Plategate on Face the State

The issue of the low digit license plates issued by Jodi Rell in the final days of her governorship is one of the topics this weekend on “Face the State” on Channel 3.     Hartford Courant columnist and the author of the blog “Daily Ructions” Kevin Rennie broke the story and discusses what he learned.

Low digit license plates are considered the ultimate sign of political connection.   For years they have been doled out by governors to aides and family.    Maybe there is a belief that if someone with plate number, let’s say  75 is pulled over,  he or she won’t be given a ticket because the officer presumes that person knows someone high up.   Who knows?

What angered some of our viewers about the Rell case is that plates were given to family members of aides.   No one seems to care that plates were given to the governor herself, or longtime state workers, but plates were given to the in-laws of Governor Rell’s son.  Their contributions to the state are unknown.   No word if Rell awarded retired Senator Chris Dodd with a plate for his 36 years of service to the state.

We are familar with low digit plates in our family.  My father-in-law, former Rhode Island governor Bruce Sundlun,  has a low digit plate that he is quite proud of.   It belonged to his father, a senate candidate in the 1950s.    As Bruce aged and his driving skills were questioned, that memorable plate worked against him.   People recognized it immediately.  Wisely, he eventually decided he was too old to drive and turned in his license.

Kara and I got a four digit license plate a few years back.  Anyone can get one at the DMV.  We paid a little extra and a few years ago got rid of it.  It wasn’t worth the extra money and everybody knows where you are.     I didn’t see the point of having it.

Tune in this Sunday at 11 for Face the State.    The interview was taped Thursday night when plategate was just beginning to percolate.

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5 replies »

  1. I grew up in Brookline MA. At that time low number plates were very valuable. My father received his license in 1919 so his plate number was very low. My sister got his number when he died. Later she got a lower number from her boss.When she attempted to pass my father’s number on to a close friend, she had quite a tussle with Registry of Motor Vehicles because those numbers were very valuable political plums.


  2. What is ironic and SO TYPICAL in this state is that the HEAD OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY is outraged that this got out to the press and is upset that someone in the new governors administration responded to a reporter’s request.

    So, the republicans are outraged at transparency, honesty and the fact that the new administration gave the answers to Rennie?

    C’mon HEALY, THAT IS THE OUTRAGE? Not the fact that this happened/happens and Moody pushed plates on people and the Governor’s son’s in-laws got plates.

    WHAT A BS ARTIST this HEALY is. We need new republican leadership…no wonder why we can’t win. HE IS UPSET because Rennie found out…HOW IRONIC!


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