June 25, 2014

This seems like a good time to bring up my disclaimer:  Mark Rubin Writes belongs to me, and not to the terrific law firm, Mesch, Clark & Rothschild, P.C., with which I am affiliated. Opinions are mine alone, and if they happen to be shared by anyone at my law firm, that is happenstance.

Why I am disclaiming? I’m using my space to commend two fine men who want the thankless job of running states in the United States of America. Many men and women are running for office in 2014. Many are fine people; some are not, and some are just plain awful. I’m writing about two men because, as it happens, I go back pretty far with both of them.

Let’s travel first to Rhode Island, where Clay Pell aka Herbert Claiborne Pell IV wants to be the next governor. He’s a Democrat, and that means winning the primary likely makes him Rhode Island’s new governor.

I’ve known Clay since he was a little boy. (He’s 32 now, and married to skater Michelle Kwan.) His father Bertie was a close friend for almost 20 years, until he died young in 1999, and his mom, Genii is still a good friend. His grandfather Claiborne, who represented Rhode Island in the Senate from 1960 until 1996, was a friendly acquaintance, a gentleman (and a gentle man), and the man whose signature achievement—Pell Grants, which have helped provide higher education for tens of millions of Americans (including, I’m pretty sure, yours truly)—allows us to forget the fact that he gets credit for the creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Clay has many accomplishments for someone so young. He’s a Harvard grad, has a law degree from Georgetown, has Coast Guard and White House experience, and also worked briefly in the U.S. Department of Education.

Clay is a moderate Democrat. He gets the fact that being successful as a governor requires a partnership between government and business, and that the old style battles solve no problems.

I’ve been watching Clay Pell’s campaign from afar, and have donated some money. My old friends’ son will have to prove his bona fides to Rhode Island voters. So far, from what I’ve seen, I think he’s making the case. For more information and to provide support, go to

Returning home, we have one Democrat, Fred DuVal, who is running to replace Governor Jan Brewer. Fred and I overlapped by one year at Tucson High School, and knew each other a bit because we were Speech Squad teammates.

Skipping ahead, Fred has had an impressive career. Yes, he got that law degree from Arizona State University. Thereafter, he worked for Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt, and was the Deputy Chief of Protocol for the U.S. Department of State during the Clinton Administration, and later served as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for President Clinton, a job that actually deals really directly with how states interface with the federal government. More recently, he was a member of the Arizona Board of Regents.

Advocating for Fred DuVal is easy. First, his entire career has led him to this moment. Second, look at his opposition. Do we really want more of the same, or worse, for another four or eight years? Finally, Fred is a nice guy who still recalls from where he has come. (Like Clay Pell, he holds moderate views, and also gets the fact that old battles and dichotomies take us into rabbit holes.)

I have also supported Fred’s campaign. For more information about Fred DuVal and his campaign, and to provide support, go to

In closing, I can tell you about many other great candidates in 2014. I won’t, and expect that this will be my only post of this kind during this election cycle. I wanted to share their stories because I want to provide a bit of help to my old friends, they’re good men, and they have put themselves out there, which is no small thing.

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