Educators, parents, children, and the citizens of Rhode Island will greatly miss state Representative Paul Crowley, who died on Monday. State Education Commissioner Peter McWalters described the Newport Democrat this way to the ProJo: “What a giant. He was a warrior for kids and a warrior for justice and a warrior for fairness.”
In real life, Crowley was the owner of La Forge Casino Restaurant in Newport, which P&J have frequented and where we occasionally enjoyed a drink with the late representative. Phillipe also worked with Paul, and his wonderful and equally feisty and kids-oriented wife, Diana, on education issues. As McWalters’s exaltation makes clear, Crowley was the go-to guy on education issues in the General Assembly, always pressing for measures that would improve learning for children throughout the state.
Paul was also a good Fifth Ward Irishman, with a shock of white hair that would have made Fightin’ Bob LaFollette envious, and he pushed St. Patrick Day’s in Newport like a traveling salesman with a Guinness in his hand. His work on tourism in the City by the Sea was enormous, and he was rightly proud of his hometown.
Paul will also have a place in P&J’s heart for how he started in local politics. He lost twice initially in races for a city council seat, the second time because he was anti-Vietnam war while at URI, a character-plus in our world. He then did his city the favor of winning election to the House in 1981, to fill a vacated seat, against the belle dame of Bellevue Avenue, Eileen “Jurassic Spice” Slocum, and then whipped the GOP’s favorite dowager again a year later. He held the seat from that point on.
Our hearts go out to Diana and the Crowley family. Little Rhody needs more of Paul’s kind, the full two bob of brains, and piss and vinegar. They’ll be toasting you at the Irish-American Club on Thames Street, Paul.
A Man With A Plan
He’s the man
With a plan
Got a counterfeit dollar
In his hand
Phillipe + Jorge would never accuse our longtime friend Jona¬than “Lars” Stevens of passing phony bills or being a know-it-all, but he usually does have some sort of plan rattling around in his cranium. That no doubt being the reason, the City of Newport recently tabbed him to be its first economic development director, a newly created position.
Jon, an early cohort at Casa Diablo who comes from a post as interim executive director of Preserve Rhode Island, is best known for his work as the right-hand man of his close friend, Senator Linc Chafee, and as director of Chafee’s Newport office. He worked there to have Newp named a World Heritage destination, which would certainly bump up the local economy. He also served with Linc in the City of Warwick, as planning director, before both moved on to the bright lights of the senatorial whirl.
Old boy Lars is rarely seen without his trademark bow tie, and he told a reporter that there is a “high quotient” of those who favor the same in Newport. P&J’s also have a lot of friends in the City by the Sea who shout out to men in uniform, “Hello, sailor!,” but that doesn’t mean that we recommend this to everyone.
We do think Mr. Stevens is one of the best and the brightest, and Newport is lucky to have him, bowtie, Topsiders, and all. He’ll fit right in.