Alarm co. owner next Governor of Rhode Island?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
WARWICK, R.I.--Alarm company owner Joseph Trillo is mulling a bid for governor of Rhode Island and he says his experience running a business for the past 30 years is one of his most important qualifications for the job. 
In addition to running Triple A Custom Alarm Systems, Trillo has served as State Representative from Warwick for the past nine years. “One of the problems in the Legislature is that there are not enough business people, especially people who have run small businesses,” he said. This experience “helps tremendously,” he said. 
Rhode Island’s current governor, Republican Don Carcieri, cannot run for reelection in 2010. Three Democrats and one independent are considering running for Carcieri’s seat. Trillo is the only Republican who has expressed an interest in running.
Trillo created an exploratory committee and expects to make a final decision by September. With $60,000 in his campaign war chest, Trillo has more cash on hand than most of his legislative colleagues. However, Trillo’s likely Democratic opponents have substantially more money. According to the Providence Journal, State Treasurer Frank Caprio has $1.2 million, Attorney General Patrick Lynch has $418,917 and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts has $302,103.
Rep. Trillo is not worried about fundraising. “I’m not concerned. The money will come once I commit,” he said. More than 700 people have contributed to Trillo’s campaigns in the past “and a lot of those people have told me that they’re willing to give me a lot more money.” Among some of his staunchest supporters, he said, are others in the alarm industry.
The Boston Herald described Trillo as a “public access TV host best known for his outbursts.” Asked about this, he said he considers his outspoken nature a plus. “Sure. When I get pushed far enough I’ll outburst at you. Put it this way, I’m not one of the pansies in politics.” Trillo hosts two public access television shows, “Trillo Talks” and “Issues and Ideas,” which air statewide.
He considers himself an advocate for taxpayers and believes the unions are the root of many of the state’s financial problems. 
Trillo served as president of the Rhode Island Alarm Association in the 1970s and was one of the founders of the New England Alarm Convention. He has worked for the interests of the alarm industry in the Legislature, notably with fire code reforms. 
His message to the alarm industry is to pay attention to what’s going on in government. A good way to do that is through state associations, he said. “Things can slip by [in the Legislature] and you don’t know about it until it’s too late. It’s much easier to stop something when it’s a bill … once it’s enacted it’s 10 times harder.”