Thank You, Supporters.

To all the friends and supporters of the Healey 2014 Campaign

Please excuse my delay in getting this letter to all those who have put time, effort and energy into the campaign. I was slightly busy fending off the accusations that we had somehow led to the destruction of the Fung campaign.

As you know, we did not destroy that campaign, it imploded on itself. Our outstanding performance demonstrated that people were dissatisfied with the system. The real story is that there are just too many out there still willing to play the party politics game.

Together we shocked the system. We worked together toward a worthwhile goal and that should not be taken for granted, nor should it be minimized by political pundits. We all worked too hard to let this happen.

As such, I have pointed out where we were headed, how we could create a movement that was unforeseen, how we attempted to demonstrate good politics by our actions not by mere words. It is truly an achievement for which we all can stand tall. We were not vanquished. We were simply unable to complete the task within the prescribed format. Always remember that.

I know I have thanked you all prior to the election, whether we were to win or lose. I still find the need to thank everyone for their unselfish support, from the sign makers to the computer wizards to the artists to the on the ground forces to the sign posters and delivery help to the volunteers to the web managers to the video and music creators to the citizens who voted their conscience instead of following without reason.

These are the people who made this campaign a success, not the figure at the top. While we all worked with direction, we all worked in a most individual manner, each giving to his or her strengths

I have received so many points of advice, thank you notes, great messages and calls related to our cause. It was so uplifting during the difficult times. We all worked together to support each other in a way I have not seen before in a campaign.

It is for this I thank you all once again. I will always remember how wonderful this loss was, not feeling the sting of the failure but smiling at the beauty this campaign represented in its unique ways.

While I could write literally hundreds of names to thank, you all know who you are and how you contributed. I acknowledge everyone here, wish you all the best, and hope that there is a future for what we attempted. I think that there is, but it, like the campaign, is left to you.

I do wish to share with you that on several occasions today, so many people wrote or approached to comment on the results. Not one of our supporters came to us with a statement that they regretted their vote. People commented that while they may have not liked the result, they felt that their vote had meaning. It did and will have a direct impact on future elections.

As I pull away from this campaign, I will turn my focus to other work and will not be so engaged with this movement on a daily basis. The absence will be painful, but the memories we created will serve as a source of knowledge that we met, worked as one, and could return to our lives more satisfied with what we have attempted and what we have achieved.

I thank you all. If nothing else, it was real. Take what we have gained and apply it. We can all be content in our work here and we can look to another potential for a new day that will certainly dawn. Take our inspiration and move it to the next level. We won in defeat. Perhaps the future will bring us together again, but it will be on a new adventure, similar to this one, but with a whole new meaning. We should stand ready for it and enjoy it for what it will be.

With gratitude,

Robert J. Healey, Jr.

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November 4, 2014 – Election Day

It has reached critical mass. With the help of all, we have reached a point where we are ready. If people can hold to their desire to take back their state we will do well. The numbers are clearly moving in our direction, but the people, once inside the booth, often let fear of change be their guide. It is a normal human condition.

Don’t be afraid. Change is not always frightening.

We have all worked together on a purpose. That purpose has united us.

In the course of the campaign, we have opened many eyes, sent out warnings that the people will no longer tolerate a government that ignores them.

We have gotten out a message. Win or lose, we have sounded forth the trumpets that will never blow retreat.

You have all been wonderful. Together we have run a campaign that was informative, civil, inclusive, and for the right reasons. We have set a different standard for politics in Rhode Island.

We have brought a dream into reality. We have given our all. In all every election, the outcome is what it is. The most important part, regardless of the outcome, is that you have made an effort, and you did so for all the right reasons.

The dream we have created, the vision we have shared, the work we have done together, will long live beyond us. Good ideas, once planted, will grow. We have done our work in the election and I personally thank you all for your dedication. If successful, we can bring our vision of governance by the people into fruition and begin the peoples’ work.

Thank you all for your hard work. It has not gone unnoticed nor has it gone unappreciated.

Robert J. Healey, Jr.

On Education

I have always recalled the wise words of my mother telling me “If everyone jumped off the bridge, would you?” It has resonated throughout my life and has probably sits at the foundation of my thought process. Just because nearly everyone is convinced that the Common Core is the future, there must be those out there to question it.

I must admit that I was serving on the Warren School Committee when the movement began, largely sparked by the infamous report, A Nation At Risk. At the time, I found the need to be somewhat persuasive in that who doesn’t want performing schools?

Not being involved with the education field directly for years since engaging in the practice of law after my dissertation adviser died during my PhD program in Comparative Education at Columbia, and without having children, I was astonished by where education has gone when I sat down to review the current trend in education, Common Core and corresponding State Standards.

My approach was from the standpoint of a consumer. Who wouldn’t want the best in terms of education delivery? Who wouldn’t want students prepared to be “world class”?

As I grew more and more investigative, however, I have grown skeptical of the process. Of course, like everyone, I still would want a world class student for my tax dollars, but I am clearly not in favor of doing this at all costs.

Additionally, more than the education components, I am fearful of the corporate take-over of public education.

As many know, I am not a big fan of public labor unions in that I have long argued that they have exerted far too much influence over legislation and have created situations that do not foster a level bargaining field. Still, with that said, I have never faulted the rank and file teacher, having been one and understanding that teaching is a noble profession.

All that said, I am beside myself to think that the current trend has so influenced the profession, at the behest of the public and politicians and at the expense of the trained professional teacher and the students, all under the eye of the labor unions. I oddly find myself in a place where I must cast my lot with those in opposition of Common Core.

When involved in education, I was a strong supporter of getting the best for the tax dollar, and I still stand committed to this position. I was an early crusader for greater responsibility in education. I now feel that this effort that I worked to spearhead, has been hijacked by corporate interests and taken in an unexpected direction.

While at Columbia I became aware of some of the work of Diane Ravitch, and, quite frankly, at that time was unimpressed. After reading parts of her recent work, especially Reign of Error, I, like her, feel that this movement which she helped initiate, was carried beyond its objective. In short, I find myself in agreement with her that education is on a runaway train and it will take a voice of reason to stop it short of the cliff.

What is most troubling to me is the corporate role in education. I still believe that a teacher instills knowledge and is not on an assembly line creating robots. Education is far more complex than a mere teaching of testing skills. I can say that I have never waived from this position.

It has long been said that the road to hell is paved with good intention. Such is the case here.

The setting of standards and enforcing them in a draconian fashion has no real place in education. There should be testing to ensure that knowledge has been transferred, but it should not be seen as a game where the results tell the story.

I believe in individualism in education. I feel that this concept is at the basis of American society. We are quite productive as a nation related to conceptual thinking and invention. We are a nation of innovators, not because we all live up to standards, but that we have been taught skills that enable us to envision what is possible.

There is surely an argument that having a panoply of tools and knowing how to utilize them is at the core, to which I agree, but I do not see this focus on standards as being of any use to a student who is not given the full array of opportunity.

This, coupled with the corporate culture’s viewing of education as a cash cow, has propelled me into my position that the reform movement has gone awry. I am, much like Ravitch, worried that we have moved in the wrong direction set by noble objectives. We must stop and gauge where we stand.

Having been both a teacher and an attorney, I have been able to see an interesting point of view. Law exists in a staid state, rarely being moved away from its core. Decisions are made to be final and there is very little alteration possible. Education, however, is always changing. Unlike law, its theory appears constantly in flux.

This may serve to explain much. Teachers, having to tailor learning to the individual, are constantly seeking a method that can be applied to meet the needs. It is most difficult to find a universal approach to serve this discipline. After all, how can a teacher be expected to service the needs of each individual learner with a standardized system. It just doesn’t make sense.

It is my opinion that the need to educate individuals is lost in the need for accountability. I do not take the position that a child should not get a basic education. We all agree that a student needs to read, write and perform mathematical functions. We see the need for an understanding of history and science. But to emphasize these functions to an abnormal degree is an education nightmare.

In this scenario, I see the federal government and corporate interests as being the villains, the students being the victims, the taxpayers as being the dupes, and the educators as being cast as the scapegoat. The play is a tragedy.

The federal government, in taking a state function and creating a federal agency, has, in typical federal style, made a bad situation worse. In offering federal dollars in large amounts to solve “the problem”, corporate mouths began to salivate. Where there are large sums to be spent, there will always be corporate solutions.

Much like an encyclopedia salesperson, the first rule in selling them is to instill fear and guilt. How can your child be able to compete in the world without it? This unscrupulous method, in a modernized format, is exactly what the purveyors of corporate education are doing. They are playing on public fears and its ignorance of education and the role of educators to reap profit.

Although I am a strong advocate of supply and demand capitalism that does not translate into a free for all in the marketplace. I do not advocate the sale of tainted meat or unsafe drugs. Similarly, I cannot advocate for the privatization of public schools, a position I see as the ultimate goal of the Common Core movement.

Those who are advocates of running a government role like a business should be reminded of the words of Vincent Cianci who countered this position with a pithy and wise question in response to this situation being posed to him. Paraphrasing him, when asked why he didn’t run government like a business, the Mayor asked, “When was the last time a private business bought an elephant?” His point, that government, while appearing as a business, required modification if it were to be so accountable.

Similarly, public schools are charged with a mission to educate an increasingly diverse population. To run it like a business is ludicrous. Therein lies the conflict with the federal and state government intervention.

Since the federal government is prohibited by the US Constitution from interference in state roles, in this case, education, it needed to bribe its way in. Rhode Island, as per its state constitution, specifically gives the state the duty to educate. The ninth, tenth, and eleventh amendments prohibit the federal government from taking a role.

Unfortunately, with the power to tax, specifically the income tax, the federal government has grown more and more encroaching in areas to which the founders had forbidden its entrance. By taking in more income tax than necessary to operate the federal government, it is then enabled to offer “grant” money to the states, obviously conditioned on federal compliance. In short, they have provided funds conditioned on the state’s relinquishing control.

In doing that, it has then proclaimed its role in education. As the leading force, it then could offer funds to corporate America to promote programs that may not be in the best interest of education, but certainly in the best interests of corporations.

The hidden agenda is truly troubling. The Common Core is not a movement to improve education. It is an opportunity to sell compliance at the expense of a child’s education, and therefore, it is deplorable.

There is a need for teacher accountability, without a doubt, but unreasonable standards make this more of a game than an attempt to rectify the situation.

Without a doubt, there are situations that make correcting teachers and holding them accountable a near impossibility. I recall being on the School Committee and being confronted with a situation that clearly demonstrates this point.

Confronted with a teacher on the secondary level who was clearly underperforming, and with an administrator who failed to attempt to document the incompetence, there was no way of disciplining the teacher. The solution was to move the teacher to another school since she also had an elementary school certification.

To this day, I shudder at the thought that I had placed second grade students at such risk to relieve a problem on the secondary level. A greater level of cooperation between the unions and the administration would have been a far better option, but the growing contempt over wage negotiations made such impossible.

The teacher was certified, but it was evident that the teacher was not effective. There was no reasonable alternative other than to make the transfer and hope for the best. Is this any way to run a system?

But, like every occupation, there are good and bad. Some carpenters are artists while others are hacks. How many people have their roofs replaced only to find a leak in the next storm? Teaching is no different. The difference is that they are being paid in part by several entities, all with a differing opinion as to how satisfactory is the job being done.

Standardized teaching and results based play to this audience. Performance based on student testing seems to be the obvious, albeit wrong, measure of achievement. This is where my earlier example of purchasing an elephant is applicable.

Teachers are trained professionals and are entrusted with our youth. As professionals, they are trained in their field. They are prepared to educate. With the deterioration of family in our society, the teacher has not only been charged with education, it must now serve as social worker, suicide counselor, and many other roles that do not necessarily relate to education. Couple this with an increase in litigation and there is a recipe for disaster.

It is for these and other reasons which cannot be articulated here based on time limitations, I stand against Common Core.

SUMMARY

Asked whether I support Common Core, the answer is “No, I do not”. My opponents Fung and Raimondo both have expressed publicly their support. We are day and night on this issue.

I will work to limit its implementation, reworking it based on input from professional educators (especially those in the trenches at all levels), and would even consider scrapping it entirely based on the findings.

There are solid arguments against the continued use of Common Core, especially in light of the corporate interests who have manipulated the process.

As to its replacement, I leave that to a determination after a complete review. I do not believe that I alone have the answer, but I vow to create one with the cooperation of the education community.

October 31, 2014

The critical mass is being reached at just the right time. We have been seeing movement in the social media. We have gotten words from the leaks of other campaigns that we are polling strong and there is an upward movement in the latest polling. People are changing.

The telltale signs are apparent in that there is much called in fear mongering on talk radio, there are trite and hackneyed lines related to the wasted vote, there are attempts to revive the worn argument related to the hair and beard. All seems a desperate effort.

The fact that almost 40% of the people had voted for me once in the last election means that many have gotten past the image. The fact that they voted for me in the past is a sign that a vote for me in this election is not as scary as it is political.

The “he can’t win” argument is being countered by forcing the issue as to if this is so, then why are the poll numbers growing instead of falling, as is typical in third party candidates as the election approaches.

The wasted vote is being seen for what it really is, a ploy. Since the two opponents are relatively similar in that they are merely party players, the distinction is ever more evident. Regardless of which one gets a vote, it is a vote for the same wine in different bottles. We have succeeded in making a distinction, and that distinction is funded players versus the people.

There is a movement that cannot be matched by the opponents, regardless of how much money they have. The people are awakening and recognizing that they can be empowered. The people can see that working as one can be a productive endeavor.

There have been several who have abandoned the Democrats because the Democrats have largely abandoned them. They have been moved away and are temporarily in harbor of the Republican camp, but they are uncomfortable there in that the Republicans represent a view they do not share. They are not solidly in the camp, but are using it as a resting place to enable them to fully come on to our most welcoming camp.

The Republican numbers are very fluid. There is a polled tie, but I would suggest that the base support is far short of the reported numbers in that they are merely camping until they feel we are a viable home. We have succeeded in creating the fluidity needed for a possible victory against the odds.

Unlike the opponents, we have a sense of purpose far greater than a mere election. We have the inspiration of liberty and individualism. We have a goal of righting what was misdirected. We are not looking to just win an election, but we are looking at what we can achieve as a society.

It is always better to have a genuine purpose. People will work with others given a noble motivation. Oddly, people need to gather to protect the individualism that is in all of us.

A message will always triumph over money — a vision being natural and money being artificial. While there is a value to money and should not be squandered, it should not be worshiped. It is a tool in life. A vision comes from within and cannot be won or lost. It exists.

Winning elections with money is simple, but not rewarding. It does not bring people together. In working to win based on a vision, society is better served.

People engaged in a productive purpose made happy by the thought of achieving a higher goal can move mountains. This campaign is exactly that, a campaign that has self-motivated workers making an effort for a common cause.

On a personal note, I have never understood pride. I have long equated pride with vanity and wanted no part of it. Those who have worked with me here have taught me the true meaning of pride. Pride is not being proud of one’s self, but it is being proud of the ability of others. This, I have discovered, is the good side of pride, a side that up until this moment I had never realized.

I rarely express myself in emotional terms, but the feeling of pride I have in those who have spread the message in a positive and dedicated manner has moved me to this new awareness. I see that we can all work together to an end, not because a leader has told them to do so, but because they see in themselves the need to get to that end within a mutually respectful society. I am proud, proud of those who have shared this journey with me.

The winning of the election would be a remarkable feat, but win or lose, we have already accomplished much. We have inspired ourselves to think that we all have a wonderful power within that can be utilized to raise our awareness.

The underlying goal of this campaign is to win, but in attempting to reach that end, I have been afforded an opportunity to teach what I have gathered over the years in hope of transferring this knowledge to the next generation willing to take up the fight. The seeds have been planted and they have sprouted. I can rely on the fact that they will grow strong under the care of those who are the future.

While it is traditional to say that if we were to fail in the election that it was a great experience, I can say with all honesty that this election has taught an old dog a new trick. It has opened my eyes to the wonders of humanity. Much like a smile begets a smile in return, well meaning efforts will also be returned in the same light that they were bestowed.

We stand at a historical moment in time. If we are victorious, we will have demonstrated the power of the people to initiate a dramatic social change without money. It will hold much more significance than the election of the first (fill in the blank). It will be the point in time when we demonstrated that the people have caused a peaceful revolution to restore our fundamental liberties.

The next three days will tell of our success or failure. There is no more time to write strategy or provide insight. It is time to act until the end. We are now ready to think and act as individuals united under a cause. If fortune favors us, there will be more lessons to share. If fortune favors our opponents, we will have more lessons to learn.

To those willing to take up the mantle in the future, I hope this crude guide serves you well.

Robert J. Healey, Jr.

October 29, 2014

The shifting field is causing unrest. There are some interesting numbers and some actions that are indicative of a movement in our favor.

The first is the recent public polling data. The most recent poll shows us gaining, moving from 9 to about 12 percent over eight to ten days. The polling results do not include the most recent debate. This is quite positive in many ways.

First, third party campaigns frequently lose numbers as the election day closes in. People grow more fearful of the potential change and return to the safety of their dysfunction. This is often difficult to overcome, but in this campaign, the numbers have improved almost by a third.

This, coupled with the fact that third party polling is often inaccurate, that the undecided vote swings greater in the favor of alternatives, and that the polls themselves are not so accurate in that there are many people who won’t admit support for alternatives, all goes to a good sign.

The second good sign is that the support for the Democrat candidate is slipping, dramatically and with a vengeance. This fluid support, coupled with a strong no-return to the fold, is where the election will be won or lost.

The fact that the support has temporarily made camp with the Republican candidate is interesting. This support will up and leave given the proper motivation. The Republicans know this and have been working the fear lines quite hard, along with several pleas for us to simply drop out.

The programmed calls by volunteers claiming that they truly believe that we are the most intelligent, most likeable, best candidate, is usually then followed, but I cannot vote for him because he cannot possibly win. It is the political equivalent to the big lie, said over and over to get people to believe it.

The point is that if the Republicans really believed that the polls show them winning, they would not be so rabid about the need to clear the field.

From a strategy point of view, it could read that while they had a recent bump in the polling, the increase is not firm support. The internal polling of the funded candidates must be indicating that this support needs to be kept in the camp as captives, knowing their tendency to wander.

The fluid nature of this Republican support is ripe for taking. Many have left the Democrat camp, moving to the safety of the Republican, yet finding it doesn’t truly fit there. These people, if they grow more and more convinced that they will not vote for either, will consider the third alternative.

The late debates and limited numbers make it more likely for them to come to this position at the last minute, a factor that is almost beyond the control of the major parties.

In short, the mobilizing of the campaign forces to attempt to secure the new arrivals, coupled with the need to secure the base with “endorsements” and visits by candidates, is indicative that their internals are showing this abnormality.

My gut tells me that we are moving up, that their support is fluid at best, that there is greater slippage to be had as the debates show a reasonable alternative, and that the ball reaches critical mass just before the election.

This, coupled with last minute mistakes and random fire of unanswered questions, will create a difficult field to pass with safety. This vulnerability will prove itself. The issue is whether or not it all makes for a rout or for an upset.

October 27, 2014

It was a most interesting day today. I went to speak at Laurelmead and had a wonderful conversation with a dozen or so residents. It was a discussion of the problems facing the state and nation and it heartened me that people were still interested in political discussion.

Perhaps the most telling was a woman who approached me after the discussion and said to me that when I came in, my physical presence scared her, but after listening to me, she had become very comfortable with me. I don’t bite unless provoked.

The provocation came later in the day. I had grown quite upset about Channel 6’s determination to change the debate format one day before the event. The change would exclude the segment where candidates could pose questions to each other. It was replaced by an extended segment of questions from the voters.

While it all sounds so innocuous, it did gall me. Not only had I prepared for this segment, the other candidates are so scripted and managed by their handlers to recite their lines like a professional actor, I thought that it would be interesting to be able to engage in give and take over serious matters and not just what campaign ads they were running against each other.

I readily admit I do see this give and take as an advantage to me and so the sudden change in format has forced me to play into their hands once again. The questions will more than likely demand rote answers, which they are quite proficient in producing.

I cannot sit as a guest at another ‘debate’ (what I call a glorified press conference). I now must choose to enter my questions into the meat of the debate. It will seem stilted, and it may even seem to be a slight bit rude, but there is no option.

I will not be marginalized again, or at least without a fight. I have always respected the media’s rules and made accommodations where it seemed reasonable to do so.

To change the format so radically, I cannot honor a contract that the other party has unilaterally renegotiated after it was agreed to as proposed. In short, if there is no honoring of their commitment, I cannot be expected to honor my end.

The strategy here is to determine whether or not this is a battle worthy of a fight. In my mind, it is. It could well prove a large mistake, but it is here that this campaign is destined to engage.

I have issued a press release to call attention to this matter and I have included the e-mails between the station and me so that you can determine for yourself whether or not I have made a rationale move. These items can be found in our document section. I will try to get to discuss this fully later.

More preparation to do as the engagement looms.