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Donald Carcieri
RI Governor Donald Carcieri (cropped).jpg
73rd Governor of Rhode Island
In office
January 7, 2003 – January 4, 2011
Lieutenant Charles Fogarty
Eilzabeth Roberts
Preceded by Lincoln Almond
Succeeded by Lincoln Chafee
Personal details
Donald Louis Carcieri

(1942-12-16) December 16, 1942 (age 81)
East Greenwich, Rhode Island, U.S.
Political party Republican
Suzanne Owren
(m. 1965; died 2018)
Alma mater Brown University (BA)

Donald Louis Carcieri (/kərˈɪri/ kər-CHEER-ee; Italian: [karˈtʃɛːri]; born December 16, 1942) is an American politician and corporate executive who served as the 73rd Governor of Rhode Island from January 2003 to January 2011. Carcieri has worked as a manufacturing company executive, aid relief worker, bank executive, and teacher. He is the latest member of the Republican Party to have served as Governor of Rhode Island.

Personal background

Carcieri was born and raised in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, the son of Marguerite E. (née Anderson) and Nicola J. Carcieri, a football and basketball coach at East Greenwich High School. His father was Italian American and his mother was Swedish American. Carcieri played baseball, basketball, and football while in high school and received a college scholarship. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in International Relations. Carcieri started his career as a high school math teacher, working in Newport, Rhode Island and Concord, Massachusetts. He later became a banker and businessman, working his way up the ranks to become an executive vice president at Old Stone Bank.

In 1981, Carcieri and his family moved to Kingston, Jamaica, where he worked for Catholic Relief Services. Two years later, he returned to Rhode Island and became an executive at the Cookson Group. He eventually became Joint Managing Director for Cookson and CEO of the company's Cookson America subsidiary. At the request of Carcieri, Cookson established their US headquarters in an unused building in downtown Providence. As of 2006 he had 4 children and 13 grandchildren.


Donald Carcieri
Donald Carcieri speaking in 2006

He ran for Governor of Rhode Island in 2002. In the Republican primary election, he defeated James Bennett, who had won the endorsement of the state Republican Party. He went on to defeat Democrat Myrth York, 55% to 45% in the general election.

Station night club fire

On February 20, 2003, The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, was engulfed in a catastrophic fire which claimed 100 lives. The fire, which was one of the worst such tragedies in American history, was widely covered by the national press, which gave Carcieri's public statements on the event nationwide coverage. Eventually the Governor declared a moratorium on pyrotechnics for crowds under 300 people.

Conflicts with the legislature

..... Carcieri vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode Carcieri by a large margin. Carcieri and the Democratic-dominated General Assembly have been at odds on a number of issues: enacting separation of powers, the treatment of state workers, and whether children of illegal immigrants should have access to the state childcare health care plan. Carcieri often warned against increasing the size of the state's welfare programs as unaffordable and unsustainable and that the state suffers economically from a history of corruption. Carcieri has had a history of confrontations with the heavily Democratic state legislature, community activists, and organized labor.


Carcieri won re-election in 2006. Rhode Island is one of 19 states that elects its governor and lieutenant governor separately rather than on a single party ticket; Carcieri faced his own Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Charles J. Fogarty, who was prevented, by term limits, from running again for the Lieutenant Governor position.

2007 snowstorm

One of the most controversial events of Carcieri's governorship occurred on December 13, 2007 when the state of Rhode Island experienced a storm which dumped about 10-12 inches of snow on the state at the time of the evening commute. It became known as the "December Debacle." On that day, Carcieri was in the Middle East and could not be contacted until the storm was over. As a result of the timing of the storm and of conflicts between various State agencies about who was responsible for emergency management during Carcieri's absence, there was inadequate snow clearance on major highways, causing gridlock long into the night and stranding several buses of schoolchildren in snowbanks for a number of hours. Widely criticized for blocking the Lieutenant Governor from taking charge in his absence, Carcieri admitted that his administration did "a poor job of communications" during the storm. However, he refused to answer questions concerning who would be in charge of the state in the event of his absence. Eventually a judge required Carcieri to release documents indicating his orders on the chain of command in such situations.


On March 27, 2008, Carcieri signed an Executive Order requiring state agencies and vendors to verify the legal status of all employees and directing the Rhode Island State Police and the Department of Corrections to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensure federal immigration laws are enforced.

Stance on LGBT issues

Carcieri is a member of the National Organization for Marriage which advocates for marriage to be legally defined as a union of one man and one woman.

In November 2009, Carcieri vetoed H 5294 which, if enacted, would allow domestic partners to oversee and care for a same-sex partner's funeral arrangements. The bill's impetus was motivated by an event when the State refused to release the body of a man to his 17 year same-sex partner. In his veto message, Carcieri made the following statement: "This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue."

In January 2010, the Legislature voted to override the veto.

Electoral history

Rhode Island Gubernatorial Election 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Donald Carcieri 173,545 54.8
Democratic Myrth York 143,750 45.2
Rhode Island Gubernatorial Election 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Donald Carcieri (Incumbent) 197,013 50.9 -3.9
Democratic Charles J. Fogarty 189,099 48.9

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Donald Carcieri para niños

  • 2006 Rhode Island gubernatorial election
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