it to swill down a bunch of Bud at the beer tent.He's got my back!
Doctor August 21, 2012 at 05:13 PM
If I could vote in this primary I would support Dr. Stuart Gitlow, just the title tells me he is intelligent and in medicine which we need in the State House.
Stuart Gitlow August 22, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Thanks. It's interesting to see just how many signs Baldelli-Hunt has put on lawns. The trouble is that every other sign is a House For Sale sign. I agree with Mike Morin that I don't want to see anyone in Woonsocket lose their house, but I'd also rather not see people forced into moving because we can't get our finances straight! Two years ago, I bought about 20 signs to put on lawns of family/neighbors, but frankly, I think that's a waste of money. If someone wins this election because he or she put out more signs, that would be a sad state of affairs. I'm hopeful people will vote for someone with business experience and expertise.
la_mouffette August 22, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Am I going to see a Mike Morin article on Patch, every other day, until Sept 11th?
The Chorus August 22, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Just what RI needs in the GA...a union president...
Tony the Tiger August 22, 2012 at 02:45 PM
New Morin campaign slogan..."I LIKE MIKE".
James Thomas August 22, 2012 at 03:20 PM
The only reason you see a Morin story in the Patch every day is because Lisa Baldelli-Hunt is hunkered down somewhere and not speaking to anyone.
la_mouffette August 22, 2012 at 04:42 PM
James, that response makes no sense. Baldelli-Hunt isn't "hunkered down" anywhere, the Valley Breeze has alrady presented an article on each of the three candidates for that one seat. And other news sources are covering the run for her seat with various articles for example http://blogs.wpri.com/2012/08/14/baldelli-hunt-getting-vastly-outspent-by-dem-challenger-morin/ Secondly: There are what...seven nominees for our state rep seats? I'd like to see some more even coverage. Just because one guy is deluging Rob with press releases, that doesn't mean he's the only candidate we should hear about!
Still Hope August 22, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Stuart. Sorry to say, you have already lost the contest. I admire your attempt to step up, but you don't seem to have the conviction necessary to get the position and to make the difference. If you did, you'd see the benefit of whoring your signs and catering elderly meals to ensure you get the ugly votes. If you'd rather preserve your character instead of hustling for the seat, I wonder if you'd have the grit to make a noise in the great hall.
John Ward Jr. August 22, 2012 at 05:39 PM
If she was a write-in i'd vote for Morin,her last name is too long.
Stuart Gitlow August 22, 2012 at 09:43 PM
No question, Still Hope, that you're correct if indeed the voters want the same old thing. In that case, we may as well vote in all the incumbents and we'll get on with our lives without any change. I've run my business successfully over the past 20 years with no debt, no financial difficulties, and no lawn signs. I have an MBA with expertise in finance and marketing from our very own URI, from which I graduated Beta Gamma Sigma (indicating honors level achievement). That's what we need in our representative now. Skills, not signs. If I thought I needed signs to get there, I'd put them up. I don't. I give more credit to my fellow voters than that.
John August 23, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Stuart, I agree with you that it shouldn't be about how many signs you have but the reality is that with these signs come name recognition. I'm willing to bet if I asked 20 people that vote at every election not one would know who you are or that your running for office. Do yourself a favor and get your name and face everywhere you can. It can't hurt. I wish you the best of luck in your bid for elected office.
la_mouffette August 29, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Mr. Gitlow, I heard one of your adds on WNRI today, where you mention an invitation for people to join your Advisory Board. Is there an email people should write to if they're interested in that? (No other information was given in the ad.)
la_mouffette August 29, 2012 at 09:56 PM
It seems like there's an awful lot of people on Patch right now--or screen names, at least, might not really be many actual people-- who think they *can* sway votes with personal opinion and mudslinging.
Stuart Gitlow August 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Contact information would have been a nice addition to the radio ad! It is in the press release which I believe will appear in the Valley Breeze this Thursday but I think I'll have the radio ad re-done so that it's there as well. I can be reached by email at drgitlow at aol.com or by regular mail at 32 Mechanic Ave #401 here in Woonsocket. Thanks for letting me know. Are you interested in being on the Panel?
Rob Borkowski (Editor) August 29, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Folks, no personal attacks are allowed here. There are plenty of solid reasons to vote for or against a candidate without name-calling. Pick one and go for it, but keep it civil. la_moufette: Mike Morin was profiled once. He and Casey were at the playground installation, but I didn't know that when I showed up to write about it. He also submitted a letter to the editor, which any candidate or reader can do. An interview with Jon Brien is coming up, and both he and Lisa are aware they can write letters to Woonsocket Patch. The next time I bump into them during a feature story, you will also see photos of them, assuming I keep my thumb out of the way.
la_mouffette August 30, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Well, to be fair, I'm most likely voting for Baldelli-Hunt, because of the stance she took on the very large supplemental. I don't think it would be honest for me to be on your panel when I might not vote for you. (good luck to you, though!) But I definitely wanted potential constituents interested in advising you to be able to do that! Woonsocket desperately needs more citizen-government interaction.
la_mouffette August 30, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Excellent, thank you Rob! (Those articles came one after the other, not interspersed with articles on other candidates, which sparked my reaction) Also, thanks for the very detailed coverage of the Chan's event, which I wasn't able to attend. I look forward to reading the first portion after I've done the dishes =)
Rob Borkowski (Editor) August 30, 2012 at 12:38 AM
You're welcome. I still have to post the part with the House Rep candidates, though.
la_mouffette August 30, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Yes, I spotted that while skimming it and glancing at the comments. That's why I specified "the first portion" I'm sure it's a lot of typing on your end (and reading on ours) to cover the whole event.
Stuart Gitlow August 30, 2012 at 12:49 AM
The panel is not a campaign advisory committee but rather will provide input from all walks of life here in Woonsocket once the election is over. If my candidacy is successful, I'd be happy to have you on the panel whomever you voted for. The only reason I'm starting it now is so that I can hit the ground running.
Russell Archambault August 30, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Rob; nice to see that you are babysitting all of us. maybe you should put some of us brats in time out!

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