Ashley Kalus is the Republican Candidate for Governor of Rhode Island. Image Credit: Ashley Kalus

When the Communications Director for GOP gubernatorial candidate Ashley Kalus asked What’sUpNewp if we could schedule Kalus for a WUN videocast we were anxious to comply.

The request came shortly before the primary election, and we said we wanted to schedule the videocast after the primary, focusing our immediate coverage on what was a very spirited Democratic gubernatorial primary race.

We scheduled the interview for Sept. 20, but the day before Matt Hanrahan, the communications director, emailed canceling. Later he noted on Twitter that the What’sUpNewp interview was the only cancelation for the day.

We reached out to Hanrahan to reschedule, both by email and phone, and in a phone conversation, he promised to talk to the scheduler and come up with another date. Since then we have emailed and telephoned Hanrahan on several occasions and have not had a return email or phone call.

It is unusual to air these conversations publicly, but we also have an obligation to our readers and viewers, and we had promoted we would air this interview. Without any return email or phone call, we are at a loss to understand why the interview was canceled, why it was not rescheduled, and if there is any intention of rescheduling.

In our promotion for the interview, we were specific about some of the areas we wanted to explore with the Republican gubernatorial candidate. Here’s what we said: 

Our hope was to explore some of the critical issues facing Rhode Island, including:

  • Her plans for improving educational outcomes in Rhode Island and teacher retention.
  • Her plans to expand affordable housing in Rhode Island.
  • Her position on gun control, and any reforms she might offer.
  • Her position on women’s reproductive rights. She has said she’s pro-life and that since the legislature has already codified Roe v. Wade that should not be an issue. However, left unsettled is the use of Medicaid funds for abortion, addressing some of our lower-income residents.
  • How she plans to address issues related to climate change and energy sources.
  • Her position on immigration and how she would handle a situation if a southern governor dropped undocumented immigrants on Rhode Island’s doorstep.
  • Her view on the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington and the work of the Jan. 6 Congressional Committee.
  • Whether she supports former President Donald Trump, and how she views the Justice Department’s pursuit of government records that were in possession of the former president.
  • Clarification of her Rhode Island connections, and business dealing with the state. She moved to Newport last year and registered to vote in January.
  • Whether she plans to make women’s issue a key part of her campaign. On Twitter, both Kalus and the GOP chairperson accused Gov. Dan McKee of disrespecting women. 
  • And, we’d like to know her view whether campaign finance reform is necessary. She’s loaned her campaign $2.7 million and on her web page has said “money is the mother’s milk,” touting how she has considerably more cash on hand that McKee.

We also planned on asking your questions:

  • How long have you lived in Rhode Island?”
  • “Please state clearly your abortion stance.” And related to that: “Please clarify what steps you intend to take as Governor to change Rhode Island’s permissive laws on abortions.”
  • “Please state your view of Jan. 6 and the current immigration abuses by other governors. What will you do within the Republican party to address the Trump cult issue?
  • “As the OCEAN state, would you encourage tapping into tidal power & wave energy” Doesn’t it make more sense.”

We remain hopeful that we can schedule Ashley Kalus for one or more videocasts. Gov. McKee has appeared during the primary election and at other instances before the primary campaign. We are also reaching out to the governor with a list of questions about some of the very same issues.

More on election 2022


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Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.