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Meet the Only Independent Governor: Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island

by Michael Higham, published


The nation's governors will convene this weekend in As of today, Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee is the lone Independent governor. He was a Republican Senator from 2000 to 2006. After his first full six-year term, he renounced his membership of the Republican Party and became Independent. In the 2010 gubernatorial race, he won and is the only Independent governor in America at the moment. Here are 10 facts about Governor Chafee that highlight his work as a politician:

- Although a former Republican, Chafee supported President Obama in the 2008 election. Chafee is also a co-chair of President Obama's re-election campaign.

- Chafee is a proponent of the Affordable Healthcare Act.

- In recent news, Curt Schilling's video game company 38 Studios went bankrupt. Schilling places the blame on Chafee for denying a $5 million tax credit. The company claims the denial scared investors away from the company.

- Chafee signed a state law that decriminalizes possession of marijuana. The law goes into effect on April 1st, 2013.

- The Homeless Bill of Rights was enacted by Rhode Island last month which prohibits the discrimination of homeless people.

- As a Republican Senator, Chafee voted against George W. Bush's authorization for the invasion of Iraq in 2002.

- Chafee ordered Rhode Island, where same-sex marriages are illegal, to recognize same-sex marriages that were performed out of state.

- Chafee was a member of Republicans for Environmental Protection, now known as ConservAmerica.

- The New York Times endorsed Chafee in his 2010 campaign for Rhode Island's governorship.

- As Senator, Chafee also opposed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. He is pro-choice in his stance on abortion and believes that abortion law should be left to states.

Governor Chafee is facing low approval ratings and a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. He will travel to the National Governors Association's annual meeting to be held this weekend. At this time of high polarization in the political spectrum, perhaps voters will look to Independent politicians for leadership positions when election time comes.

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