What Gov. Chafee plans to get done with time left in office - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

What Gov. Chafee plans to get done with time left in office

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By: Melissa Toupin

mtoupin@abc6.com

The political dust has barely had time to settle in Rhode Island. While many people felt blind sided by Governor Lincoln Chafee's decision to step down after just one term, the Democrat says it's something he saw coming as early as the 2010 campaign.

"I was thinking even back then, do one term, put all your energies into improving Rhode Island and that's what happened in the end," said Chafee.

Instead of becoming a gubernatorial candidate Chafee plans to focus on the job he was elected to do.

"I give him credit for that. He understands the circumstances we all know the state is in.  While we have made some improvements there is much more work to be done," said Ed Pacheco, the former Rhode Island Democratic Party Chairman.

At the launching of a new URI Business Center in Providence Thursday Governor Chafee told ABC6 News he plans on sticking his term out until the end.

The lame duck governor has a long list of initiatives he plans to accomplish in the short 16 month time period. They include keeping unemployment rate down, assisting distressed cities and towns, and improving infrastructure. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed says stepping out of the race changes the atmosphere at the State House and will directly impact the decision making process.

"I do think that it allows him to build support without everyone undermining or questioning his motivation," said Paiva Weed.

Meanwhile Governor Chafee is not closing the door on his political future. After more than 20 years in office, as a mayor, U.S. Senator and now Governor, Chafee is leaving open the possibility of running for office at a later date, or even accepting a political appointment down the road.

"As I've said I'm just a kid, so who knows," Chafee told reporters.

There has been speculation that Chafee's decision not to run could open up doors for Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts. In the past she has said she would not run for Governor. Her office tells ABC6 News that Roberts has $1200 in her campaign account, but that she would not be publicly commenting on any decision.

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