Providence Journal-Bulletin

Laborers' District Council Gives Its Nod To Almond

Oct. 7, 1998

The Rhode Island Laborers' District Council announced its endorsement of Governor Almond yesterday, marking the second time the union has broken ranks with the Rhode Island AFL-CIO to back the Republican governor. The union, which is an arm of the Laborers' International Union of North America, also backed Almond in 1994.

"His performance over the four years satisfies us," said Ronald M. Coia, business manager of the Rhode Island council. "He's done very well for us in the area of construction."

Coia cited Almond's support of the Providence Place mall, which has added 125 new Laborers' union positions and promises many more. State employees represented by the union also have received a fair shake from Almond's administration, Coia said.

"We think he did the job for us," he said.

Almond secured the union endorsement after meeting with LIUNA General President Arthur Coia (Ron Coia's cousin) in Newport last month.

The governor, a former U.S. attorney, has courted the Laborers' endorsement despite highly publicized allegations of mob influence in the union. Almond campaign manager Edward Morabito said the governor is not worried that cozying up to a union with a less-than-savory reputation will hurt the governor.

"The endorsement reflects the fact that the Laborers, as an organization, believes that the governor has done a good job for the working people of Rhode Island," Morabito said.

"The vast majority of Rhode Islanders know Lincoln Almond, know his record. This has nothing do with problems they may have had, or allegations that may have been made."

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