Sie sind auf Seite 1von 17

Senator Lincoln Chaffee

The Latino Community
A Look Back

Tomás Alberto Ávila
Community Meeting with Senator Lincoln Chaffee February 17, 2000 ............................ 3
Community Meeting with Mayor Lincoln Chaffee July 20, 1999...................................... 6
Latinos celebrate successes at polls .................................................................................... 8
$8 million slated for R.I. projects ..................................................................................... 10
Battle for Senate: On the front lines, clashes, nostalgia ................................................... 12
Democrats raise money for Chafee................................................................................... 14
In race for Senate, abortion remains a simmering topic ................................................... 16

Tomás Alberto Avila 2 December 7, 2004

Community Meeting with Senator Lincoln
Chaffee February 17, 2000
Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy (CHisPA)
421 Elmwood Ave.
Providence, RI 02907

Thursday February 17, 2000

4:00 PM

Present: Tomás Avila (Policy Analyst CHisPA), Leonel Bonilla, Ricardo Patiño, Ernesto
Figueroa, Victor Capellá, (Executive Director CHisPA), Juan Pichardo (Executive Vice
President RILPAC), Elvys Ruiz (President, Quisqueya In Action), Melba Depeña
(Quisqueya In Action), Delia Smidt (Partnership Specialist Census 2000), Olga Noguera
(Guatelmatecos Unidos), Carolina Bernal (Labor Leadership Institute), Nelson Mejia
(The MET School), Ana Morgan (Hispanic Liaison)

Tomás Avila opened the meeting by welcoming Senator Chaffee and thanking Ana
Morgan for facilitating the scheduling of the meeting. Tomás proceeded to acknowledge
and introduce Juan Pichardo, Executive Vice President of the Rhode Island Latino
Political Action Committee (RILPAC) who chaired the meeting. Juan proceeded to
welcome the participants and give a brief description of RILPAC to the Senator and
introduced the Senator.

Senator Chaffee proceeded to explained that this meeting is a continuation of his first
meeting with the Latino community back in July 21, 1999 and his desire to learn more
about the issues that are important to the Latino community and that's why he welcomes
the opportunity to be meeting with such community today. He informed the attendants
that he's been assigned to the Foreign Relations Committee and the Environment and
Public Works Committee Senate panels.

He proceeded to share with us that he was mayor of Warwick, he proposed the Station
District in the summer of 1998. He won City Council approval for rezoning 70 acres
between the airport and the train station site in ways designed to promote private interest
in building a ``transportation center'' with a single, unifying identity. The Warwick
Station District which incorporates hotels, conference centers and retail spaces into a
transportation center built around an Amtrak train station and a ``people mover''
connecting it to nearby T.F. Green Airport. After his introduction, the individuals present
proceeded to ask him questions:

Victor Capellán - Our issues are the same as the general community health, education,
etc. with one difference "access". What's you're feeling an amnesty for the immigrant

Tomás Alberto Avila 3 December 7, 2004

Senator Chaffee - I'll work hard on it, but I can't give you a definite answer because of the
difficult decisions with a blanket amnesty.

Ricardo Patiño - What are the plans in Washington to speed up the immigration process?
It's my impression that everybody gets funding based on the Latino demographics except
the Latino organizations.

Olga Noguera - Before you answer that question let me add that your father was a friend
of the immigrant community and was the sponsored of the immigration reunification bill
and base on the many issues dealing with immigration now, the time is appropriate to
start discussions on the issue again.

Leo Bonilla - I was surprised when I learned that the Liberian community received their
amnesty before the Central American countries that have been advocating for an amnesty
longer. What will it take for us to receive an amnesty?

Senator Chaffee - You have a stronger voice than the Liberians and your concerns should
be express louder.

Olga Noguera - Part of the reason the Liberians obtained their amnesty, is because of the
historical ties to the United State. The country was created by free slaves that went back
to Africa.

Senator Chaffee - The capital name Monrovia is in honor to President John Monroe. I
agree that the historical ties played a part.

Olga Noguera - NACARA is a political law that helps the Cubans and Nicaraguans, but
does not help the Guatemalans or others.

Carolina Bernal - There's an anti-immigrant feeling in Washington, while there are 6

million undocumented immigrants in the US. Jane Jakowski has been successful in
improving the immigration services in Chicago and we need to do the same thing in
Rhode Island. Can you check how it was done and see if you can help us accomplished
the same her.

Victor - Senator, Congressman Diaz Velara has introduced a bill about the affidavit of
support that's causing a lot of problems to our families and I like you to be aware that we
look forward to your supporting it when it gets to the Senate. I along with other members
of the Latino community will be meeting with Congressman Velara on the 26th of this

Senator Chaffee - Thanks for letting me know about such law and when you're in
Washington please stop by my office.

Tomás Alberto Avila 4 December 7, 2004

Melba Depeña - At the beginning of the dialogue that immigration was important you,
but it should be important to everyone! I like to know what' your philosophy about

Senator Chaffee - Being a country that was created by the forces of immigration, I'm a
strong supporter of the infrastructure the immigrant community needs to enjoy their stay
in this country. I plan to work with the other Senators, the President and Congress to
make this possible. We do need some standards, but I believe in open borders.

Delia Smidt - The anti terrorist bill is the one that has caused all the problems to the
immigrant community, which was included in the immigration reform of 1996.

Tomás Avila - Senator first of all I like to give you this document that was put together
by the Immigrant Coalition which contain a listing of all the immigration concerns
expressed by everyone here. Secondly, last year when we met at Progreso Latino you
response to me of the questions regarding the Latino community was that you were
learning. What have you learned about our community since then?

Senator Chaffee - Well I have ____ who's very familiar with the Latino community and
the immigration issues.

Ana Morgan - I must add that the reason the Senator like this kind of meeting, is because
that's how he learn about the different communities. He's a good listener and he's willing
to follow up with his commitment.

Tomás Alberto Avila 5 December 7, 2004

Community Meeting with Mayor Lincoln Chaffee
July 20, 1999
Candidate to RI US District 2 Senate
Progreso Latino
606 Broad Street
Central Falls, RI 02863

Tuesday July 20, 1999

Present: Tomás Ramirez, Patricia Martinez, Mario Bueno, Miguel Luna, Tomás Avila,
Betty Bernal, Ana Morgan, John Goodman (Campaign Manager), Victor Mendoza, José

Tomás Ramirez, President of the Board of Directors of Progreso Latino, introduced

Mayor Chaffee. Mayor Chaffee proceeded to explain that he's been Warwick's Mayor for
the last 6 years and he's been successful in addressing the city needs while keeping a
vibrant economy and economic development which is beneficial to the state of Rhode
Island in attracting major corporations to consider locating here. He said he intend to put
this experience in the United States Senate to the benefit of the state residents.

The Mayor explained that the constituency he's dealt with in Warwick is not as diverse as
the constituency in Providence, Central Falls and other urban communities in the state,
therefore he like to learn more about the issues that are important to the Latino
community and that's why he welcomes the opportunity to be meeting with such
community today. He emphasize that when he became Warwick's Mayor, the city was
faced with a corrupt school system in need of reform and he has been able to reformed
such system because education is very important to him. He also mentioned his success
in dealing with the environment and job creation and his intention to make such issues his
priority if elected Senator. After his introduction, the individuals present proceeded to ask
him questions:

Miguel Luna - How do you intend to address the gap that exists between minority
construction workers and others, even with the great economic boom we're enjoying?

Mayor Chaffee - I feel we need to keep the economy boom going. We have been
fortunate that economic growth has been steady and responsible, as banks are not making
loans in the crazy way they did during the 80's.

Mario Bueno - What's your stand on Quonsett Point?

Mayor Chaffee - I love the bay because it has been very good to Rhode Island in
providing economic opportunities to many people in our community and I wouldn't like
to disturb it. I feel that the site can be successfully developed with other types of
economic development without disturbing the bay.

Tomás Alberto Avila 6 December 7, 2004

Patricia Matinez - What will your education agenda be like?

Mayor Chaffee - I will work to improve our education system. Let me say that the CDBG
program has been great to the city of Warwick, and I envision that someday the Federal
government will use the same format with our education system as education block

Miguel Luna - I don't get the analogy of CDBG money and education?

Mayor Chaffee - CDBG money is provided by the Federal Government to cities to use as
they see fit. I feel that education should be treat it the same way.

Tomás Ramirez - The Latino students community is busting by the seams in Providence,
how will you advocate for urban educational programs?

Mayor Chaffee - Building new schools while reducing class size can get very expensive,
therefore I feel that we need to find a balance medium between the two that will benefit
the urban school systems.

Betty Bernal - What's your stand on health access?

Mayor Chaffee - I'm learning more about it and I welcome any input from individuals
like you. My wife and Miguel Luna just open a new free health clinic in Providence that
will provide free services to people who don't have insurance.

Tomás Ramirez - What's your stand on Bilingual Education?

Mayor Chaffee - I am still learning about it

Tomás Avila - Rather than a question, I just like to take the opportunity to remind you
that one of the issues that hasn't been addressed by anyone else in the table and that I feel
is very important to the Latino community is economic development. I am very well
aware of the excellent job you've in Warwick in this area, but in the other urban
communities in the state, economic development tend to take place around the Latino
community without it's inclusion, as can be seen in Providence, Central Falls and
Pawtucket and being aware that the position you are running for has a lot of influence in
the funding of such development, you will be inclusive of our community. President
Clinton announced his new markets initiative 2 weeks ago, which is suppose to help
communities such as ours and I hope you'll includes us in such opportunities.

Mayor Chaffee - Thank you for your comments and your reminder and I'll keep it in
mind. I admire President Clinton's decision not to seat in his laurels regarding the
economy, but instead making the decision to look elsewhere to provide opportunities to
places that have been left behind by the economic boom.

Tomás Alberto Avila 7 December 7, 2004

Latinos celebrate successes at polls
The Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee throws a party to honor candidates
who won, or nearly won, primary races this past September.

Journal Staff Writer
10.25.2000 00:36

The pollsters and pundits like to describe Latinos as the sleeping giant of American

They are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the nation, and as their population
grows, so will their political clout.

But if this year's primary election was any indication, Latinos in Rhode Island are asleep
no longer.

On primary day, Latinos turned out to vote in extraordinary numbers after an aggressive
get-out-the vote effort. Leon F. Tejada, 35, a computer systems analyst, defeated three-
term state Rep. Marsha E. Carpenter in the city's Elmwood section. And other Latino
candidates came within a few votes of ousting popular incumbents in the state Senate and
House of Representatives.

Last night, the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee, a fundraiser for many
Hispanic candidates, threw a party to celebrate their successes.

And although not every race ended in victory, most candidates and their supporters
gathered last night at the Rhode Island Foundation felt as though they had won.

"It's like a dream," said Tejada. "We showed the rest of the community that we count, and
finally our message was heard."

The Latino Political Action Committee honored each of the candidates with a plaque,
encouraging them to continue their political involvement.

Among those honored were:

Angel Taveras, the state's first-ever Latino Congressional candidate, who drew one in
three votes in Providence in the race for the 2nd Congressional District.

Gonzalo Cuervo, a political newcomer, who came within 26 votes of displacing state
Rep. Joseph S. Almeida, a first-term incumbent from the Washington Park neighborhood.

Tomás Alberto Avila 8 December 7, 2004

Juan M. Pichardo, 33, a patient advocate at Rhode Island Hospital who came close to
upsetting state Sen. Robert T. Kells, a five-term senator.

Anastasia Williams, who became the first Latino state lawmaker in 1992.

"It is a historic moment to know that I won't be alone up there," said Williams. She also
encouraged more Latino women to run for office. "There is room in the House for you,"
she said.

A sizable cadre of state and city officials joined in last night's celebration, acknowledging
the growing importance of Latinos in Rhode Island's political landscape as they ate spicy
meat pies and rice.

U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee and his opponent, Robert Weygand, Secretary of State James
Langevin and Lt. Governor Charles Fogarty were among the guests. U.S. Sen. Jack Reed
delivered a lengthy speech in Spanish.

"We are here to recognize the people who are trying to make things better not just for
their people, but for all people," Reed remarked later. "This is just the beginning."

In the past decade, the state's Latino population grew 50 percent, to nearly 69,000 people,
even as that the state's total population declined slightly, according to the U.S. Census

Latinos made up 4.5 percent of the state's population in 1990, but nearly 7 percent in

During the primary, turnout in Providence's Hispanic neighborhoods reached as high as

38 percent in districts with tightly contested races, exceeding the statewide turnout of 15

There are still many obstacles preventing the Latinos' political power from being fully
realized, some speakers said last night. Language barriers and lack of citizenship are
stumbling blocks in some cases, they said.

In his former home in the Dominican Republic, election day was like "a carnival," said
Tejada. People waited for hours to reach the ballot box. Tejada hopes he and other
candidates can instill the same excitement in Latino voters living in the United States.

"People didn't vote before because the candidates spoke a different language," he said.
"Now we share the same culture."

Copyright © 2000 The Providence Journal Company

Tomás Alberto Avila 9 December 7, 2004

$8 million slated for R.I. projects

The spending, approved Friday night as Congress belatedly finished its budget for 2001,
will help build a museum, promote literacy in schools and pay for health research.

Journal Staff Writer
12.17.2000 00:27

Before Congress wrapped up its work for the year, it left Rhode Island a Christmas gift:
an additional $8.15 million for disaster planning, the proposed Heritage Harbor Museum
and other projects.

The spending, approved Friday night as Congress belatedly finished it budget for 2001,
also will help promote literacy in Providence schools and finance cancer research at the
University of Rhode Island, according to lists of the projects provided by Senators Jack
Reed and Lincoln D. Chafee.

The Rhode Island projects make up just a fraction of the $450-billion federal spending
package that Congress approved Friday, two and one-half months after the 2001 fiscal
year began. The measure includes hundreds of projects -- sometimes derided as "pork
barrel" spending -- worth about $1.1 billion that lawmakers wanted for their own districts
and states.

Representatives Patrick J. Kennedy and Robert A. Weygand voted to approve the

measure -- part of the overall $1.8-trillion federal budget -- during the roll call vote in the
House. The Senate approved the measure by voice vote. President Clinton has promised
to sign the package.

The new money comes on top of the tens of millions of dollars set aside for Rhode Island
in defense, transportation and environmental bills passed earlier this year. Some of that
money will go toward improving rail lines for freight trains, building soccer fields in East
Providence and creating the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage

With the final budget package, the Heritage Harbor Museum proposed for the Providence
waterfront will get a $900,000 boost to its sagging fortunes. Last month, Rhode Island
voters rejected a bond issue that would have raised $25 million for the proposed museum
in the former South Street generating station of the Narragansett Electric Co.

The University of Rhode Island will be getting $2.8 million for health research and sports
programs. Researchers at URI's Cancer Prevention Research Center will get $2 million

Tomás Alberto Avila 10 December 7, 2004

for two studies: one to test smoking-cessation programs and another to target the most
widespread and preventable causes of cancer mortality.

URI's Institute for International Sport is budgeted to get $800,000 so it can provide
scholarships to 20 percent of the participants in its World Scholar-Athlete Games.

Congress approved roughly $1 million for the Rhode Island Disaster Initiative to fix
shortcomings in the state's disaster medical preparedness. Some of the money will be
used to help Rhode Island hospitals plan for taking care of victims of chemical and
biological attacks.

Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence is set to get $700,000 for its Healthlink
program. The medical center and other groups are developing a health-promotion
initiative for elderly retirees.

Also, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence will get $500,000 to help
develop a comprehensive breast-cancer center, and the East Providence Senior Wellness
Center will get $100,000 to help the elderly delay the degenerative effects of aging.

The other medical and social-service recipients are: Blackstone Valley Community
Health Centers, $300,000 to run clinics in Pawtucket and Central Falls; Providence
Smiles, $100,000 for its school-based dental program, and Progreso Latino in Central
Falls, $100,000 to make a building accessible to the elderly.

Congress voted to give Rhode Island $1.65 million for education projects. Most of the
money -- $1 million -- will go to Project Family Net, a partnership that links Providence
students with their parents as partners in learning. Providence will get another $300,000
for literacy training.

Cranston Public Schools will receive $350,000 for its 21st Century Community Learning
Center to provide after-school programs, particularly for middle school students.

With Associated Press reports

© 2000 The Providence Journal Company

Tomás Alberto Avila 11 December 7, 2004

Battle for Senate: On the front lines, clashes,
M. Charles Bakst
10.24.2000 00:15

Early this evening, I plan to stop at a Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee
reception, hope to find Carolina Bernal, a RILPAC member, and try to usher her over to
Pablo Rodriguez, its president.

Not that they don't know each other. This is so Rhode Island: He is her gynecologist. He
is also Planned Parenthood Medical director, a top champion of abortion rights, and a
Democrat who's been in the news for weeks because he backs the "pro-choice"
Republican Sen. Linc Chafee over "pro-life" Democratic Rep. Bob Weygand.

Bernal, coordinator of education and research at the Institute for Labor Studies, is a
Democrat who opposes abortion rights and backs Weygand. She and Rodriguez could
have quite a chat. She approached me last week at a Weygand fundraiser -- actually, she
was coming out of the Biltmore Hotel event; the press wasn't allowed in -- to say she
thinks Rodriguez's embrace of Chafee is a disservice.

She said Weygand shows near perfect support of Latino issues. She said the community
includes both proponents and opponents of abortion rights but that this "is not the main
issue." She said Rodriguez, who'd be chairing a Biltmore fundraiser for Chafee the next
night, was sending the "wrong message" by jumping across party lines. "He's a Democrat
-- you can't have two ways about it."

Bernal said Hispanics are interested in a variety of issues, including minimum wage,
immigrant matters and the like, and that Democrats are better on this agenda than

The next night, I returned to the Biltmore, past the antiabortion pickets -- one sign called
Rodriguez "the angel of death" -- and found the doctor at the Chafee party. He said such
epithets don't bother him: "If that's the way they want to characterize me, so be it." (The
pickets are entitled to their views, but they and their signs reminded me of harassment
American women must often endure en route to having an abortion.)

Rodriguez did dispute Bernal's comments to me about Senate contest topics, such as
immigration items, of special concern to Hispanics. "Who says Lincoln Chafee is no
good on those issues as well?" he said, adding that Sen. John Chafee, Linc's late father,
was "very good on immigrant issues."

The party was organized largely to highlight Chafee's support of abortion rights. Meet
Connie Worthington, a political independent and a professional fundraiser in the

Tomás Alberto Avila 12 December 7, 2004

nonprofit world, who told me, "I'm here for choice. . . . Women will always be second
class if we don't have a choice."

Chafee was in Washington. His wife, Stephanie, thanked Rodriguez and several others
who crossed party lines; indeed, she thanked everyone. Pickets make many people
uncomfortable, she said, and it's "human nature" not to want to confront controversy.
"But that's what we do when we know in our hearts it's the right thing to do."

Of course, not everything in politics has to be this serious. Some stuff is just nostalgic.
There were reminders at this event of the old John Chafee days. I ran into Jim Marshall,
who, starting in 1963, was Governor Chafee's young press secretary and is now 70.
An eagle-motif ice sculpture called to mind the times the late insurance magnate Morton
Smith hosted lavish Chafee fundraisers at the Biltmore. Several featured six ice
sculptures -- C-H-A-F-E-E -- lifted with a hoist, propped on bases of plastic milk cartons
covered by linen, and displayed on a long buffet table. Jim McDonnell, the Biltmore's
director of catering services, last week sported a photo of one such tableau.

But there was one he didn't have a picture of. One year, he says, the hotel mistakenly
ordered up an extra letter and installed seven sculptures: C-H-A-F-F-E-E. The event was
under way before anyone noticed the extra F. By then, McDonnell says, it would have
been too disruptive to remove it, so it remained on display all evening.

M. Charles Bakst, The Journal's political columnist, can be reached by e -mail at

Tomás Alberto Avila 13 December 7, 2004

Democrats raise money for Chafee
The Republican senator is getting support across political lines, including from some
who favor his pro-choice stance on abortion.

Journal Staff Writers
10.19.2000 00:15

PROVIDENCE -- A large "Lincoln Chafee for U.S. Senate" sign hung in the background
as Dr. Pablo Rodriguez strode to the podium and posed the question on everyone's mind.

"What's a good Democrat like me doing in a place like this," asked Rodriguez, the
medical director of Planned Parenthood, head of the Rhode Island Latino Political Action
Committee and one of the few physicians in the state who performs abortions.

Rodriguez, a Democratic activist, was the host of a fundraiser for Republican Chafee last
night at the Providence Biltmore hotel.

The $250-per-person event drew about 60 people, including a small, but prominent,
group of Democrats who, like Rodriguez, said the abortion issue had driven them across
party lines to publicly support Chafee, instead of Democrat Robert A. Weygand.
Weygand opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or where the life of the mother
is in danger.

The event reaped about $25,000 for Chafee's campaign, said Steve Hourahan, Chafee's
campaign manager.

"I am a Democrat," said Rodriguez. "But first, I am an American who is tired of partisan
politics and tired of politicians who say one thing and do another; that's why I am an
American voting for the best man for the job, Lincoln Chafee."

Rodriguez praised Chafee for honesty and his ability to work with Democrats in
Washington, but he and many of the guests -- though not all -- made it clear that Chafee's
position favoring abortion rights led them to the event.

Antiabortion protesters picketed on the sidewalk outside the hotel as guests arrived for
the fundraiser. They carried signs with Chafee's name crossed out in red, and with the
slogan "Blood Money Kills Babies."

Protest organizer George Bedford, of Cristo Rey, said the group is a recently formed
political action committee devoted to pushing antiabortion positions and candidates.

Tomás Alberto Avila 14 December 7, 2004

Chafee was busy in Washington and did not attend the event, but his wife, Stephanie
Chafee, touted her husband's support for a "woman's reproductive rights," and lauded
Democrats in the room for having the courage to support a Republican.

Stephanie Chafee made special mention of some of the Democrats, including former Lt.
Gov. Thomas R. DiLuglio, former state Sen. Gloria Kennedy Fleck, of Warwick, and
Carlo Pistaturo, a long-time Democratic Warwick city councilman, now an independent.

Several other prominent Democrats, who did not attend last night's event, but were part
of the committee that sold tickets, included Donna Paolino Urciuoli, the sister of former
Providence Mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr., and Bea Temkin, Paolino's mother. In addition,
Heather Paolino, wife of Paolino's father, Joseph R. Paolino Sr., was also on the ticket

Joseph Paolino Jr. ran unsuccessfully against Weygand in 1996 for the Democratic
nomination to the House in the 2nd District. Paolino Jr. is also chairman of Al Gore's
Rhode Island presidential campaign.

Last night, Paolino said he is solidly behind Weygand, despite the support for Chafee
among members of his family.

One of the elements Weygand must work on, Paolino said, is garnering votes among
traditional Democrats in Providence and Pawtucket, where Weygand did not run well
against Licht in the primary.

"He needs to work in Providence, where he lost to me [in 1996] and lost to Licht,"
Paolino said. "Warwick was always his base and now he's running against a former
Warwick mayor [Chafee], so he's got to do well in Providence."

Copyright © 2000 The Providence Journal Company

Tomás Alberto Avila 15 December 7, 2004

In race for Senate, abortion remains a simmering
M. Charles Bakst
10.12.2000 00:15

It may be low key, but abortion is a substantial issue in the Senate general election, and if
you need proof, go to the Biltmore next Wednesday for a fundraiser for Republican
incumbent Linc Chafee.

He favors abortion rights. Democrat Bob Weygand opposes them.

Chair of the $250-a-person 6 p.m. event is Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, medical director of
Planned Parenthood, managing partner of a medical practice, and associate chief of
obstetrics and gynecology at Women & Infants Hospital. During the Democratic primary,
Democrat Rodriguez unsuccessfully backed the "pro-choice" Richard Licht. Rodriguez
says organizers of next week's event largely represent abortion-rights sentiment.

Some comments Weygand made about Rodriguez the other day offended the doctor, and
I don't blame him. They came about because the host committee features some very
interesting names, especially if you recall that one of Weygand's big fans is former
Providence Mayor Joe Paolino, who lost to him in a 1996 House primary and chairs Al
Gore's campaign here.

I showed Weygand the roster. It includes Paolino's mother and stepfather, Bea and Martin
Temkin; his sister Donna and her husband Bob Urciuoli; and Paolino's stepmother,
Heather Paolino. ("All I can do is tell people how I'm voting," says the former mayor.)

As it happens, Bea Temkin is close to Chafee campaign aide Steve Hourahan and views
him as a second son. She said she is "pro-life" but is not a one-issue voter. Martin reports
he is pro-choice.

When Congressman Weygand saw the name of Bob Urciuoli, Roger Williams Medical
Center president, he at first seemed surprised; he said he has worked hard to help the
hospital. "But I also know that we opposed it when he tried to make it a for-profit
hospital, and maybe he's still very upset."

Urciuoli told me the for-profit issue had nothing to do with it. He said he is a pal of Licht
-- a hospital trustee -- and also has a longstanding relationship with the Chafees,
especially the senator's wife, Stephanie, who worked at Roger Williams as a nurse.
Urciuoli also is pro-choice.

Donna Urciuoli said, "I'm sorry that Richard Licht didn't win. . . . He would have made a
great senator." She said of Chafee, "The fact that he's pro-choice really was the deciding
factor for me. Maybe he can do something in the Senate and persuade some of the other

Tomás Alberto Avila 16 December 7, 2004


When Weygand saw Rodriguez' name, he said, "He's a one-issue person" and abortion "is
his livelihood."

Later, Weygand phoned to say that "the real leaders" of the Hispanic community are in
his camp. For example, he cited former Democratic House candidate Angel Taveras, who
confirmed he is indeed with Weygand.

But who asked Weygand anything about Hispanics anyway? Not I. It was obvious that
Rodriguez was acting in his capacity in the choice community, not the Hispanic
community. Weygand said, "Pablo immediately strikes me as being a representative of
the Hispanic community."

I thought Weygand was typecasting him, and Rodriguez said by phone that I was right,
that he and other Hispanics often are stereotyped, that people see them as Latinos instead
of as individuals.

Then he sent me an e-mail expressing dismay with Weygand's comments about abortion
as a livelihood. Rodriguez wrote:

"One does not have to have a financial motivation to support a woman's right to choose
and it is terribly insulting to the hundreds of physicians that put their life on the line for
their patients when a sitting congressman needs to question the deep personal
commitment we have. For the record, I can make three times as much doing pap smears
in my office than performing abortions and with much less risk. My disagreement with
Weygand is over policy."

On this issue, I stand with Rodriguez and women.

M. Charles Bakst, The Journal's political columnist, can be reached by e -mail at

Copyright © 2000 The Providence Journal Company

Tomás Alberto Avila 17 December 7, 2004