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Former RI governor and U.S. attorney Lincoln Almond dies at age 86

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Lincoln Almond, a two-term former Republican governor of Rhode Island and long-time U.S. attorney in the state, has passed away. He…

Lincoln Almond, a two-term former Republican governor of Rhode Island and long-time U.S. attorney in the state, has passed away. He turned 86.

Almond died Monday, according to an obituary on the Avery-Storti Funeral Home & Crematory website. No cause of death was given.

As governor from 1995 to 2003, Almond expanded health care and day care options for children, increased funding to modernize neglected state college campuses, and overhauled the state Department of Economic Development to help diversify the economy and create tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. the state.

He also successfully fought attempts to bring casinos and other extensive gambling facilities to the state.

Current Governor of Rhode Island, Democrat Dan McKee, ordered the flags at all state facilities and buildings lowered to half-staff in Almond’s honor.

“Governor Almond, the first governor to serve a four-year term, often said his main goal was to make Rhode Island a place where people wanted to work and raise a family,” McKee said in a statement. “Whether it was expanding the number of state-subsidized childcare seats, increasing educational aid, investing in Rhode Island’s higher education institutions, creating thousands of high-paying jobs and laying the foundations for Quonset to to be the economic engine it is today – Rhode Island was better off for his eight years as governor.”

Almond served as a U.S. attorney for more than 20 years, from 1969 to 1978 and from 1981 to 1993. He made a name for himself with a string of political charges and drug convictions, including busting an extensive money laundering ring for Colombian drug lords.

Current U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha said in a statement that Almond was “the scourge of organized crime.”

“As Attorney of the United States, Lincoln C. Almond led by example: whether he is handling cases or fearlessly investigating organized crime and corruption, he set a standard for this office that continues to resonate to this day,” he said.

Almond’s political career got off to a humble start when he was appointed in 1963 to serve an unexpired two-year term as Lincoln city manager. He failed the first bids for the U.S. House in 1968 and for governor in 1978.

He was the longshot that paid off in the 1994 gubernatorial campaign, defeating a sitting congressman, Rep. Ron Machtley, defeated in the GOP primaries. He defeated Senator Myrth York of the Democratic state in the general election.

“He concluded his career with eight years as governor, always demonstrating dignity and compassion as he worked in a bipartisan way to accomplish so much for the people of Rhode Island,” House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi said in a statement Tuesday.

Allan Fung, a two-time Republican candidate for Governor of Rhode Island, and State Representative Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung said in a joint statement that Almond was a kind man and a leader who led the rebirth of Rhode Island’s institutions of higher learning. led.

“He was extremely funny with a hearty laugh, and always had a great way of seeing the big picture and being a long-term thinker,” the pair said.

Almond was proud to be the first elected governor of the University of Rhode Island. Growing up in working-class Central Falls, Almond was well aware of the importance of a good education. He often said that he might never have been elected governor had he not been able to attend state university.

He graduated from Central Falls High School and received a law degree from Boston University.

In retirement, Almond cheered on his URI Rams basketball team, walked endless miles with his wife on the beaches of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, where they also owned a home, and took pride in tending his lawn.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marilyn Almond, as well as a son, daughter and five grandchildren.

Almond’s funeral arrangements are private.

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Associated Press writer Jennifer McDermott in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.

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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.