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Rhode Island political news: November 2022

Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee delivers his State of the State address to lawmakers and guests in the House Chamber at the Statehouse, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, in Providence, R.I.Stew Milne/Associated Press

Nov. 30, 2022

McKee and family to attend R.I. State House tree lighting

Governor Daniel J. McKee and the first family will attend the annual State House holiday celebration and tree lighting on Wednesday evening.

The event begins at 5 p.m. at the State House at 82 Smith St. in Providence. The inside tree in the rotunda, where the lighting will take place, is the artificial tree that has been used for the last several years, a spokesman said. The outside tree was donated by Big John Leyden’s Christmas Tree Farm and Nursery, in West Greenwich.

Nov. 17, 2022

Langevin bill would allow lithium-ion battery-powered wheelchairs on planes

US Representative James R. Langevin on Thursday introduced a bill to prevent airlines from discriminating against those who use lithium-ion battery-powered wheelchairs.

Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat who is the first quadriplegic elected to Congress, was prevented from boarding a flight in August while traveling to Italy to visit American military bases as part of a congressional delegation. The ticket agent for Lufthansa told him he couldn’t bring his FAA-compliant iBOT wheelchair on the flight because its lithium ion batteries went against the airline’s policies, which are intended to prevent overheating and fires.

The Working to Help Ensure Equity for Lithium-ion-powered Chairs on Airplanes Act, also known as the WHEELChairs on Airplanes Act, would ensure that no airline is able to impose overly restrictive guidelines regarding lithium-ion powered assistive devices beyond the FAA’s pre-existing comprehensive safety standards.

”It’s outrageous that airlines are making up their own rules that block wheelchair users from traveling with FAA-compliant mobility devices,” Langevin said in a statement. “If airlines can deny boarding to members of Congress on a government trip, I shudder at the thought of what could happen to people with disabilities traveling for vacation, visiting family, or flying for work.”

Langevin, co-founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, said “As lithium-ion battery powered wheelchairs become the industry standard for people with disabilities, we must take action to stop airlines from enforcing these arbitrary and discriminatory practices. All people deserve to travel with safety and dignity, and Americans with disabilities are no exception.”

Nov. 9, 2022

US DOJ and RI State Police say no reports of problems at R.I. polling places

Despite fears of voter intimidation and other problems on Election Day, the Rhode Island State Police and the US Department of Justice said Tuesday evening there were no issues reported at any of Rhode Island’s polling places.

The state police and the US Attorney’s office in Rhode Island said that there were no reports of problems. The US Department of Justice, which had civil rights officials monitoring compliance with federal voting rights laws in Pawtucket and 63 jurisdictions in 23 other states, also said there were no issues.

And, although in other states, some Republicans were running as election deniers and saying they would refuse to concede if they lost, Rhode Island state GOP chairwoman Sue Cienki said the election results would “absolutely” be respected.

In an interview last week, Cienki said that she encourages people to get involved in the elections process.

“I’ve been adamant from the get-go, if you’re not partaking in the process, not volunteering, you get caught up in the nonsense,” Cienki said. “We tell people, be a poll worker. When they take part, they have much more confidence in the process.”

She commended the state Board of Elections for running a transparent system. Cienki said she tells people, “If you believe in democracy, participate in the process.”

By Amanda Milkovits

Nov. 7, 2022

Human Rights Campaign and other groups endorse Cicilline

The Human Rights Campaign and other groups that advocate for democratic rights on Monday endorsed US Representative David N. Cicilline’s for re-election.

Cicilline, a Democrat, is facing Republican Allen R. Waters in the Tuesday’s general election.

Besides the Human Rights Campaign, the groups include End Citizens United, the Progressive Turnout Project, Defend the Vote, the Victory Fund, and Equality PAC.

Joni Madison, interim president of the Human Rights Campaign, called Cicilline “an exceptional public servant, a groundbreaking lawmaker and one of the most effective members of Congress.”

“As one of the leading gay members of Congress, his sponsorship of the Equality Act and efforts to ensure its passage in the House of Representatives are building a foundation for what will one day be a law that ensures federal protections so that LGBTQ+ people can live free from fear of harassment and discrimination,” Madison said. “He’s also a staunch pro-choice advocate and a strong voice for Rhode Island in Congress.”

Alex Morgan, executive director of Progressive Turnout Project, said Cicilline is among those “leading the charge for change in Washington.”

“David is focused on creating a level playing field for working Americans and their families, championing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and Equality Act,” Morgan said. “And in the wake of the January 6th insurrection, David has been a leader in defending our democracy, supporting the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”

Sean Meloy, vice president of political programs for the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said it has never been more important to defend the “pro-choice, pro-equality majority” in Congress.

“From fighting for critical non-discrimination legislation to defending access to reproductive health care, David has consistently proven one of our best champions,” Meloy said. “With the future of LGBTQ equality on the ballot, we are proud to continue supporting David’s work to deliver real results for Rhode Islanders and our entire community.”

Cicilline said he was honored to have the endorsements.

“Our fundamental democratic rights as Americans are under attack by today’s Republican Party,” he said. “Rights as fundamental as our right to vote or to live openly as we truly are. These are the foundational concepts of our nation, and I will resist any attempt to roll back these efforts to strip Americans of their voice and essential protections.”

Nov. 4, 2022

Monday is last day for early voting in R.I.

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea is reminding voters that the last day for early voting for Rhode Island’s Nov. 8 general election is Monday.

Voters who wish to vote early must do so by 4 p.m. on Monday. Voters should verify the early voting hours and location for their community and are encouraged to reach out to their local board of canvassers with any questions they may have. A complete early voting guide is available at vote.ri.gov.

Any Rhode Island voter who still has a mail ballot is encouraged to return it using secure election drop boxes located in every community. Mail ballots for the general election must be received by election officials by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters can use the drop box finder to locate the drop box closest to them and track the status of their mail ballot online at vote.ri.gov.

Nov. 1, 2022

Rhode Islanders urged to use drop boxes for mail ballots

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea on Tuesday recommended that Rhode Islanders begin using drop boxes if they plan to vote by mail ballot.

Mail ballots for the Nov. 8 general election must be received – not postmarked – by 8 p.m. on Election Day, and the US Postal Service recommends mailing ballots at least seven days before the election to ensure it arrives on time, Gorbea said.

“At this point, using a secure election drop box is the best way to ensure that your mail ballot is received in time,” Gorbea said. “As long as your mail ballot is in an election drop box by 8 p.m. on Nov. 8, it will be counted.”

All election drop boxes in Rhode Island are under surveillance 24 hours a day. They are emptied daily by local boards of canvassers and the mail ballots are transported to the state Board of Elections.

Voters can use any of the election drop boxes across the state to return their mail ballot. Voters can use Secretary Gorbea’s drop box finder to locate the drop box closest to them and track the status of their mail ballot online at vote.ri.gov.

Voting from home is one of the three secure options Rhode Islanders have for casting a ballot. Voters who did not apply for a mail ballot have the choice of voting early or voting at the polls on Election Day. Learn more about each of these voting options at vote.ri.gov.

Also, the Elections Division has added a new feature to the Voter Turnout Tracker data visualization tool that tracks the volume of early voters by date, by time of day, and by city or town. Users may filter the early voter turnout data to see hourly and daily vote totals at either the statewide or individual city or town level.

Oct. 28, 2022

Giffords’ gun-safety PAC endorses R.I. Governor McKee

The Giffords PAC, a gun safety group founded by former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, on Friday endorsed Governor Daniel J. McKee for a four-year term.

McKee, a Democrat, is running against Republican Ashley Kalus in the Nov. 8 generation election, along with three independent candidates — Elijah Gizzarelli, Zachary Hurwitz, and Paul Rianna.

Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, was shot in the head but survived an assassination attempt in January 2011 and has become an outspoken gun-control advocate.

“Governor McKee has long been a staunch advocate in the fight to end gun violence in Rhode Island and has delivered real results that will ensure the safety of communities across his state,” Giffords said in a statement. “After the tragic shooting of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, Governor McKee responded by supporting and swiftly signing a critical package of bills to keep dangerous weapons off the streets and out of the hands of those who would seek to do harm.”

In June, McKee signed three bills that limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds, prohibit the open carry of long guns in public, and raise the age from 18 to 21 to buy long guns and ammunition.

“Rhode Island has one of the nation’s lowest gun death rates, and Governor McKee’s leadership will be critical to maintaining this status in the years to come,” Giffords said. “We are proud to stand beside him in his bid for reelection.”

McKee thanked Giffords for the endorsement. “Rhode Island needs leadership that will continue fighting to end gun violence and pass smart gun safety laws to keep Rhode Islanders safe.”

Oct. 27, 2022

Correctional officers union endorses Diossa for R.I. treasurer

The Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers is endorsing former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa for state treasurer, Diossa’s campaign announced Thursday.

Diossa, a Democrat, is facing Republican James L. Lathrop, North Kingstown’s finance director, in the Nov. 8 general election.

“Having served as mayor of Central Falls during eight tumultuous years, you have proven to be a leader,” union President Richard Ferruccio said. “Your successful efforts to navigate Central Falls out of bankruptcy and to bring Central Falls’ pension system into the Municipal Employees Retirement System have been commendable.”

Ferruccio called Diossa “a young and inspiring leader for our state,” telling him, “We look forward to working with you when elected on issues important to the citizens of Rhode Island and the men and women we represent.”

Diossa told Ferruccio, “It is an honor to have your support and to continue to work with your union and members to make Rhode Island better for all. The best happens when everyone is at the table.”

Oct. 27, 2022

DCCC poll shows Magaziner tied with Fung in R.I. Second Congressional District race

A new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll shows Democrat Seth Magaziner and Republican Allan W. Fung dead even in Rhode Island’s closely watched Second Congressional District race.

Both Magaziner and Fung received 48 percent of the vote in the DCCC Analytics survey of 812 likely voters Oct. 23-24, while 5 percent remain undecided. The margin of error is plus or minute 3.4 percentage points, according to a polling memo that did not include the full survey.

But the DCCC poll did not include Moderate Party candidate William Gilbert, and that is significant because a Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll released on Oct. 11 showed Fung leading Magaziner, 45 percent to 37 percent, while Gilbert had 5 percent.

In a statement Wednesday, the DCCC claimed the new poll shows “a much-hyped Republican pickup opportunity in Rhode Island slipping away as Seth Magaziner has begun consolidating his base in this Democratic district.

“The political environment in this district shows that Fung faces heavy headwinds in Rhode Island with little opportunity to get to 50 percent,” the group said.

The poll found that within the Second Congressional District, Democratic Governor Daniel J. McKee leads Republican Ashley Kalus, 51 percent to 44 percent, with 4 percent undecided.

The statewide Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll had McKee leading Kalus, 46 percent to 36 percent, while none of the three independent candidates on the ballot — Elijah Gizzarelli, Zachary Hurwitz, and Paul Rianna — had topped 1.5 percent, and 14 percent were undecided.

Oct. 26, 2022

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kalus announces ‘Democrats for Ashley’ coalition

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ashley Kalus on Wednesday announced the creation of a “Democrats for Ashley” coalition.

Kalus is facing Democratic Governor Daniel J. McKee in the Nov. 8 general election, in addition to independent candidates Elijah Gizzarelli, Zachary Hurwitz, and Paul Rianna.

The leaders of the “Democrats for Ashley” coalition include former House Speaker Matthew J. Smith, former state Representative Joanne Giannini of Providence, former North Providence mayor Richard Fossa, North Providence Town Council member Ronald R. Baccala Jr., North Providence Town Council member Steven Loporchio, former Johnston Town Council member Stephen Macchioni, and former Warwick City Council member Kathleen Egan Usler.

“Republicans, Democrats, and independents are rallying behind my campaign,” Kalus said in a statement. “Momentum is growing by the day, and we’re building broad coalitions of support in every corner of the state. I’m thrilled to have the backing of so many Democrats who recognize that it is time to put people over party.”

Oct. 24, 2022

Former R.I. governor Almond endorses Kalus

Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Almond on Monday endorsed Republican Ashley Kalus for governor.

Kalus, a health care executive, is running against Democratic Governor Daniel J. McKee in the Nov. 8 general election.

Almond, a Republican, was governor from 1995 to 2003, and he served as US Attorney for Rhode Island.

“Speaking from experience, I cannot overstate the importance of having an ambitious and proven leader to serve as the chief executive and commander in chief of the state,” Almond said. “Ashley has a plan to reform our education system and provide children across the state with a world-class education, regardless of their zip code. She brings a fresh perspective to revitalize our economy, lower taxes for families struggling to make ends meet, and create a more competitive environment to help our small businesses thrive.”

Almond also said that Kalus is committed to transparent government. “She will usher in a new era of good governance that is focused on delivering efficient and quality services to all Rhode Islanders,” he said.

Kalus said she was “humbled” to have Almond’s support.

“In addition to being an incredibly kind and thoughtful man, Governor Almond was a beacon of leadership during his tenure,” she said. “We both share a vision of reducing the tax burden on Rhode Islanders and helping provide relief to families across the state. As governor, he was a champion of lowering the state income tax — and I look forward to building on that work.”

Oct. 24, 2022

Environmental groups endorse Magaziner for Congress

Clean Water Action, Climate Action RI, and the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund on Monday endorsed of Democrat Seth Magaziner for Congress.

Magaziner, the state treasurer, is running against former Cranston mayor Allan W. Fung, a Republican, for Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District seat in the Nov. 8 general election.

“Seth Magaziner has been a climate leader as general treasurer, supporting investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate resilience,” Clean Water Action Rhode Island State Director Jed Thorp said. “Rhode Island sends environmental champions to Washington, and we will be working to make sure that Seth Magaziner joins the delegation. Our climate future is on the ballot in 2022.”

Justin Boyan, of Climate Action Rhode Island, described Magaziner as “an honest, responsible, and successful steward of Rhode Island’s resources,” saying, “By contrast, Allan Fung has opposed protecting our climate, from the 2014 Resilient Rhode Island Act to the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.”

League of Conservation Voters Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Seth Magaziner has the proven track record of working to grow our clean energy economy and fighting for the solutions we need to combat the climate crisis. We are thrilled to endorse his campaign for Congress because we know he will continue to stand up for our environment and democracy and be a strong voice in Congress for clean energy, justice and jobs.”

Oct. 21, 2022

R.I. already has 5,200 early votes cast

More than 5,200 Rhode Islanders had cast their ballots through early voting and mail ballots as of 8 a.m. Friday, according to the secretary of state’s Voter Turnout Tracker data visualization tool.

Early voting began on Wednesday for Rhode Island’s Nov. 8 general election, and the latest tally is 5,199 early voters and 24 mail ballots.

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea said the state will once again provide daily updates on voter turnout. The Voter Turnout Tracker allows users to easily track how many votes have been cast in every Rhode Island town or city, down to the precinct level. Users can also explore how many votes have been cast by mail ballot or early in-person in each city, town, or precinct.

This information will be updated twice each day: once mid-day and again each evening after early in-person voting locations close for the day. The data displayed in the turnout tracker reflect the most up-to-date voting totals reported by each municipality. These numbers are preliminary and will not represent final turnout numbers.

“Voters, candidates, and the general public should be able to quickly access election turnout data that is clear and easy to understand,” Gorbea said. “This level of transparency shows that Rhode Island’s elections are an open process that voters can absolutely trust.”

Early in-person voting runs through 4 p.m. Nov. 7. Voters should verify the early voting hours and location for their community. A complete early voting guide is available at vote.ri.gov. Nearly 150,000 Rhode Islanders cast their ballots early in-person in the November 2020 general election, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all votes cast in the state.

Oct. 20, 2022

United Auto Workers endorse Diossa for R.I. treasurer

The United Auto Workers Region 9A RI CAP Council is endorsing former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

Diossa, a Democrat, is facing Republican James L. Lathrop, the North Kingstown finance director, in the Nov. 8 general election.

The United Auto Workers is one of the largest unions in North America, with more than 400,000 active members and more than 580,000 retired members. UAW’s Region 9A covers eastern New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Puerto Rico.

Diossa said he is grateful for UAW’s support.

“I know firsthand how much unions provide to their membership,” he said. “My dad was a long-time union member. The union — and the support it provided — ensured my family never missed a meal and always had a roof over our heads. Unions like UAW stand up for laborers across our state and ensure they have stable wages and fair employment conditions.”

Oct. 20, 2022

Environmental groups endorse Cicilline for Congress

Rhode Island Clean Water Action and the national League of Conservation Voters Action Fund on Thursday endorsed US Representative David N. Cicilline in the 1st Congressional District.

Cicilline, a Democrat, is facing Republican Allen R. Waters in the Nov. 8 general election.

“Congressman Cicilline is a leading environmental voice in Congress,” said Jed Thorp, Rhode Island state director with Clean Water Action. “He has been an advocate for renewable energy, environmental justice, and coastal resiliency and has advocated for federal legislation regulating toxic PFAS and protecting Rhode Island’s coast from off-shore drilling. We’re confident that he will continue to represent Rhode Islanders’ pro-environment values in Congress.”

“Representative David Cicilline is a steadfast leader who has proven his commitment to fighting for people and our environment over corporate polluters and their profits,” LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said. “The Ocean State is the proud home to so much natural beauty but also one of the most vulnerable states to climate change. We need more people like Representative Cicilline in Congress fighting for a healthier, greener, and more equitable future for all.”

Cicilline said he was honored to receive the endorsements.

“Rhode Island is an incredibly special place to call home,” he said. “Our coastlines and abundant natural resources require steadfast stewardship so that generations to come will be able to enjoy these national treasures. I’ll continue fighting in Congress to address climate change, protect our environment, and advance green energy.”

Oct. 18, 2022

Planned Parenthood endorses Magaziner for Congress

Planned Parenthood is endorsing Democratic state treasurer Seth Magaziner for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Magaziner is facing former Cranston mayor Allan W. Fung, a Republican, in the Nov. 8 general election.

“Anti-abortion politicians celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade and if they take over Congress, they could go as far as passing a national abortion ban that would take away reproductive rights for millions,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement.

“There is a very clear choice in this election between Seth Magaziner, a champion for reproductive rights who will fight for Rhode Island women, and Allan Fung, who opposed codifying Roe v. Wade into Rhode Island law and will vote to embolden extremists determined to take our country backward,” she said.

The Magaziner campaign emphasized that he was “a strong supporter” of the Reproductive Privacy Act, which Rhode Island enacted in 2019 to protect abortion rights.

Fung has said the Reproductive Privacy Act “went too far,” but he has said he opposes any national abortion ban.

The Rhode Island Right to Life Federal Political Action Committee is recommending — as opposed to endorsing — Fung “in view of the extreme pro-abortion stance of the Democratic National Committee and its congressional candidates in Rhode Island.”

Magaziner said he was honored to receive the Planned Parenthood endorsement. “Republicans in Washington are trying to turn back the clock on fundamental rights,” he said, “but together we can ensure that women are protected.”

Oct. 18, 2022

Utility Contractors Association endorses Fung for Congress

The National Utility Contractors Association on Tuesday endorsed former Cranston mayor Allan W. Fung for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Fung, a Republican, is facing Democratic state treasurer Seth Magaziner in the Nov. 8 general election.

The association, which represents more than 1,900 utility and excavation contractors, manufacturers and suppliers nationwide, cited Fung’s support for infrastructure projects.

“Supporting last year’s bipartisan infrastructure plan is another area where I have shown my willingness to cross party lines to buck my party’s leadership to support legislation that is in the best interest of Rhode Island,” Fung said in a statement.

The endorsement follows the release of Fung’s energy plan, which calls for restoring American energy independence, bringing back jobs from overseas, and lowering the cost of energy.

Oct. 18, 2022

Trades Council endorses Diossa for R.I. treasurer

The Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council on Tuesday endorsed Democrat James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

Diossa, a former Central Falls mayor, is facing Republican James L. Lathrop, the North Kingstown finance director, in the Nov. 8 general election.

The council is a coalition of 17 local trade unions with more than 10,000 members in and around Rhode Island.

“James Diossa’s path to success is deeply admired by the building trades,” council President Michael F. Sabitoni said. “He certainly knows the hard work it takes to be successful. In addition, his commitment to public service and our community is second to none. These skills were instrumental in guiding Central Falls out of bankruptcy. We have every confidence he will make a great general treasurer.”

Last week, Diossa visited the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 11, one of the unions affiliated with the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council.

“I was glad to visit with Council 11 and learn more about their trade,” Diossa said. “As general treasurer, I will stand alongside organized labor and work to build an environment of economic opportunity here at home.”

Oct. 17, 2022

In Rhode Island, early voting begins Wednesday

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea is reminding voters that early voting begins on Wednesday for Rhode Island’s Nov. 8 general elections.

Early voting will run from Wednesday through 4 p.m. Nov. 7. Voters should verify the early voting hours and location in their community and are encouraged to reach out to their local board of canvassers with any questions. A complete early voting guide is available at vote.ri.gov.

Nearly 150,000 Rhode Islanders cast their ballots early in-person in the November 2020 general election, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all votes cast in the state.

Oct. 17, 2022

Magaziner calls for Fung to return donations

Democrat Seth Magaziner’s congressional campaign on Monday called for Republican Allan W. Fung to return donations he received from Leonard Blavatnik, a Ukrainian-born industrial magnate who grew rich from decades-old Russian business deals.

Magaziner and Fung are squaring off in the Nov. 8 general election for the 2nd Congressional District seat that Democratic US Representative James R. Langevin is vacating.

The Magaziner campaign described Blavatnik as a “Russian oil oligarch,” linking to an article in The Guardian that describes him as “Britain’s richest man,” saying Blavatnik was born in the USSR but is now a US citizen with a residence in west London.

Magaziner’s campaign calls for Fung to return a $2,900 contribution from Blavatnik and $5,800 from Lewis Stahl, who was imprisoned for evading taxes on $21 million of business income.

“If it wasn’t bad enough that Allan Fung has been funding his campaign from some of the most extreme MAGA Republicans in the country, he is now also accepting from a Russian oligarch with ties to Vladimir Putin and a known tax cheat who just served a federal prison sentence for evading taxes on $21 million of income,” Magaziner campaign spokeswoman Patricia Socarras said. “Rhode Islanders cannot trust that Allan Fung will be looking out for them when he is cozying up to sleazy billionaires and tax cheats. He should reject these contributions immediately.”

The Fung campaign responded with a statement, saying, “Seth Magaziner’s campaign is in such a tailspin that he can’t even get the basic biographical information right on the people he’s using to desperately try deflecting from his full embrace of Nancy Pelosi’s agenda. While Seth is busy grasping at straws, Allan Fung remains laser focus on his comprehensive plan to tackle high home heating costs and skyrocketing inflation that is the direct result of the extreme Pelosi-Magaziner agenda.”

The Magaziner campaign noted that the Council on Foreign Relations faced criticism for accepting $12 million from Blavatnik for an internship program. “We regard this as another step in the longstanding effort of Mr. Blavatnik – who, as we explain below, has close ties to the Kremlin and its kleptocratic network – to launder his image in the West,” council members wrote in a 2019 letter.

A March 11 article in Politico says that donations from Blavatnik are beginning to attract unwanted attention. “Yet Democrats and Republicans are clinging to the campaign contributions he’s sprinkled across top politicians in both parties this election cycle and in years past – a lengthy list that includes Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s inaugural committee,” the article says.

In the 2022 election cycle, Blavatnik has given about $348,000 to a handful of congressional lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and GOP Senator Tom Cotton, Politico reported.

A 2018 Boston Globe article says the Blavatnik Family Foundation donated $200 million to the Harvard Medical School — the largest in school history — to support research into fundamental questions about human illness and health. “Blavatnik made his fortune in aluminum, oil, and gas after the fall of the Soviet Union and in 2011 bought the Warner Music Group,” the article says. “His philanthropy has sometimes raised eyebrows because of his alleged connections to Russian oligarchs.”

Oct. 14, 2022

Fraternal Order of Police backs Diossa for treasurer

The Rhode Island Fraternal Order of Police is endorsing former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

Diossa, a Democrat, is running against Republican James L. Lathrop in the Nov. 8 general election.

The Fraternal Order of Police is the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 364,000 members in more than 2,200 lodges. The Rhode Island chapter represents hundreds of law enforcement officers in state and local departments.

“It is an honor to have the backing of our state’s law enforcement officers, who represent a big portion of our first responders that work tirelessly,” Diossa said in a statement Friday.

Oct. 14, 2022

Fraternal Order of Police endorses Fung for Congress

The Fraternal Order of Police on Friday endorsed former Cranston mayor Allan W. Fung for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Fung, a Republican, is running against Democratic state treasurer Seth Magaziner in the Nov. 8 general election.

Fung said he was honored to receive the endorsement. “I proudly stand with the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, and their more than 364,000 members who work tirelessly on the front lines to make sure our communities are safe,” he said.

Earlier this week, Fung unveiled a plan for public safety focused on ensuring law enforcement personnel have resources, training, and support.

Oct. 14, 2022

Former State Police superintendent endorses Magaziner for Congress

Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, a former Rhode Island State Police superintendent, on Friday endorsed state treasurer Seth Magaziner for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Magaziner, a Democrat, is running against Republican Allan W. Fung, a former Cranston mayor, in the Nov. 8 general election.

Assumpico became the first woman to lead the State Police when former Governor Gina M. Raimondo appointed her in November 2016. She retired in January 2019.

“During my time as superintendent of the State Police, I found treasurer Magaziner to be a strong partner and supporter of law enforcement in our efforts to keep Rhode Islanders safe,” Assumpico said, “and I am proud to support him in this race for Congress.”

As treasurer, Magaziner worked with police officers across the state to help hundreds of victims of domestic violence relocate from their abusers with assistance from the Crime Victims Compensation Program in his office, helped pass gun legislation including “red flag” laws that empower police officers to temporarily confiscate firearms from individuals who are a danger to themselves or others, and strengthened the state’s pension system in which police officers and other first responders participate, the Magaziner campaign said.

In a statement, Magaziner said that in Congress, he would support funding for police departments to ensure there are enough police officers on the streets and that they have the equipment and support they need to do their jobs in service to the community.

Oct. 12, 2022

Shekarchi and Ruggerio endorse Diossa for treasurer

House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio on Wednesday endorsed former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

Diossa, a Democrat, is running against Republican James L. Lathrop, North Kingstown’s finance director, in the Nov. 8 general election.

Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, and Ruggerio, a North Providence Democrat, issued a joint statement, saying, “We worked closely with James Diossa when he served as mayor of Central Falls as he led the city through bankruptcy and on to firmer financial footing. He displayed strong leadership and made many improvements throughout his tenure as Mayor. We are confident he’ll continue this dedicated public service as general treasurer.”

Oct. 12, 2022

Internal poll shows Magaziner ‘neck and neck’ with Fung

Democratic congressional candidate Seth Magaziner on Wednesday released an internal poll memo that says he is “neck and neck” with Republican Allan W. Fung in the 2nd Congressional District race.

Fung leads Magaziner, 43 percent to 40 percent, which is within a 4.9 percentage point margin of error, according to the polling memo. Moderate Party candidate William Gilbert received 5 percent, while 12 percent remained undecided.

The Magaziner campaign sent out the memo one day after the release of a Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll that shows Fung leading Magaziner, 45 percent to 37 percent, with 5 percent going to Gilbert and 13 percent undecided.

The Mellman Group, a public opinion research and strategic advice firm based in Washington, D.C., conducted the cellphone/landline survey of 400 likely voters Oct. 1-4.

The memo says undecided voters “are disproportionately likely to break for Magaziner” since there are four times as many undecided Democrats as Republicans and those undecideds “are decidedly unfavorable” toward former President Donald Trump.

“With double-digit undecideds four weeks out, this is a wide-open race,” the memo says. “As voters learn more about Fung’s extreme record on abortion and other issues, Magaziner is well positioned for the final month in one of the most competitive races in the country.”

Oct. 11, 2022

Troopers Coalition endorses Fung

The National Troopers Coalition on Tuesday endorsed Republican Allan W. Fung for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Fung, a former Cranston mayor, is facing Democratic state treasurer Seth Magaziner in the Nov. 8 general election.

Fung said he is honored to have the endorsement, which follows the release of his plan for public safety.

“I proudly stand with the 40,000 state troopers and highway patrolmen who work tirelessly on the front lines to make sure our communities are safe,” he said. “I will continue to back the blue by and ensure that they have the resources to do their essential work.”

Thomas Mungeer, chairman of the National Troopers Coalition, said the group is “proud to stand with our law enforcement partners in Rhode Island in supporting” Fung’s candidacy.

Oct. 11, 2022

R.I. unions endorse Congressman Cicilline

Rhode Island labor unions on Tuesday endorsed Democratic US Representative David N. Cicilline for re-election in the 1st Congressional District.

Cicilline, who is facing Republican Allen R. Waters in the Nov. 8 general election, received the backing of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, the state’s federation of unions, representing about 80,000 workers.

“Congressman Cicilline continues to be a strong voice for union members in Congress, advocating for crucial pieces of legislation like the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, the Raise the Wage Act, and the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act,” said Patrick Crowley, secretary-treasurer of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO. “Working people across the state are proud to have David as our champion in Congress.”

Cicilline received the endorsement of the Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council, a coalition of 16 trade unions representing over 10,000 members in and around Rhode Island.

“Nobody in Congress works harder to protect our democracy and fight for working families than Representative Cicilline,” council President Michael Sabitoni said. “Our country needs leaders like him now more than ever.”

Cicilline was endorsed by the Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council, which represents more than 12,000 workers in the fields of construction, public service, healthcare and gaming.

“We look forward to another two years of partnership and collaboration with Congressman Cicilline, who has the extensive experience, fortitude, and clout to strengthen our state, our nation, our middle class, and the American Labor Movement as we know it,” Laborers’ International Union of North America general secretary-treasurer Armand Sabitoni said.

Cicilline also was endorsed by the National Education Association Rhode Island, representing 12,000 educators and state and municipal workers.

“I’m honored to have the endorsement of Rhode Island’s labor organizations, and I’m proud to stand up for our working families.” Cicilline said in a statement. “When unions are strong, America is strong. I will continue to fight in Congress to protect the right to organize, for living wages, and for safe working conditions.”

Union organizations that have endorsed Cicilline include the AFL-CIO of RI, Carpenters Local Union 330, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 99, IBEW Local 2323, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 11, Iron Workers Local 37, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA!) Local 271, Latino Construction Workers Association, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI), Plumbers & Pipefitters UA Local 51, Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council, RI Council 94, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, RI Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals (RIFTHP), Rhode Island State Association Of Firefighters, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) RI State Council, Sheet Metal Workers Local 17, Teamsters Local 251, United Auto Workers (UAW) Region 9A, United Farm Workers (UFW), United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 328, and the United Nurses & Allied Professionals (UNAP).

Oct. 11, 2022

R.I. mail ballot applications due Oct. 18

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea on Tuesday reminded Rhode Islanders they have until Oct. 18 to submit a mail ballot application to their local board of canvassers for the statewide general election on Nov. 8.

Mail ballot applications must be received by that date – not postmarked. Voters may place applications in the mail or drop them off in person at their local board of canvassers. Addresses for all boards of canvassers can be found on the back of the mail ballot application.

“Voting by mail is a safe and secure option for casting your ballot,” Gorbea said. “I strongly encourage all Rhode Islanders that wish to vote from home with a mail ballot to put their applications in the mail at least a week before the deadline to ensure they are received in time.”

The Department of State has partnered with public libraries throughout Rhode Island to make mail ballot applications available. Registered voters may also access a mail ballot application by visiting vote.ri.gov or by contacting the Department of State’s Elections Division at 401-222-2340 or elections@sos.ri.gov.

Voters who do not return their mail ballot application by the Oct. 18 deadline, or those who prefer to vote in person can still vote in person, either early or on Election Day. Early voting will be available during regular municipal business hours from Oct. 19 through 4 p.m. on Nov. 7.

Voters may contact their local board of canvassers for details on early voting. Voters choosing to vote on Election Day should go to vote.ri.gov to check their polling place information.

Oct. 11, 2022

Coalition Against Gun Violence endorses McKee, Matos, Neronha

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence on Tuesday endorsed Governor Daniel J. McKee, Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, and Attorney General Peter F. Neronha in the Nov. 8 elections.

The group gathered with its partner, Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety, to also endorse Representative Gregg Amore, of East Providence, in the secretary of state’s race, and former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa in the state treasurer’s race. All are Democrats.

“With gun violence spiking in 2021 to its highest level in almost 30 years, we need to elect leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to gun violence prevention as a top priority,” said Sydney Montstream-Quas, chair of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence board. “These five candidates have demonstrated that commitment, so today, we are very proud to endorse in all five general officer races.”

A key to the endorsements was a commitment to support a bill to “regulate assault weapons,” she said. “As we head to the general election, we are closer to that becoming a reality.”

Montstream-Quas said McKee, who is facing Republican Ashley Kalus in the governor’s race, “signed the most substantive package of gun safety bills in the state’s history,” including laws that now limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds, prohibit the open carry of long guns in public, and raise the age from 18 to 21 to buy long guns.

“It is my responsibility as governor to make sure Rhode Islanders are safe in their homes, at school, and everywhere in between — and I take that responsibility seriously,” McKee said in a statement. “These safety measures will help save lives, but there is more work to do.”

Matos, who is facing Republican Aaron C. Guckian and independent Ross McCurdy in the lieutenant governor’s race, said, “I’m exhausted from reading about senseless, preventable terror, and I’m determined to take action. Rhode Island must join states like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut to, finally, ban assault weapons in Rhode Island. I will fight like a mom to stop our kids and our communities from becoming another pushpin on a national map of terrifying attacks.”

Nerohna, who is facing Republican Charles C. Calenda in the attorney general’s race, said that as a state and federal prosecutor for more than 25 years, he has seen the devastating effects of gun violence in Rhode Island.

“There can be no serious question that violent criminals are using untraceable ghost guns and high-capacity magazines to harm Rhode Islanders,” he said. “And there is likewise no question that new laws banning those items, along with legislation banning the carrying of weapons on school grounds and loaded rifles on public streets, has made Rhode Islanders safer. I am proud to have played a part in moving this work forward and grateful for today’s endorsement.”

Amore, who is facing Republican Pat V. Cortellessa in the secretary of state’s race, said, “For the past 10 years as a member of the House of Representatives, I have sponsored, co-sponsored, and supported every piece of gun safety legislation that has passed, and many that have not yet passed.”

Diossa, who is facing Republican James L. Lathrop in the treasurer’s race, said, “As your general treasurer, I will continue to make the office a champion for victims of gun violence. Through the Crime Victims Compensation Program, administered by the treasurer’s office, I will work to provide necessary relief to those who have needlessly suffered from gun-related crime.”

Oct. 7, 2022

RI Council 94 endorses Lathrop for R.I. treasurer

Rhode Island Council 94 on Friday endorsed Republican James L. Lathrop over Democratic former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa in the race for state treasurer.

The union endorsed Democrats for all the other state general officers: Daniel J. McKee for governor, Sabina Matos for lieutenant governor, Gregg Amore for secretary of state, and Peter F. Neronha for attorney general.

It also endorsed Democrats for the state’s two seats in the US House of Representatives — David N. Cicilline in the 1st Congressional District and Seth Magaziner in the 2nd Congressional District.

J. Michael Downey, president of Council 94, explained the endorsement of Lathrop, saying, “He is a certified public accountant rather than a certified politician.”

While state treasurers such as Gina M. Raimondo and Seth Magaziner have run for higher office, Downey noted that Lathrop has said he only wants to be treasurer. And he said he likes what Lathrop has said about increasing transparency in the state pension system. “It’s time to turn on the lights,” he said.

Council 94 had endorsed former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor in the Democratic primary for general treasurer, but Diossa won with 55.6 percent of the vote to Pryor’s 44.4 percent.

The Rhode Island AFL-CIO, meanwhile, has endorsed Diossa.

Rhode Island Council 94, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, represents more than 10,000 active and retired state, municipal, and private sector employees.

Council 94′s political action committee also voted to endorse a list of state Senate and House candidates, plus various municipal positions. “Council 94′s political action steering committee is confident that these candidates will work hard to strengthen our state, no matter what the future holds,” the group said.

Oct. 7, 2022

DiPalma, Langevin to host event on how to protect against cybercrime

State Senator Louis P. DiPalma and US Representative James R. Langevin will be holding the sixth annual Cyber Hygiene Event on Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Community College of Rhode Island Newport campus.

The purpose of the event is to provide the public with an increased awareness of the various cyber exploitations and practical steps to protect against cyberattacks. The event is free and open to the public.

“Cybercrimes and attacks are not only becoming more prevalent in our society, but their complexity and methods are also becoming far more problematic,” said DiPalma, a Middletown Democrat. “This event will allow the public to get firsthand knowledge from experts in the field on how to best protect against such intricate and nefarious cybercrimes and I encourage all to participate.”

The event will be hosted by DiPalma and Langevin, who have been leading advocates for cyber defense on the state and federal levels. Mike Tetreault, cybersecurity adviser for Rhode Island at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will also be presenting at the event.

Oct. 6, 2022

Planned Parenthood endorses McKee, Matos, Neronha, Amore, Diossa

The Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island PAC on Thursday endorsed Governor Daniel J. McKee for governor, Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos for lieutenant governor, and Attorney General Peter F. Neronha for attorney general.

The PAC also endorsed Representative Gregg Amore for secretary of state and former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa for state treasurer. All are Democrats.

This marked the first time the PPV!RI PAC has made endorsements for all five of the state’s general officers.

“Voters want access to safe, legal abortion, and they deserve leaders who will fight for all of us,” said Amanda Skinner, president of Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island and a member of PPV!RI PAC. “We’ve seen how far our opponents are willing to go, but we have the power to stop them — together.”

The PAC said this is an urgent moment because the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, and that “opened the floodgates for state politicians across the country to ban abortion, decimate health care access, and threaten anti-discrimination protections, LGBTQ+ rights, and more.”

“We have zero time for half measures or compromises when it comes to our bodies,” Skinner said. “That is why we must stay focused on getting these candidates elected to continue making progress in Rhode Island. Planned Parenthood patients are counting on us.”

The group backs the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act, which would provide for abortion coverage in the health insurance of Medicaid recipients and state employees.

The PAC also has endorsed 63 candidates for the General Assembly, including 21 in the Senate and 42 in the House of Representatives.

“It’s critical to elect these candidates this fall,” the group said. “Now more than ever, Rhode Islanders need leaders in every level of government who trust people to make their own decisions about their bodies, lives, and futures.”

Oct. 6, 2022

Rhode Islanders have until Sunday to register to vote

Rhode Islanders have until Sunday to register to vote or update their voter information for the Nov. 8 general election, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea reminded voters on Thursday.

Residents should check their voter registration status by using the Department of State’s Voter Information Center at vote.ri.gov.

Eligible residents can register to vote in three ways:

“I urge all eligible Rhode Islanders to make their voices heard by casting a ballot in the upcoming election,” Gorbea said. “The first step is being registered to vote. Go to vote.ri.gov to register to vote or make sure your information is up to date.”

As a reminder, Gorbea noted Rhode Islanders will have several voting options in the general election. Voters can choose to vote early at their city or town hall or other designated location, cast a mail ballot from home, or vote at a polling place on Election Day. Voters can track the status of their mail ballot application and mail ballot at vote.ri.gov.

Oct. 6, 2022

Everytown for Gun Safety endorses McKee

The Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund on Thursday endorsed Governor Daniel J. McKee for a full four-year term.

McKee, a Democrat, is facing Republican Ashley Kalus in the Nov. 8 general election, along with Elijah Gizzarelli, Zachary Hurwitz, and Paul Rianna Jr.

“Poll after poll shows that voters are looking for candidates who will champion common-sense laws to keep guns out of dangerous hands,” said John Feinblatt, president of the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund. “Ending our gun violence epidemic requires passing strong gun laws, and that requires electing strong gun safety champions like the candidates we’re endorsing today.”

In a statement, McKee thanked the gun violence prevention organization, which has 10 million supporters nationwide that advocate for “smart gun policies.”

“As governor, there is nothing more important to me than keeping Rhode Islanders safe,” McKee said. “Since I took office, I have been proud to sign life-saving gun legislation, especially in the wake of the most recent gun violence tragedies — but our work is not done. Rhode Island needs leadership that will continue this progress and pass smart gun safety laws to make sure every Rhode Islander is safe in their home, at school, and everywhere in between.”

McKee noted that in June he signed three gun bills into law that limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds, prohibit the open carry of long guns in public, and raise the age from 18 to 21 to buy long guns. And in July 2021, he signed two bills into law that ban so-called “straw purchases” of firearms and prohibit bringing a gun onto school property.

Oct. 5, 2022

Kalus calls for releasing test scores before Oct. 19

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ashley Kalus on Wednesday called for releasing Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System student test scores before early voting begins on Oct. 19.

The Globe reported that the state Department of Education plans to unveil RICAS scores from the 2021-2022 school year in mid-November, rather than in late October as it did last year.

A spokesman said the test results will be later this year because RIDE is planning a comprehensive rollout that will give students easier access to their results and help families to better understand how students performed on the exam, which tests English language arts and math skills in all public school students in grades three through eight.

But Kalus, who is facing Democratic Governor Daniel J. McKee in the Nov. 8 general election, called for McKee and state education officials to release the results before early voting starts.

“Given that last year’s RICAS scores showed only 33 percent of Rhode Island students were proficient in English and only 20 percent were performing at grade level in math, it should come as no surprise that Dan McKee wants to suppress the results until after the election,” Kalus said. “He clearly fears the likelihood of concrete data showing parents his administration is failing children. Parents deserve to know if the policies being implemented by Governor McKee have helped or hurt their kids before going to the polls.”

Kalus, who has said she wants to be known as the “education governor,” has vowed she would not seek reelection in 2026 if statewide test scores didn’t improve to pre-pandemic levels during her tenure as governor.

Oct. 5, 2022

Social Security protection PAC backs Magaziner for Congress

The National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare Political Action Committee on Wednesday endorsed Democrat Seth Magaziner in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District race.

Magaziner, the state treasurer, is facing former Cranston mayor Allan W. Fung in the Nov. 8 election for the seat that Democratic US Representative James R. Langevin is vacating.

“Kevin McCarthy and Republicans in Congress have made it clear that if they win control of the House, they intend to cut and privatize the Social Security and Medicare benefits that seniors have earned,” PAC President Max Richtman said during a news conference in Johnston, Rhode Island. “We are proud to endorse Seth Magaziner because he will fight to protect Social Security and Medicare and stand up to anyone who tries to cut these programs that allow millions of Americans to retire with dignity.”

The committee is the nation’s leading advocacy group that fights to protect Social Security and Medicare, and it said an estimated 192,000 Rhode Islanders receive Social Security benefits.

“Rhode Island seniors have paid into Social Security and Medicare — they earned the right to these benefits,” Magaziner said. “In Congress, I will fight to protect Social Security and Medicare from extreme Republicans determined to cut these vital programs. Rhode Islanders cannot afford Allan Fung enabling Kevin McCarthy’s extremist agenda.”

US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, US Representative David N. Cicilline, and Johnston Mayor Joseph M. Polisena joined Magaziner at the news conference at the Johnston Senior Center.

Oct. 3, 2022

Reed: Jackson will help restore faith in Supreme Court

As the US Supreme Court began a new term on Monday, US Senator Jack Reed said new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson “will help restore the American people’s faith in the fairness of the Court and our justice system.”

Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, noted that Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, is taking her seat as the high court starts a new nine-month term that is bound to include “many hot-button issues.”

“I hope each justice will put reason and fidelity to the law ahead of partisanship and the kind of tortured, ideological ruling that was used to tear down Roe v. Wade and take away a woman’s right to choose,” Reed said in a statement. “The best way to restore confidence in the Supreme Court is by ensuring the institution serves as a truly independent judicial body.”

In 1997-1998, Jackson clerked for Judge Bruce M. Selya, a Providence resident who is now a senior judge on the Boston-based US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

“I have high hopes for Justice Jackson,” Reed said. “She brings a valuable perspective to the court, and I know she will be a fair and impartial jurist who will faithfully adhere to both the letter and spirit of the Constitution.”

Sept. 30, 2022

Gov. McKee directs agencies to include abortion coverage in Fiscal Year 2024 budgets

Governor Dan J. McKee has directed two state agencies to include abortion services coverage in their Fiscal Year 2024 budgets.

Both the Rhode Island Department of Administration’s and Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ budget submissions included proposed funding for implementing the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act, or EACA, which would allow Medicaid funds to cover abortion services.

The agencies submitted their budget requests to the Office of Management and Budget and both House and Senate Fiscal Advisors on Friday, according to spokesman Matt Sheaff.

“Specifically, the DOA and EOHHS budget proposals provide insurance coverage for abortion-related services for state employees and individuals enrolled in Medicaid,” said Sheaff in a statement. “While the governor and his team will be reviewing the agency submissions to develop the final proposal for January, the budget submittal to the General Assembly will include these important health services to groups who cannot access them now.”

The news comes after McKee faced public pressure for not including the EACA in his budget for Fiscal Year 2023, which began July 1. Representative Liana Cassar and Senator Bridget Valverde had reintroduced the bill in both chambers for the second year in a row but lawmakers never voted on the issue. A two-thirds majority is needed in both chambers to ensure passage.

Earlier this month, former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, who narrowly lost against McKee in the Democratic primary, announced she would formally endorse McKee after he committed to her that his budget would include the EACA.

“He reiterated his support for a woman’s right to choose and made that commitment to me personally yesterday,” Foulkes said in a statement on Sept. 16. — ALEXA GAGOSZ

Sept. 27, 2022

NRA gives Fung “A,” Magaziner “F” ratings

The National Rifle Association this week gave Republican 2nd Congressional District candidate Allan W. Fung an “A” rating and his Democratic opponent, Seth Magaziner, an “F” rating.

The NRA Political Victory Fund explained that an “A” rating means Fung is a “Solidly pro-gun candidate” – “A candidate who has supported NRA positions on key votes in elective office or a candidate with a demonstrated record of support on Second Amendment issues.”

An “F” rating means Magaziner is a “True enemy of gun owners’ rights” – “A consistent anti-gun candidate who always opposes gun owners’ rights and/or actively leads anti-gun legislative efforts, or sponsors anti-gun legislation.”

Magaziner, the state treasurer, issued a statement, saying, “I will support common-sense gun safety bills in Congress because I want my son Max and every child to grow up in a world where they don’t have to worry about lockdown drills and mass shootings when they go to school in the morning. I am committed to protecting victims of domestic violence, keeping guns out of schools, and passing common-sense reform so we never have to experience the tragedy of another mass shooting.”

Magaziner has been recognized by Moms Demand Action as a “gun-sense candidate,” and he has been endorsed by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, the Brady PAC, Giffords Courage PAC, and gun safety activist Fred Guttenberg who lost his daughter, Jaime, in the tragic mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Sept. 23, 2022

R.I. League of Cities and Towns re-elects Lombardi as president

The Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns on Thursday re-elected North Providence Mayor Charles A. Lombardi as its president, along with a new slate of officers.

Mayor Lombardi has served as the league’s president since 2020, and his second term starts immediately.

“Even during the most challenging of times, Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns have continued to work together to solve issues that persist in all communities, such as infrastructure investments, shared services, and prudently managing federal relief funds,” Lombardi said. “I have no doubt that the officers of the League’s board will continue our strong advocacy work to ensure that cities and towns have a seat at the table at the state-level.”

At is 54th annual meeting, the league elected four vice presidents: Cranston Mayor Kenneth J. Hopkins, North Kingstown town administrator A. Ralph Mollis, East Greenwich town manager Andrew Nota, and Narragansett town manager James Tierney.

And it elected the following executive board members: Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, Bristol town administrator Steven Contente, East Providence Mayor Roberto DaSilva, Jamestown town administrator Jamie Hainsworth, Warren town manager Kate Michaud, Richmond town administrator Karen Pinch, Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera, Smithfield town manager Randy Rossi, Charlestown town administrator Mark S. Stankiewicz, and Burrillville town manager Michael C. Wood.

In addition to electing officers, the league presented its first Excellence in Municipal Government awards to Hopkinton Town Clerk Elizabeth Cook-Martin, Bristol Fire Chief Michael DeMello, and Providence sewer superintendent David Mambro.

Sept. 22, 2022

Fung applauds court decision against truck tolls

Republican 2nd Congressional District candidate Allan W. Fung on Thursday applauded US District Court Judge William E. Smith’s decision striking down Rhode Island’s truck tolls as unconstitutional.

“Yesterday’s ruling was a win for our private sector job creators,” Fung said in statement. “These unconstitutional tolls were nothing more than another tax that gets passed on to the consumer at a time we can least afford it.

Fung, a former Cranston mayor, said the ruling underscores the importance of electing a Republican to work with what he expects will be a GOP House majority to secure federal infrastructure funding for Rhode Island.

Fung is facing Democratic state treasurer Seth Magaziner in the Nov. 8 election for the seat that Democratic US Representative James R. Langevin is vacating.

“While I have consistently been on record opposing the tolls, citing the need for government to live within its means, Seth Magaziner has supported this burdensome tax on our businesses,” Fung said. “Now that the courts have determined that his stance is discriminatory, I hope my opponent would join me in supporting this ruling and opposing any future efforts to reestablish these tolls. Sadly, this is unlikely since Seth’s campaign is receiving ample campaign cash from the special interest groups that were pushing hard for these unconstitutional tolls.”

Magaziner campaign spokeswoman Patricia Soccaras said, “Treasurer Magaziner supports RhodeWorks and understands that we need a real solution to fix bridges and make roadways safe for Rhode Islanders.”

Sept. 21, 2022

Former GOP Rep. Schneider endorses Magaziner

Former Republican US Representative Claudine Schneider on Wednesday endorsed Democratic state treasurer Seth Magaziner for the 2nd Congressional District seat that she once held.

Magaziner is facing Republican Allan W. Fung, a former Cranston mayor, in the Nov. 8 general election.

But Schneider, who served in Congress from 1981 to 1991, joined other Republicans, including former state Senator Dawson Hodgson, former state Representative Robert A. Nardolillo, and former gubernatorial candidate Vincent Marzullo, in backing Magaziner in an announcement in Warwick.

“The Republican Party of to day is not the same Republican Party it was when I represented the Rhode Island Second Congressional District in the 1980s,” Schneider said in a statement. “The GOP in Washington has become the party of insurrectionist Donald Trump, and it is directly at odds with the values of Rhode Islanders.”

Hodgson said Fung has stated he will support House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House, and he called that “unacceptable.”

“McCarthy voted to overturn the 2020 election, in direct opposition to the Constitution that we all hold dear,” he said. “By pledging his allegiance to MAGA election deniers, Allan Fung has disqualified himself from consideration to represent our state in Congress.”

Marzullo, who ran for governor in 1982, said he has spent much of his career working with AARP and the Senior Agenda Coalition of RI to protect Social Security and Medicare.

“Allan Fung, Kevin McCarthy and the Republicans in Congress represent a direct threat to that work,” he said. “I cannot support Allan Fung because Kevin McCarthy is one of the co-authors of plans to cut these programs and thousands of Rhode Islanders will suffer if this comes to pass.”

Sept. 20, 2022

R.I. officials urge support for groups aiding Puerto Rico after hurricane

Four local elected officials of Puerto Rican heritage on Tuesday urged Rhode Islanders to contribute to organizations helping Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Fiona.

Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, Woonsocket City Councilwoman Valerie Gonzalez, and Central Falls City Councilwoman Glendaliz Colón issued a joint statement, noting that Hurricane Fiona swept across Puerto Rico on Sunday, nearly five years to the day after Hurricane Maria devastated the nation, leaving millions without power or drinking water.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans are now displaced and in emergency shelters as residents rely on desperately needed recovery efforts and aid, they said.

The US territory of Puerto Rico is once again facing devastation from a deadly hurricane,” the four officials said. “We share the concern of the 54,000 Puerto Ricans living in Rhode Island over the recovery efforts required again so soon after Hurricane Maria. In order to help relief efforts on the ground, we are encouraging contributions to several key organizations in Puerto Rico. Resilience and grit are in the DNA of Puerto Ricans. We extend our thoughts and prayers for the recovery of our family and friends on the Island and encourage others to do so as well.”

They urged support for the following organizations providing on-the-ground relief:

Sept. 12, 2022

Three environmental groups back Segal for Congress

Three environmental groups on Monday endorsed former state Representative David A. Segal in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Future Generations, a youth-funded, youth-led organization working with leaders who support bold climate action, announced its endorsement in a tweet.

“David understands that we must leave nothing to chance in the fight for future generations to inherit a livable and more equitable planet,” the group wrote. A Green New Deal, universal health care, and democracy are on the ballot, it said.

Segal, a former Providence City Council member, helped lead efforts to make the city one of the first US capitals to adopt a renewable energy mandate and establish a renewable energy commission, the group said. And as a state legislator, he worked alongside environmentalists and union leaders to craft progressive policy, it said.

American Youth for Climate Action and Sustainability, a nonpartisan grassroots youth group, endorsed Segal ”for his commitment to #ClimateAction via a #GreenNewDeal and a four-pillar sustainable future (environmental, economic, social, and racial) that is ensured via populist policies like #MedicareForAll.”

And Climate Hawks Vote, a group fighting for progressive actions to combat climate change, said it’s backing Segal “as the authentic climate hawk who’s been doing renewable energy work since his days on the Providence City Council.”

Segal said he is proud to receive the endorsements “because of my record of supporting the adoption of renewable energy, promoting environmental justice, and combating climate change — even when that has meant overcoming corporate special interests and political corruption.”

Segal is running against Seth Magaziner, Joy Fox, Omar Bah, and Sarah E. Morgenthau in Tuesday’s primary.

Sept. 12, 2022

Dr. Alexander-Scott endorses Foulkes for governor

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the former Department of Health who led the state’s public health response during much of the pandemic, on Monday endorsed Helena Buonanno Foulkes for governor.

“For Rhode Island to be best equipped to handle the next crisis, the state cannot stay with the status quo,” Alexander-Scott said. “Early on, I saw how critical it was to have a governor with vision, integrity, a listening ear, and a willingness to be accountable. Rhode Island needs change and needs new leadership. Helena Foulkes is the leader Rhode Island needs.”

Alexander-Scott’s abrupt resignation in January drew a sharp response from some of Governor Daniel J. McKee’s expected opponents in the governor’s race, with some saying it signaled a lack of confidence in his leadership and handling of the pandemic.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic was at its worst, Rhode Islanders saw me seven days a week,” Alexander-Scott said. “Many tuned in, knowing that I cared and was doing all that I could to help Rhode Island during an enormously trying time. Although I have moved on from my role, my concern for Rhode Islanders remains just as strong.”

Alexander-Scott had been appointed by former Governor Gian M. Raimondo, who left to become US commerce secretary. In July, she joined the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials as a senior executive consultant.

In her statement, she emphasized the importance of voting.

“Voting and other forms of civic engagement are essential for the success of public health, and for people in all communities to have an equal opportunity to be healthy and safe,” Alexander-Scott said. “Please do not let Tuesday pass without doing your part to ensure that Rhode Island has a leader who is ready to tackle the challenges lying ahead in education, housing, employment, and so many other areas. I urge you, like I did every day in those early days of the pandemic, to do what’s best for you and your family: make your voice heard by voting this Tuesday.”

Foulkes is running in Tuesday’s Democratic primary against McKee, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, former secretary of sate Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

Sept. 9, 2022

Shekarchi endorses McKenney in Senate race

House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, on Friday endorsed former state Senator Mark P. McKenney in Tuesday’s Democratic primary against Senator Jeanine Calkin, a Warwick Democrat, in Senate District 30.

Shekarchi said that as House speaker, he usually has not endorsed primary candidates for Senate races.

“Today, I am making an exception as I wholeheartedly endorse Mark McKenney and strongly urge voters in Senate District 30 to return Mark to the state Senate,” he said in a statement. “Mark is always willing to put his legal and leadership skills to work for our neighbors again and again. Mark truly knows this district and shares its values: education, the environment, jobs, housing, and ensuring a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions.”

“Mark also knows what this district doesn’t want – including a bill supported by Jeanine Calkin that risked allowing a murderer like Craig Price to return to the community after serving only 15 years behind bars,” Shekarchi wrote. “Mark never would have voted for such a bill.”

He was referring to a 2017 bill, which did not become law, that would have provided “that prisoners who committed offenses prior to age 18 and were sentenced as adults would be eligible for parole after completing 15 years of their sentence.”

Sept. 9, 2022

UnidosUS Action PAC backs Gorbea for governor

The UnidosUS Action PAC, which works to expand Latino political power, on Friday announced its endorsement of Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea for governor.

Gorbea is running in Tuesday’s Democratic primary against Governor Daniel J. McKee, former secretary of state Matt Brown, former CVS executive Helena B. Foulkes, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

“As the first Hispanic to be elected to statewide office in Rhode Island and New England, Secretary Gorbea has led her office with integrity, inclusion, and with uncompromising leadership, said Janet Murguía, president of the UnidosUS Action Fund. “Her experience overseeing the Ocean State’s elections, streamlining processes for small businesses, and implementing government reform, makes her the ideal candidate to serve as governor.”

Sept. 9, 2022

SEIU Local 580 endorses Matos for lieutenant governor

Service Employees International Union Local 580 on Friday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos for a full term.

Matos, a former Providence City Council president, is facing a Democratic primary on Tuesday against state Senator Cynthia Mendes and state Representative Deborah L. Ruggiero.

Heather Croteau, who leads SEIU Local 580′s committee on political education, said Matos has demonstrated “an effective leadership team” with Governor Daniel J. McKee.

“They collaborated to deliver real results for Rhode Islanders in the last two budgets and legislative sessions,” she said. “We have seen the government be ineffective when the lieutenant governor and governor don’t have a collaborative approach. Let’s continue to move Rhode Island forward with partnership.”

Croteau said Matos understands that recruitment and retention issues are a critical priority, and she and McKee have “pledged to give frontline workers a seat at the table to reform” the Department of Children Youth & Families and the Department of Human Services.

SEIU Local 580 represents more than 850 public sector workers throughout the state who provide services to low-income families, at-risk children, veterans, and people with mental illness and developmental disabilities.

Sept. 9, 2022

Pelosi will come to Providence to back Foulkes

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will come to Providence on Sunday to headline a “Get Out the Vote” rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Helena B. Foulkes.

Foulkes’ late mother, Martha Dodd Buonanno, was Pelosi’s college roommate and a close friend. They attended Trinity College in Washington, D.C.

Pelosi is scheduled to speak at 2 p.m. Sunday at Farm Fresh Rhode Island on Kinsley Avenue. Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, who endorsed Foulkes in July, will also give remarks.

Foulkes in running in Tuesday’s Democratic primary against Governor Daniel J. McKee, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, former secretary of state Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

Sept. 8, 2022

Police officers union endorses Pryor for treasurer

The Rhode Island office of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers on Thursday endorsed Stefan Pryor for state treasurer.

“The International Brotherhood of Police Officers are particularly impressed with your experience and knowledge regarding the state pension system,” IBPO state director Ralph Ezovski said of Pryor. “We know you’ll be an advocate to our members in regard to their future welfare. It is an honor to support you in your race for Rhode Island general treasurer, and look forward to continuing working with you in your new position.”

Pryor said he was honored to receive the union’s support.

“This endorsement shows that the police officers of our state are seeking a tested and proven public servant in the treasurer’s office,” he said. “I’m grateful to have the confidence of these remarkable men and women. As treasurer, I will be focused on managing the state’s finances and pension system responsibly – and on building a stronger and healthier economy.”

Pryor is running in a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa.

Sept. 8, 2022

Three unions endorse Matos for R.I. lieutenant governor

Three unions — the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 99, UniteHere Local 26 (hotel workers), and SMART Local 17 (sheet metal workers) — endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos for a full term on Thursday.

Matos is facing a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against state Senator Cynthia Mendes and state Representative Deborah L. Ruggiero.

The IBEW Local 99 represents 800 workers in Rhode Island. “Sabina Matos knows our members and shares our values,” Local 99 business manager Joseph L. Walsh Jr. said. “She is a proven champion for working people and has dedicated her public life to ensuring that all working people are treated with dignity and respect.”

UniteHere Local 26 vice president and Rhode Island director Nancy Iadeluca said Matos knows what working people are going through.

“Union workers are the backbone of Rhode Island’s economy, and we need leaders like Sabina in office who are committed to building a more inclusive economy that treats workers with dignity and respect,” she said. “We look forward to working with her to advance a pro-worker agenda for the next four years.”

Sept. 7, 2022

Senator Miller endorses Smiley for mayor

Senator Joshua Miller, a Cranston Democrat and Providence business owner, on Wednesday endorsed Brett Smiley for mayor of Providence.

“I have known and worked with Brett for years,” Miller said. “I am grateful for his collaboration and commitment to Providence and the people of Rhode Island.”

Miller, who represents Senate District 28, said he worked with Smiley when he was former Governor Gina M. Raimondo’s chief of staff, to pass the Reproductive Privacy Act, which aims to protect abortion rights in Rhode Island.

“Over the years, I’ve seen Brett’s commitment to critical issues that impact our community and I know that he will continue that commitment as mayor,” Miller said. “He knows that in order to have a successful Providence, residents need a safe place to call home, access to mental health and substance use support when they need it, and a city that works for them.”

Smiley said he is grateful for Miller’s support.

“He has been a champion at the State House for issues that impact the residents who need our support most,” Smiley said. “Because of his leadership, our state leads the nation in insured residents, by how we care for those suffering from addiction, and in our response to climate change. I look forward to working with Senator Miller for years to come.”

Smiley is running in a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against Providence City Council member Nirva LaFortune and former deputy secretary of state Gonzalo Cuervo.

Sept. 7, 2022

Ballot will include Libertarian and independent candidates for R.I. governor

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Elijah J. Gizzarelli and independent gubernatorial candidate Paul A. Rianna Jr. will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot after all.

Gizzarelli, of West Warwick, and Rianna, of Providence, succeeded in appealing decisions that they had failed to college enough valid signatures to make the general election ballot, said Christopher Hunter, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections.

The Libertarian Party of Rhode Island issued a statement saying the secretary of state’s office had determined that Gizzarelli failed to collect enough verified signatures to qualify for ballot placement. But Libertarian Party of Rhode Island chair William Hunt challenged the decision before the Board of Elections, and the board found enough valid signatures had been improperly disqualified to qualify Gizzarelli for ballot placement.

“The private corporations, known as the Democrat and Republican parties, have a vested interest in keeping third parties off the ballot,” Hunt said in a statement. “Their influence in the General Assembly has helped to concoct a process to discourage efforts to challenge the status quo. Undeterred, we fought to get Elijah on the ballot and proved our signatures to be sufficient and valid.”

The Libertarian Party of Rhode Island’s executive committee voted earlier this year to endorse Gizzarelli, a veteran and West Warwick native.

“We were forced to collect 1,000 signatures in little over a week during what Governor McKee continues to insist is a public health state of emergency, just so the third largest party in the United States could have a candidate on the ballot,” Gizzarrelli said. “We turned in close to 1,300 signatures and were still denied saying not enough of them were valid.”

While the party won its appeal, Gizzarelli said, “We lost a month of time and energy that could have been used campaigning. This is exactly the type of thing the old parties do in order to stifle competition and prevent voters from having any real choice of any consequence in elections. This must change and I ask all Rhode Islanders to stand with us against this corrupt two-party system.”

Sept. 6, 2022

Internal polling shows Segal’s support growing

Internal polling for David A. Segal shows growing support for the progressive former legislator in the most heavily populated parts of the 2nd Congressional District, but he still trails Seth Magaziner in the Democratic primary.

Segal’s pollster, Dan Cohen, said he surveyed 245 likely Democratic primary voters on Sunday in Providence, Warwick, and Cranston – the three parts of the district with the highest population and some of the district’s more progressive voters.

The survey found Magaziner leading with 30 percent, followed by Segal at 16.5 percent, Joy Fox at 9.1 percent, Sarah E. Morgenthau at 5.3 percent, and Omar Bah at 4.5 percent. Another 34.6 percent remain undecided.

An internal survey taken in those three cities a month ago showed Magaziner leading with 33.9 percent, followed by Fox at 10.6 percent, Segal at 8.9 percent, Bah at 6.1 percent, and Morgenthau at 4.4 percent, with 36.1 percent undecided.

Cohen, a progressive pollster based in Massachusetts, said the results do not reflect a full formal poll, and the survey did not cover all of the 2nd Congressional District, which encompasses the western half of the state. But he said the sample size is similar to those in public polls, and the margin of error is plus or minus 6.2 percentage points.

Cohen said the results suggest that Segal’s support is growing as the Sept. 13 primary approaches.

“People have been looking at this race and wondering if one of the other candidates was going to emerge and be the clear challenger to Seth Magaizner,” he said. “These numbers show that people are taking their final deep look into the race, and it’s David Segal.”

He argued that Segal, a progressive activist and former member of state House of Representatives, provides the clearest contrast to Magaziner, the term-limited state treasurer.

A Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll in June put Magaziner at 30 percent, followed by Segal at 8 percent, Fox at 8 percent, Morgenthau at 3 percent, and Bah at 3 percent. A WPRI/Roger Williams University poll in August showed Magaziner leading the Democratic race with 37 percent, followed by Morgenthau at 8 percent, Segal at 8 percent, Fox at 4 percent, and Bah at 3 percent.

Sept. 6, 2022

R.I. voters urged to put mail ballots in drop boxes

Any Rhode Island voter who still has a mail ballot for the Sept. 13 primaries is encouraged to return it using election drop boxes rather than putting it in the mail, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea said Tuesday.

Mail ballots must be received by election officials by 8 p.m. on Election Day, and the US Postal Service recommends mailing your ballot at least seven days before Sept. 13 primaries to ensure that it arrives on time.

“Remember that mail ballots must be received — not postmarked — by 8 p.m. on Election Day,” Gorbea said. “At this point, using a secure election drop box is the best way to ensure that your mail ballot is received in time. As long as your mail ballot is in an election drop box by 8 p.m. on Sept. 13, it will be counted.”

All election drop boxes in Rhode Island are under surveillance 24 hours a day. They are emptied daily by local boards of canvassers and the mail ballots are transported to the state Board of Elections. Voters can use any of the election drop boxes across the state to return their mail ballot.

Voters can use the drop box finder to locate the drop box closest to them and track the status of their mail ballot online at vote.ri.gov.

Aug. 31, 2022

SEIU Local 580 endorses McKee for R.I. governor

Services Employees International Union Local 580 on Wednesday endorsed Governor Daniel J. McKee for a full term, breaking with the Rhode Island SEIU State Council, which endorsed Nellie M. Gorbea for governor last week.

SEIU Local 580 President Matthew Gunnip said McKee “inherited a mess” at agencies such as the Department of Children Youth & Families and the Department of Human Services when he took office 18 months ago.

“But, in that time, he has made it clear that he will give frontline workers a seat at the table to listen to our concerns and make much-needed change,” Gunnip said. “Together, we’re working to address the unprecedented workforce crisis we are facing, and Governor McKee has our full confidence in getting the job done. He is a collaborative and experienced leader, and we’re proud to endorse him for a full term to tackle these problems head-on.”

Local 580 represents nearly 900 public employees who serve low-income families, children, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

McKee said he is thankful for the endorsement.

“The hard-working members of Local 580 step up for Rhode Islanders in need, fighting for children, families, and the most vulnerable in our state,” he said in a statement. “Through much-needed tax relief, investments in education and childcare, and long-term strategies to boost our economy, we are making Rhode Island a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Local 580 members know that I have their backs, and can provide the leadership this state needs.”

Aug. 31, 2022

Progressive Change Campaign Committee endorses Brown, Mendes

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee on Wednesday endorsed Matt Brown for governor and Cynthia Mendes for lieutenant governor.

Brown, a former secretary of state, is running in a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against Governor Daniel J. McKee, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, former CVS executive Helena B. Foulkes, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

Mendes, a state senator from East Providence, is running in a Democratic primary against Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos and state Representative Deborah L. Ruggiero, of Jamestown.

“Matt and Cynthia are a dynamic duo well-equipped to bring real and meaningful change to Rhode Islanders,” the PCCC said in a statement to its membership. “They’ve spent their careers on the frontlines of some of our nation’s toughest issues, and have put together a bold vision for how to tackle them — from affordable housing, to universal health care, to expanding voting rights, to tackling the climate crisis. They are building an exciting and progressive movement that could be a model for winning progressive power in states across the country.”

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has raised more than $35 million for progressive candidates and committees this past decade. The organization will fundraise for both Brown and Mendes from its nearly-million members nationally and will recruit volunteers and local endorsements from its Rhode Island membership.

“The PCCC has played a crucial role in electing progressives up and down the ballot, and we’re thrilled that they’ve recognized our race as critical for building progressive power in Rhode Island and across the country,” Brown said. “We are poised to show how progressives can defeat a deeply entrenched, conservative machine to win governing power and bring real change, including Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, a $19 minimum wage, and a massive investment in affordable housing.”

“This endorsement is especially meaningful to me since the PCCC gave me my first candidate training when I decided to run for state Senate,” Mendes said. “As an alumnus, I look forward to fighting alongside them to elect the community leaders we need in order to pass Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and tax the rich. Their endorsement shows that the movement we’re building here is capturing the imagination of progressives around the country.”

Aug. 30, 2022

Transit union endorses Diossa for treasurer

Amalgamated Transit Union Division 618 on Tuesday endorsed James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

Diossa, a former Central Falls mayor, is running in a Democratic primary against former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor.

ATU Division 618 represents Rhode Island Public Transit Authority drivers across the state and school bus drivers and firefighters in several communities.

“Since becoming mayor of Central Falls in 2012, (Diossa) has shown his commitment to making life better for his constituents,” said Nick DeCristofaro, president and business Agent of ATU Division 618. “Mayor Diossa led Central Falls out of bankruptcy, and if elected for treasurer, we believe he will continue to ensure growth and investment in Rhode Island’s future.”

Diossa said that during the pandemic transportation workers helped people get to work, to the grocery store, and to see family members.

“During and despite this trying time, they’ve shown incredible perseverance,” he said. “As treasurer, I will strive to ensure a better and more secure retirement for the hard-working members of the ATU and pensioners like them from across our state.”

Aug. 29, 2022

Segal announces two concerts in run for Congress

Talk about rocking the vote.

Former state Representative David A. Segal on Monday announced two concerts/rallies as part of his run for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Segal is running in a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against Joy Fox, Seth Magaziner, Sarah Morgenthau, and Omar Bah for the seat that Democratic US Representative James Langevin is vacating.

The first event is set for 6 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. on Sept. 1 outside Revival Brewing in Providence. It will be headlined by Rhode Island hip-hop artist B. Dolan, and the lineup will include rapper and educator Sammus, Deer Tick guitarist Ian O’Neil, musician and spoken word poet Kufa Castro, electronic punk band Malportado Kids, and rock outfit Unmen.

The second event is set for 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sept. 6 at the Columbus Theater in Providence. It will include Rhode Island indie rock stars Deer Tick and Ted Leo, electropop artist Orion, jazz musician Manny Escobar, and rapper Aura.

The events will also include appearances by Providence City Council member Rachel Miller, state Representatives David Morales and Brandon Potter, Providence mayoral candidate Gonzalo Cuervo, and Exeter Democratic town chair Megan Cotter.

“The arts are part of what makes Rhode Island such a special place, and I’m honored to have some of the state’s best musicians supporting our efforts,” Segal said. “Our campaign to push back against corporate special interests and deliver for Rhode Islanders has tremendous momentum right now — and these concerts will help us continue to build the energy we need to win on September 13, and to beat the Republicans in November.”

Tickets start at $10 and proceeds will benefit David Segal for Congress. Tickets for the Sept. 1 concert are available at DavidSegalRI.com/revival, and tickets for the Sept. 6 concert are available at DavidSegalRI.com/rally.

Aug. 29, 2022

R.I. firefighters union endorses Magaziner for Congress

The Rhode Island Association of Fire Fighters on Monday endorsed state treasurer Seth Magaziner for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

“Seth Magaziner has been a champion for working people in Rhode Island,” association President Joseph A. Andriole said. “Thanks to Magaziner’s leadership, hard-working Rhode Islanders who have dedicated their lives to public service will be able to retire in dignity. Seth is exactly the fighter we need in Washington.”

Magaziner is running in a Democratic primary against Joy Fox, David Segal, Sarah Morgenthau, and Omar Bah for the seat that Democratic US Representative James Langevin is vacating.

Magaziner said he is proud to have the endorsement.

“These brave men and women respond to dangerous emergencies every single day and they do so with professionalism, skill and integrity,” he said. “I have been proud to work with firefighters across Rhode Island to make their retirement more secure and will be proud to fight for firefighters and all working people in Congress.”

Aug. 29, 2022

Roberts, York endorse Fox for Congress

Former Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts and former state Senator Myrth York on Monday endorsed Joy Fox for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

“When I started my campaign in February, Elizabeth and Myrth were among my first phone calls,” Fox said. “They both understand how high the stakes are in this election and why we need to send a woman with deep roots in the Second District to Congress.”

Fox is running in a Democratic primary against Seth Magaziner, David Segal, Sarah Morgenthau, and Omar Bah for the seat that Democratic US Representative James Langevin is vacating. If elected, Fox would be the first Democratic woman elected to Congress from Rhode Island.

“It is well past time for Rhode Island to send a Democratic woman to Congress,” York said. “Joy Fox is the woman we need to elect.”

She noted Fox worked for former governor Gina M. Raimondo, a Democrat who twice beat former Cranston mayor Allan W. Fung, who is now the Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

“Joy is the strongest candidate to keep the seat in Democratic hands come November,” York said. “I want a strong woman representing us who will lead the fight on reproductive justice, equal pay, and many other important issues that affect our everyday lives. Joy is the woman who understands Rhode Island and Rhode Islanders. I have worked with her and have complete confidence that she is our best hope to get the job done.”

Roberts said she has known Fox since her days as a reporter at the Cranston Herald.

“Since then, I have watched her roll up her sleeves and dive in to tackle tremendous challenges to make our state stronger,” she said. “We must send her can-do attitude and optimism to Congress, where I know she will fight every day for us to help make Rhode Island an affordable place to live and work.”

Aug. 29, 2022

Myrth York endorses Diossa for R.I. treasurer

Former state Senator Myrth York, who was the Democratic nominee for Rhode Island governor three times, on Monday endorsed James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

In a statement, York said she is backing Diossa for general treasurer “because it is a crucial role in our state, and he is the best candidate to do the job.”

“James will manage the treasurer’s office responsibly, and his record in elected office is clear,” she said. “He puts people first, he works hard, and he builds consensus to get things done.”

Diossa, former mayor of Central Falls, is running in a Democratic primary against former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor.

“Bringing Central Falls back from bankruptcy didn’t happen by accident,” York said. “It was the result of strong, inclusive leadership focused on righting the city’s finances and restoring faith in government. As treasurer, James will continue to be a voice representing all Rhode Islanders, and I look forward to seeing the great work he will do in office.

Aug. 29, 2022

R.I. Troopers Association backs McKee for full term as governor

The Rhode Island Troopers Association on Monday endorsed Governor Daniel J. McKee for a full term.

McKee is running in a Democratic primary against Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, former CVS executive Helena B. Foulkes, former secretary of state Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

The association represents that troopers, corporals, and sergeants of the Rhode Island State Police.

“Governor McKee wants to keep Rhode Island safe,” the association said in a statement. “During the last 17 months, Governor McKee has demonstrated a strong commitment to promoting public safety through his support of law enforcement.”

Aug. 29, 2022

Ruggiero announces endorsements in R.I. lieutenant governor’s race

State Representative Deborah L. Ruggiero, a candidate for lieutenant governor, has announced a bunch of new endorsements from state legislators, local Democratic committees, and other groups.

Ruggiero, a Jamestown Democrat, is running in a primary against Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, a Providence Democrat, and state Senator Cynthia Mendes, an East Providence Democrat.

“I am honored and overwhelmed by all this support,” Ruggiero said in a statement. “I have dozens of colleagues from the Rhode Island House of Representatives, nine local Democratic organizations, the RI Association of Democratic City and Town Chairs, the Victory Fund, LPAC, the hardworking men and women of the UFCW and frontline heroes of the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters supporting our campaign for lieutenant governor.”

Ruggiero received endorsements from colleagues in the state House of Representatives, including: Samuel A. Azzinaro, David A. Bennett, Stephen M. Casey, Arthur J. Corvese, Patricia A. Serpa, Evan P. Shanley, Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson, John G. Edwards, Julie A. Casimiro, Susan R. Donovan, Deborah A. Fellela, Carol Hagan McEntee, Arthur Handy, Bernard A. Hawkins, Jason Knight, Joseph M. McNamara, Mary Messier, Robert D. Phillips, Brandon C. Potter, Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, and Teresa A. Tanzi.

She was endorsed by the Democratic committees for Bristol, Jamestown, Middletown, Newport, Narragansett, North Smithfield, Scituate, Warren, and Woonsocket.

Also, Ruggiero received endorsements from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 328. And she received endorsements from The Victory Fund, which is dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people who can further equality at all levels of government; and LPAC, which endorses LGBTQ women and nonbinary candidates who share the group’s commitment to LGBTQ and women’s equality, and social justice.

Aug. 26, 2022

Shalala backs Morgenthau for Congress

Former US Representative Donna Shalala on Friday endorsed Sarah E. Morgenthau for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Morgenthau is running in a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against Seth Magaziner, David Segal, Joy Fox, and Omar Bah for the seat that Democratic US Representative James Langevin is vacating.

“Sarah Morgenthau is the only candidate in this race with experience getting things done in Washington and is the best equipped to meet the challenges our country is facing,” Shalala said in a statement. “She delivered for President Obama, she delivered for President Biden, and she’s ready on day one to deliver for Rhode Island. Now more than ever, we need more strong women in Congress.”

Shalala served as US Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, becoming the first Lebanese-American to serve in a Cabinet position. After serving as president of the Clinton Foundation, she was elected to Congress to represent Florida’s 27th district from 2019 to 2021.

Morgenthau said she is grateful for Shalala’s support.

“Congresswoman Shalala has been at the forefront of the national fight for women’s freedoms, early childhood education, and economic development,” Morgenthau said. “In Congress, I look forward to delivering for Rhode Island on these important issues.”

Aug. 26, 2022

Veterans group endorses Segal for Congress

The veterans group Common Defense on Friday endorsed David A. Segal for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Segal, a former state representative and Providence City Council member, is running in a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against Seth Magaziner, Sarah Morgenthau, Joy Fox, and Omar Bah for the seat that Democratic US Representative James Langevin is vacating.

“David is the only candidate for Congress in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District who has been fighting against corporate special interests and political corruption on the local, state, and national levels for 20 years,” Common Defense said.

Common Defense is “dedicated to building an equitable democracy and ensuring social, environmental, and economic justice,” and its priorities include expanding voting rights, transitioning toward a green economy, reasserting Congress’ war powers, and adequately funding the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Segal said, I’m proud to have earned the support of Common Defense, with which I’ve worked to constrain and prevent our involvement in disastrous military conflicts — and which more broadly stands for ensuring that our government and economy create fairer and more just outcomes for everyday Americans.”

Aug. 26, 2022

Firefighters union endorses Pryor for R.I. treasurer

The Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters executive board on Friday endorsed Stefan Pryor for state treasurer.

Pryor, the former Rhode Island commerce secretary, is running in a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa.

“Secretary Pryor has proven himself as a leader as the commerce secretary leading economic development in our state and helping to open business back up throughout the pandemic, getting people back to work,” said Joseph A. Andriole, president of the Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters. “In addition, his work after 9/11 in New York City assisting public safety and the community at large shows his commitment to public service. This leadership will serve him well as the fiduciary for the state pension system.”

Pryor said he is honored to receive the endorsement.

“I am grateful for the service of our state’s firefighters and take the responsibility of managing their pension funds very seriously,” he said. “I’m grateful to have their confidence. As treasurer, I will be laser focused on managing the state’s finances responsibly and using the tools of the treasurer’s office to keep building a healthier, more inclusive economy.”

Aug. 25, 2022

SEIU State Council endorses Gorbea for R.I. governor

The Rhode Island SEIU State Council on Thursday endorsed Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea for governor.

Gorbea is running in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary against Governor Daniel J. McKee, former CVS executive Helena B. Foulkes, former secretary of state Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

The Service Employees International Union State Council represents workers in the state Department of Children and Families, and the Department of Labor and Training, as well as those health care, workforce development, janitorial, child care, and security workers.

“Nellie Gorbea’s proven track record on creating family sustaining jobs, affordable housing and coalition-building uniquely qualifies her to lead Rhode Island through the challenges of our times,” said Jesse Martin, executive vice president of SEIU 1199 New England.

SEIU 1199 New England represents nearly 5,000 members in Rhode Island and 29,000 health care and service workers in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Southeastern Massachusetts.

“We need a leader that values the contributions of frontline workers, understands the needs of working families, and is willing to listen to the input of all her constituents to create a better Rhode Island for everyone,” Martin said. “Nellie is committed to expanding healthcare access, investing in our public education system and tackling complex environmental challenges. We look forward to working with her to achieve this vision over the next four years.”

Kelli Price, a registered nurse at Women & Infants Hospital and an SEIU 1199 New England member and delegate, said Gorbea received the union’s endorsement because she was willing to sit down and listen to the needs of caregivers.

“She heard our concerns about staffing, fair wages and safer workplaces and made the commitment to help us rebuild our workforce after years of the pandemic,” she said.

Kelly DiBiasio, president of SEIU Local 401, said the local is proud to support Gorbea because she has proven to be “a fair and effective leader.”

“She will work hard to ensure that working people of our state are at the forefront in her values and always appreciated,” DiBiasio said. “We are excited to work with her as our next governor for a better future for our members, their families, and the community we serve.”

SEIU Local 580 has not finalized it endorsement decision.

Aug. 25, 2022

Police officers union endorses Fung for Congress

The International Brotherhood of Police Officers on Thursday endorsed former Cranston mayor Allan W. Fung, a Republican, in the race for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District.

“Allan Fung has all the attributes and experience to represent Rhode Island and law enforcement in Rhode Island and throughout the country,” IBPO Rhode Island state director Ralph Ezovski said.

“In 2020, Rhode Island like most other states experienced great social upheaval,” Ezovski said. “Allan Fung has always stood shoulder to shoulder with law enforcement and supported the rule of law. His commitment to law enforcement is unmatched and in these trying times, Allan Fung would be a strong voice for the men and women who wear the badge every day protecting the law-abiding citizens.”

Fung said he is honored to receive the endorsement.

“I’ve worked closely with so many outstanding members of law enforcement, first as a criminal prosecutor in narcotics and organized crime, but also as mayor,” Fung said. “In Cranston, our neighbors feel safe because of strong community policing programs, school resource officers and protection details, and leadership that truly backs the blue.”

Fung does not face a Republican primary and will take on the winner of a Democratic primary involving Seth Magaziner, Sarah Morgenthau, David Segal, Joy Fox, and Omar Bah. They are vying for the seat that Democratic US Representative James Langevin is vacating.

Aug. 24, 2022

R.I. will have multilingual voter information hotline

With the fall elections coming up, the United Way of Rhode Island on Wednesday announced it is partnering with Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea to set up a new, multilingual 211 voter information hotline.

Rhode Islanders already use United Way’s 211 as a free helpline that provides information and referrals on matters such as food assistance, senior care, prescriptions, early childhood education, and eviction prevention.

The new partnership, which involves the the Elections Division at the Rhode Island Department of State, aims to engage 211′s social service expertise and language capacity to ensure all voters have access to trusted election information this year.

By dialing 211 and selecting prompt 5, users can connect with a trained United Way 211 call specialist who can answer questions about voter registration, polling locations, early in-person voting, applying for a mail ballot, and where to return a mail ballot.

Voters may also text their zip code to 898211 for assistance. Text service is available Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The voter hotline will be available through the general elections on Nov. 8; voters may also find information related to frequently-asked questions on vote.ri.gov.

“Our work in equity is about connecting people to the resources they need to create change in their lives and in their communities,” United Way President & CEO Cortney Nicolato said. “By leveraging our capabilities with 211, our neighbors have a one-stop resource to get all of their questions answered.”

The voter hotline was first created at the recommendation of Gorbea’s Elections 2020 Task Force to assist voters during the pandemic. Earlier this year, the passage of the Let RI Vote Act requires a multilingual voter hotline be established every election cycle.

“Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and it is important that voters have convenient access to trusted election information,” Gorbea said. “We’re here to answer any questions you have so you can exercise your fundamental right to vote.”

Aug. 24, 2022

Nurses union endorses Matos for R.I. lieutenant governor

The United Nurses and Allied Professionals on Wednesday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos for a full term.

Matos, a Democratic former Providence City Council president, is running in a primary against state Senator Cynthia Mendes, an East Providence Democrat, and state Representative Deborah L. Ruggiero, a Jamestown Democrat.

“Sabina Matos has been a strong and loyal advocate for Rhode Island’s nurses and health care workers,” said Lynn Blais, president of United Nurses and Allied Professionals. “Since the start of the pandemic, she has used her influence to protect essential workers and put forth efforts to analyze all aspects of Rhode Island’s COVID-19 response, so that we can be better prepared in the event of a future crisis.”

Matos helped advocate for relief money for hospitals that were financially impacted by the pandemic, helping to keep community hospitals from being taken over by for-profit corporations, Blais said. “Rhode Island needs a lieutenant governor who stands up for patients and those who care for them,” she said. “Sabina is that lieutenant governor.”

Matos said she was proud to have the endorsement.

“Our nurses and allied health professionals kept us safe through the pandemic, and they provide our families with high-quality care every day of the week,” she said. “As lieutenant governor, I’ve successfully fought for record investments in housing and have led the charge to expand access to healthcare, including advocating for an expansion of reproductive healthcare. Over the next four years, I’ll continue to fight to ensure that our nurses and healthcare workers are respected and valued.”

Aug. 24, 2022

Auto workers union backs McKee for R.I. governor

The United Auto Workers on Wednesday endorsed Governor Daniel J. McKee for a full term.

McKee is running in a Democratic primary against Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, former CVS executive Helena B. Foulkes, former secretary of state Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

United Auto Workers Region 9A represents nearly 1,000 workers in the automotive, childcare, gaming, and human service industries.

“Governor McKee has made clear that he has the backs of working people and their families,” UAW Region 9A Director Beverley Brakeman said. “He supports the issues that are important to our members, including better and more fair working conditions, a strong economy, and tax relief for Rhode Islanders. In his first 18 months in office, he has proven that he has the leadership skills to turn Rhode Island’s economy around, and we look forward to supporting him at the polls on September 13.”

McKee said he is grateful for the endorsement.

“Working Rhode Islanders need steady leadership that will invest in good-paying jobs with good benefits to support them and their families,” he said. “Together, we have created jobs and put Rhode Islanders back to work, earning Rhode Island the lowest unemployment rate on record. With investments to expand key sectors of our economy, and send direct tax relief to Rhode Island families, veterans, seniors, and businesses, we are making Rhode Island a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Aug. 24, 2022

Collective PAC endorses LaFortune for Providence mayor, Jones for City Council

The Collective PAC — the nation’s largest political action committee dedicated to increasing Black political engagement, representation, and power — on Wednesday endorsed Nirva LaFortune for mayor of Providence mayor, and Corey Jones for the Providence City Council.

LaFortune, who now represents Ward 3 on the Providence City Council, is running in a Sept. 13 Democratic mayoral primary against former state administration director Brett Smiley and former deputy secretary of state Gonzalo Cuervo.

In 2017, LaFortune became Rhode Island’s first Haitian American to serve in elected office, and if elected, she would be the first woman and Black mayor of Providence. She works as the assistant director of the Curricular Resource Center for Peer Advising at Brown University.

The group said LaFortune aims to invest in education, expand housing, and create an accessible economy.

Jones is running for the Providence City Council Ward 3 seat that LaFortune is vacating. He is facing a Democratic primary against Sue Anderbois and Bradly VanDerStad.

Jones is a former educator and a former political director and executive director of the Black Lives Matter RI PAC. The group said he understands the importance of investing in the community through education, and addressing social justice through protests. If elected, he aims to invest in year-round youth educational programs, create pipelines to jobs instead of incarceration, and usher in a city-level Green New Deal.

Aug. 23, 2022

Senator Zurier endorses LaFortune for Providence mayor

State Senator Samuel D. Zurier on Tuesday endorsed Providence City Council member Nirva LaFortune for mayor of Providence.

Zurier, a Providence Democrat, served on the City Council with LaFortune in 2017-18. LaFortune is now running in a Democratic mayoral primary against former state administration director Brett Smiley and former deputy secretary of state Gonzalo Cuervo.

“I know Nirva, and I trust her integrity and sound judgment,” Zurier said in a statement. “Winning election after her predecessor was recalled from office, Nirva fought to restore the good name of the Providence City Council in the wake of its leadership scandals.”

LaFortune “showed foresight and vision” by proposing to link the Fane Tower tax stabilization agreement, which involved a proposal for what would be the state’s tallest building, to affordable housing funding, Zurier said. While the City Council majority rejected her idea at the time, the council later approved an ordinance to adopt a similar policy for all future development, he said.

LaFortune said she is proud to have Zurier’s endorsement.

“Our campaign has been laser focused on bringing people together to advance our city’s well-being in both the short and long terms,” she said. “Senator Zurier and I agree that policy that is created in silos is not good public policy. As mayor, I look forward to working with our entire state legislative delegation to move our city and our region forward.”

Aug. 23, 2022

Early voting begins in R.I. on Wednesday

Early voting for the state’s Sept. 13 primaries begins on Wednesday.

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea reminded voters that early voting will run from Wednesday through 4 p.m. Sept. 12.

Voters should verify the early voting hours and location for their community, and they’re encouraged to reach out to their local board of canvassers with any questions. A complete early voting guide is available at vote.ri.gov.

Nearly 150,000 Rhode Islanders cast their ballots early in-person in the November 2020 general election, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all votes cast in the state, Gorbea said.

Aug. 23, 2022

R.I. voters can now track their mail ballots

The Rhode Island Board of Elections on Tuesday encouraged voters who cast their ballot via mail or secure dropbox for the Sept. 13 primary election to use the Ballottrax tool to track the status of submitted mail ballots.

“Casting a ballot by mail or via a secure dropbox is a convenient option, and many voters want to make sure their ballot has been received, processed, and counted by the Board of Elections,” Board of Elections executive director Robert Rapoza said. “That is why we are encouraging voters to utilize Ballottrax to monitor the status of their submitted mail ballots.”

He said voters can sign up for by visiting ballottrax.sos.ri.gov/voter/, and he said the tool tracks ballot envelopes, not votes, “thus ensuring that your vote remains confidential through the entire ballot tracking process.”

Rhode Island voters only need to sign up for Ballotrax once and they will receive tracking status updates for all future elections in which they by mail, unless they opt out.

Aug. 22, 2022

Former Homeland Security secretary endorses Morgenthau for Congress

Former US Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson on Monday endorsed Sarah E. Morgenthau in the Democratic primary for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District.

“With experience in government ranging from senior-level positions in the Peace Corps, the Commerce Department, to Homeland Security, it is hard to imagine someone more qualified to assume a seat in Congress,” Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson served as secretary of Homeland Security from 2013 to 2017. Morgenthau worked under him as the first woman to lead the private sector office at the Department of Homeland Security, working with law enforcement, business leaders, and community organizations to combat domestic terrorism and radicalization at the local and national level.

“I have personally observed Sarah’s commitment to public safety and homeland security,” Johnson said. “I know her values. Her love of noble public service runs all throughout her DNA. If the people of Rhode Island’s 2nd congressional district want a smart, capable, and tenacious representative in Washington, vote for Sarah Morgenthau.”

Morgenthau said she was thankful for Johnson’s support.

“At a time of unprecedented national security threats, it is more important than ever to elect members of Congress who will work to protect our critical infrastructure, and protect against domestic terror and cybersecurity threats,” she said.

Morgenthau is running in a Democratic primary against Seth Magaziner, Joy Fox, David A. Segal, and Omar Bah for the 2nd Congressional District seat that Democratic US Representative James R. Langevin is vacating. The winner of the primary is expected to face Republican Allan W. Fung in the general election.

Aug. 22, 2022

Senator Whitehouse endorses R.I. Speaker Shekarchi

US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, on Monday endorsed House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi in the House District 23 race.

Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, is running in a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against Jacqueline M. Anderson.

”I have known Joe Shekarchi since our days working in Governor Bruce Sundlun’s administration,” Whitehouse said in a statement, “and I am proud to strongly endorse him for re-election.”

Whitehouse, who has delivered 279 speeches on the Senate floor about climate change, said that during Shekarchi’s tenure as House speaker, Rhode Island has taken “bold action” to protect the environment.

“The Act on Climate he passed made Rhode Island a national leader in fighting climate change and creating well-paying green jobs,” he said. “Thanks to his commitment to the environment and his record of accomplishments in so many other areas like affordable housing, health care, and education, I know Joe is the right choice for Warwick’s House District 23.”

Aug. 22, 2022

Pham, Jacob backing Cuervo for Providence mayor

Two progressive candidates in last year’s state Senate District 3 special election on Monday announced their support for Providence mayoral candidate Gonzalo Cuervo.

Geena Pham and Bret Jacob, who ran in last October’s five-way Democratic primary on the East Side, are backing Cuervo in his Democratic primary against Providence City Council member Nirva LaFortune and former state administration director Brett Smiley.

Pham, a nonprofit leader and educator, finished second, and Jacob, a deputy director of policy for the city of Providence, finished third in the Senate District 3 primary, which was won by now-Senator Samuel D. Zurier.

Pham and Jacob said, “Gonzalo has the professional and lived experience necessary to address the systemic barriers that keep too many Providence residents from a high quality of life. He leads with people-centered optimism, and we need more of that.”

Cuervo said he was honored to receive their support.

“They represent a new generation of leaders who care deeply about our city and are fighting for social, economic, racial, and climate justice,” Cuervo said. “Their endorsement is an important addition to our unprecedented citywide coalition of grassroots support. I look forward to working with them to build an equitable, sustainable, and prosperous future for Providence.”

Aug. 22, 2022

Nurses union endorses Diossa for treasurer

The United Nurses and Allied Professionals Union on Monday endorsed James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

Diossa is running in a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor.

The union represents more than 2,500 nurses, therapists, technologists, and other allied professionals in Rhode Island.

“Over the past few years, nurses and healthcare professionals have shouldered the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they did so with dedication and pride,” Diossa said.

When he was mayor in the early days of the pandemic, he said he sometimes slept in City Hall because he did not know if it was safe to be around his newborn daughter after a day engaging with constituents.

“I know the hard-working men and women of UNAP share in that fear and those stories,” Diossa said. “Given all that they’ve done for us, for our communities, we must continue to provide a secure and reliable retirement for our healthcare professionals.”

Aug. 22, 2022

AFL-CIO endorses R.I. House Speaker Shekarchi

The Rhode Island AFL-CIO on Monday announced it is endorsing House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi in the House District 23 race.

Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, is running in a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against Jacqueline M. Anderson.

“As Speaker of the House, Representative Shekarchi has made a positive impact for the working people of Rhode Island,” Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee said.

For example, he credited Shekarchi with eliminating the car tax, delivering $250 tax credits to working families with children, and eliminating the state income tax on military pensions. Also, Shekarchi supported legislation to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025, and helped to protect current law that provides for mandatory time-and-a-half pay for all workers who work on Sunday and holidays, he said.

“We’re supporting Speaker Shekarchi because he has a record of standing with our members,” Nee said.

Patrick Crowley, secretary treasurer of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, said Shekarchi’s role in creating more jobs in the green economy was a key factor in the endorsement.

“Speaker Shekarchi helped push through the two most consequential climate bills in Rhode Island history — the Act on Climate and the 100 percent Renewable Energy Standard,” Crowley said. “These bills are difference makers in protecting our environment and reducing carbon emissions, but they also create good, well-paying green jobs and transition us to a green economy. Speaker Shekarchi has had the foresight to put us on a path to a cleaner environment and ensure we are creating the jobs of the future.”

Aug. 19, 2022

Senator Cory Booker endorses Pryor for R.I. treasurer

US Senator Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, on Friday endorsed Stefan Pryor for state treasurer.

Pryor, the former Rhode Island commerce secretary, is running in a Democratic primary against former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa.

Pryor served as deputy mayor and director of economic and housing development in Newark, N.J., when Booker was mayor of that city. Booker was Newark’s mayor from 2006 to 2013.

“Stefan and I worked side-by-side in the trenches running New Jersey’s largest city, and he helped me make incredible progress for Newark residents, creating opportunity, improving quality of life, and ushering in the city’s biggest economic boom in a generation,” Booker said in a statement. “He did it in Rhode Island, too, during tough times. I believe in him, I am thrilled to support him, and I ask you to support his candidacy to be Rhode Island’s next treasurer.”

Pryor said he is “beyond grateful” for Booker’s backing.

“Cory Booker’s leadership — both as a mayor and as US senator — has been inspiring,” he said. “Together, Mayor Booker and I worked to bring significant economic development to Newark — despite historic barriers and ongoing obstacles. That experience navigating through tough challenges helped me in Rhode Island when, working with two governors, we took on the aftereffects of the Great Recession as well as the COVID-related economic downturn.”

Aug. 18, 2022

Diossa endorsed by United Food and Commercial Workers union

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 328 on Thursday endorsed former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

Diossa is running in a Democratic primary against former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union represents workers in grocery and retail stores, pharmacies, and health care.

“Mayor Diossa’s leadership in Central Falls during a difficult period shows he is up to the job to protect the pensions of thousands of Rhode Islanders who served our state in public service,” Local 328 president Timothy Melia said.

“Mayor Diossa has always been attentive to the financial needs of his city while also making critical investments in education, workforce training, and economic development,” Melia said. “He is the only person in this race with real life experience who understands the working families we represent.”

Aug. 18, 2022

Gubernatorial candidate forum to focus on R.I.’s youngest children

On Aug. 23, the RIght from the Start Campaign and Children’s Friend will host a gubernatorial candidate forum focused on issues impacting the state’s youngest children.

Children have been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and support systems were struggling even before the outbreak, the groups said. Forum topics will range from addressing the early education workforce and child-care crisis, to Head Start, pre-kindergarten, state Department of Children Youth and Families leadership, and the waiting list for early intervention.

The forum will include five Democrats: Governor Daniel J. McKee, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, former CVS executive Helena B. Foulkes, former secretary of state Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz, as well as Republican health care executive Ashley Kalus.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 23 at the Children’s Friend Friendship Center, 350 Point St., Providence.

Aug. 18, 2022

Brown Graduate Labor Organization endorses Cuervo for Providence mayor

The Graduate Labor Organization, the 1,000-member union of graduate student employees at Brown University, on Thursday endorsed Gonzalo Cuervo for mayor of Providence.

Cuervo is running in a Democratic primary against Providence City Council member Nirva LaFortune and former state administration director Brett Smiley.

The Graduate Labor Organization said Cuervo’s “bold housing policies, leadership experience, and background” set him apart.

“We have full confidence in Gonzalo’s housing platform and commitment to making Providence an affordable place to live for working people,” said Michael Ziegler, the group’s political director. “Moreover, we are excited to support a candidate who will prioritize addressing the city’s housing crisis through the public development of affordable housing and rent stabilization over the enrichment of private developers and real estate speculators.”

Ziegler said the union is trying to ensure that Brown and other large nonprofits “pay their fair share” so that Providence can provide the high-quality services residents expect from local government.

“We are particularly concerned with using the negotiation of new PILOT agreements to secure revenue that will give Providence Public School District teachers the resources they need,” he said. “We believe that out of all the candidates in this race, Gonzalo is in the best position to work with members of the City Council and Providence’s State House delegation, as well as community organizations, to hold Brown accountable in PILOT negotiations.”

Cuervo said he is proud to have the group’s endorsement.

“I got my start in community organizing nearly three decades ago, and I am inspired by the membership’s dedication to social and economic justice for workers and for all the city’s residents,” he said. “I look forward to working closely with them to ensure economic and social justice throughout Providence.”

Aug. 17, 2022

Painters union backs Pryor for R.I. treasurer

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 11 on Wednesday endorsed Stefan Pryor for state treasurer.

Pryor, the former Rhode Island commerce secretary, is running in a Democratic primary against former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa.

“In his work as Rhode Island commerce secretary, Stefan proved his ability to secure investments that would propel forward working people in the state of Rhode Island,” said Scott Duhamel, the union’s assistant to the general president. “We know that Stefan will be an effective treasurer for the state who correctly manages the state’s assets and keeps working families at the front of his mind with all of his deliberations and actions.”

Justin Kelley, the Painters District Council 11 business representative and political director, said Pryor will be an “effective and wise steward” as treasurer.

“We know he will continue his commitment to ending the underground economy in construction, engaging in economic development that works for working families and will always be responsive to working folks’ concerns and needs,” he said.

Pryor said, “This endorsement shows that the hard-working men and women are eager for a public servant in the treasurer’s office — who will partner to make sure more Rhode Islanders have access to well-paying careers. I’m grateful to have their confidence.”

Aug. 17, 2022

Police union endorses McKee for R.I. governor

The National Association of Government Employees/International Brotherhood of Police Officers on Wednesday endorsed Governor Daniel J. McKee for a full term.

NAGE/IBPO represents nearly 1,000 Rhode Islanders, including officers at 27 police departments across Rhode Island, as well as sectors of nurses and public works employees, and Naval Undersea Warfare Center employees.

“Governor McKee has been a true partner to law enforcement and public safety throughout his career in public service, making sure officers have the resources they need to protect and serve our communities,” said Ralph Ezovski, state director of the IBPO. “Most recently, he worked closely with our members and other agencies on implementing the body-worn camera program statewide.”

McKee has shown he knows “how to bring people together, listen, and take action to get things done for Rhode Island,” Ezovski said. “We are confident that our state will continue to have strong momentum with Governor McKee leading the way.”

McKee said that as a former mayor of Cumberland, he knows the importance of working with public safety to keep neighborhoods safe.

“Real leadership means bringing our police and our communities together, and that has never been more crucial,” he said. “We owe a debt of gratitude to these public servants, including the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line for their communities every day, and I am honored to have their support.”

McKee is running in a Democratic primary against Nellie M. Gorbea, Helena B. Foulkes, Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

Aug. 17, 2022

Former R.I. Democratic party chair backs Diossa for treasurer

Former Rhode Island Democratic Party chair William J. Lynch on Wednesday endorsed James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

“Our state is facing enormous financial challenges both now, and in the years ahead,” Lynch said. “These challenges require a new generation of experienced and tested leaders who have already proven by their personal histories to be dedicated to Rhode Island and to our future.”

He said Diossa has the personal and financial experience to know what’s important to all Rhode Islanders.

“As mayor of Central Falls, James inherited a bankrupt and broken city that under his leadership and guidance was transformed into a comeback city,” Lynch said. “James knows firsthand how important it is to have a general treasurer that has a demonstrated personal history of success in dealing with the many varied aspects of everyday Rhode Islanders who share the same goals and aspirations of a better life for their family.”

Diossa is running in a Democratic primary against former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor.

Aug. 16, 2022

IFPTE Local 400 Endorses Governor Dan McKee

The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 400 has endorsed of Governor Dan McKee for a full term.

“Governor McKee knows what it takes to make Rhode Island a better place to live and work so that our members and their families continue to benefit from a strong, vibrant economy. IFPTE is proud to represent highly-educated and trained men and women in Rhode Island and we’re excited to work with Governor McKee who has been a champion for hard working people in every corner of our state,” said Denise Robinson, President of IFPTE Local 400.

The group joins nearly two dozen building trades in endorsing the governor.

9 Building Trades Locals Endorse Governor Dan McKee

Nine building trades locals on Monday announced their endorsement of Governor Dan McKee for a full term.

“Governor McKee is the leader that Rhode Island needs to make sure we continue our economic progress and create jobs for hard-working Rhode Islanders. He has a strong record of accomplishment for just a year and a half – and has real plans to keep this momentum going in the long-term. That’s why he is our clear choice for Governor,” said Bobby Butler, Business Manager for Sheet Metal Workers Local 17.

“Governor McKee led Rhode Island through one of the toughest moments in our state’s history – a raging pandemic, from low vaccination rates, and high unemployment. After just a year and a half, Governor McKee led our state to having the lowest unemployment rate we’ve seen in years and the top economic recovery in the region,” said Richard Pacheco, Business Manager for Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 3. “He’s proven that his priority is getting Rhode Islanders back to work, while standing by our pledge to create a safe and fair work environment for our members. Rhode Island workers can count on Governor McKee to have our backs.”

The nine building trades locals endorsing McKee are: Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers Local 29; Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 3; Eastern Millwright Local 1121; Elevator Constructors Local 39; Heat & Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local 6; Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 40; Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers Local 33; Sheet Metal Workers Local 17; and Sprinkler Fitters and Apprentices Local 669.

Rhode Island AFL-CIO; NEA Rhode Island; Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council; Laborers’ District Council; AFSCME Council 94; IBEW Locals 99 and 2323; Teamsters Local 251; Painters District Council 11; Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 51; Iron Workers Local 37; United Nurses and Allied Professionals; Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters; ATU Local 618; the Rhode Island Democratic Party; the Democratic Governors Association; and the Cumberland, East Providence, Johnston, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, and Westerly Democratic committees have endorsed McKee as well.

Aug. 15, 2022

R.I. mail ballot applications due Aug. 23

Rhode Islanders have until Aug. 23 to submit a mail ballot application to their local board of canvassers for the Sept. 13. statewide primaries.

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea on Monday reminded voters that their mail ballot applications must be received by that day — not postmarked by that day. Voters may place applications in the mail or drop them off in person at their local board of canvassers, she noted.

“Voting by mail is a safe and secure option for casting your ballot,” Gorbea said. “I strongly encourage all Rhode Islanders that wish to vote from home with a mail ballot to put their applications in the mail at least a week before the deadline to ensure they are received in time. If you are not able to do that, take it to your city or town hall.”

The Department of State has partnered with public libraries to make mail ballot applications available. Registered voters may also access a mail ballot application by visiting vote.ri.gov or by contacting the Department of State’s Elections Division at 401-222-2340 or elections@sos.ri.gov.

Voters who do not return their mail ballot application by the Aug. 23 deadline, or those who prefer to vote in person can still vote in person, either early or on Election Day.

Early voting will be available during regular municipal business hours from Aug. 24 through 4 p.m. Sept. 12. Voters may contact their local board of canvassers for details on early voting. Voters choosing to vote on Election Day should go to vote.ri.gov to check their polling place information.

Aug. 15, 2022

Hassenfeld backs Morgenthau for Congress

Alan G. Hassenfeld, the former chairman CEO of Hasbro, on Monday endorsed Sarah E. Morgenthau in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District race.

Morgenthau is running in a Democratic primary against Seth Magaziner, Joy Fox, David A. Segal and Omar Bah. The winner will face Republican Allan W. Fung in the race to replace Democratic US Representative James R. Langevin.

Hassenfeld, chairman of Hassenfeld Family Initiatives, said, “It is time to elect a Democratic woman to Congress — and I know Sarah Morgenthau is the right woman for the job. Her experience, dedication, and fresh perspective are what we need in Washington right now, both as a state and as a country.”

Morgenthau is the only candidate “ready to deliver results for Rhode Island on day one and the only candidate who I am confident will beat Allan Fung in November,” Hassenfeld said in a statement. “I am proud to endorse her in the race for the Second Congressional District.”

Morgenthau said she is proud to have Hassenfeld’s support.

“For decades, he has been doing critical work to support Rhode Islanders and worthy causes across the globe,” she said. “I am proud to call him a friend and honored to have his endorsement.”

Aug. 15, 2022

R.I. Building Trades endorses Assembly candidates

The Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council on Monday announced its endorsements for House and Senate candidates running in Sept. 13 primaries.

The council is a coalition of 17 local trade unions with more than 10,000 members.

“After going through a thorough an arduous interview process, our council determined that these candidates support the challenges of middle-class working men and women, and therefore, we will support their candidacies,” trades council President Michael F. Sabitoni said.

In state Senate primaries, the council endorsed Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin in District 1, Senator Samuel D. Zurier in District 3, Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio in District 4, David Salvatore in District 5, Senator Frank A. Ciccone III in District 7, Senator Valarie J. Lawson in District 14, Robert Britto in District 18, Christopher B. Maselli, District 25, Senator Frank S. Lombardi in District 26, Mark McKenney in District 30, and Matthew L. LaMountain in District 31.

In primaries for the state House of Representatives, the council endorsed House Majority Leader Christopher R. Blazejewski in District 2, Anthony DeSimone in District 5, Representative Raymond A. Hull in District 6, House Democratic Caucus Chair Grace Diaz in District 11, Representative Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung in District 15, Representative Brandon C. Potter in District 16, Representative Joseph M. McNamara in District 19, Representative Joseph J. Solomon Jr. in District 22, House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi in District 23, House Judiciary Committee Chair Robert E. Craven Sr. in District 32, Representative Edward T. Cardillo Jr. in District 42, Glenn F. Dusablon in District 49, Representative Robert D. Phillips in District 51, Representative Arthur J. Corvese in District 55, Cherie L. Cruz in District 58, Representative Jean Philippe Barros in District 59, and Representative Marry D. Messier in District 62.

Aug. 15, 2022

#VOTEPROCHOICE endorses LaFortune for mayor

On Monday, the #VOTEPROCHOICE organization endorsed Nirva LaFortune for mayor of Providence.

LaFortune, a member of the Providence City Council, is facing a Democratic primary against former deputy secretary of state Gonzalo Cuervo and former state administration director Brett Smiley.

#VOTEPROCHOICE said it was joining EMILY’s List and the Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus in endorsing LaFortune “because they know how hard Nirva will fight to make sure that Providence and the entire state of Rhode Island are beacons of safety and inclusivity for all those seeking abortion and other forms of reproductive healthcare.”

“Access to safe, legal, affordable abortion will be one of the defining issues of our time,” the group said in a statement. “We need leaders who are unafraid to stand up and fight back against any and all attacks on abortion access for all people.”

LaFortune said, “I am proud of the advocacy record I have around the issue of access to safe and legal abortion. The decision of if and when to have or grow one’s family is a personal one. We need leaders who understand that attacks on reproductive rights are attacks on all marginalized communities. I will always stand up and use the platform of the mayor’s office to defend access to abortion and reproductive healthcare.”

Aug. 15, 2022

AFL-CIO endorses Senate President Ruggerio

The Rhode Island AFL-CIO on Monday announced it is endorsing Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio for re-election in Senate District 4.

Ruggerio, a North Providence Democrat, is facing a Sept. 13 Democratic primary against Lenny Cioe and Stephen G. Tocco.

Ruggerio is a retired administrator of the New England Laborers Labor Management Coop Trust who was first elected to the Senate in 1984, making him the Senate’s most senior member.

“Dominick Ruggerio has a long history of being a champion for working people,” Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee said. “As Senate president, he has taken the lead on a number of issues that are important to working families, like raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour and making wage theft and employee misclassification felonies. He also strongly supports efforts to protect current law that provides for mandatory time and a half pay for all workers who work on Sunday and holidays.”

Patrick Crowley, secretary treasurer of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, said Ruggerio’s role in creating more jobs in the green economy was a key factor in the endorsement.

“Senator Ruggerio sponsored the 100 percent Renewable Energy Standard bill and was integral in pushing it across the finish line,” Crowley said. “This legislation will not only help our environment by reducing carbon emissions, but it will create hundreds of new jobs in the green economy. We need forward thinking leaders who will promote policies that protect our environment for future generations and put the current generation of Rhode Islanders to work in these important jobs.”

Aug. 12, 2022

Providence City Council Ward 3 candidates debate, discuss priorities

Four candidates for the Providence City Council Ward 3 seat spelled out their priorities on Thursday night during a forum hosted by the Summit Neighborhood Association in partnership with the Rochambeau Library.

Three Democrats – Sue Anderbois, Corey Jones, and Bradly Vanderstad – and an independent candidate, Michael Fink, weighed in on issues such as climate change, ATVs on city streets, redesigning North Main Street, a proposal to make the school board partially elected and partially appointed, a temporary urban trail for biking and running on Hope Street, and what to do with the fire station on Rochambeau Avenue.

The Democrats are running in a Sept. 13 primary for the seat that Democratic City Council member Nirva LaFortune is leaving to run for mayor, and the winner will face Fink in the Nov. 8 general election.

Boston Globe Rhode Island reporter Edward Fitzpatrick moderated the event, which was held at the Rochambeau Library, and the candidates each named a book they would recommend reading:

Vanderstad: “God, War, and Providence: The Epic Struggle of Roger Williams and the Narragansett Indians against the Puritans of New England.”

Jones: “Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence – and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets”

Fink: “Remember Laughter: A Life of James Thurber”

Anderbois: “The Care Manifesto: The Politics of Interdependence”

Watch the full 90-minute forum here.

Aug. 12, 2022

Manufacturers Association endorses Pryor for treasurer

The Rhode Island Manufacturers Association has endorsed former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor for state treasurer.

Pryor is running in a Democratic primary against former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa.

“Stefan has an incredible work ethic and is the quintessential public servant,” said Dave Chenevert, executive director of Rhode Island Manufacturers Association. “His ability to lead and his enthusiasm for making it easier to do business in the state are inspirational, and his support for the manufacturing sector is unprecedented.”

Chenevert said Pryor helped lead Rhode Island’s economy out of the pandemic by working to ensure the manufacturing sector never shut down. Pryor used numerous programs to support small manufacturers, including the Innovation Voucher Program, the Qualified Jobs Tax Incentive for Manufacturers, and the Expansion of the Rebuild Program, he said.

Pryor said he was honored to receive the endorsement, noting that Rhode Island’s 1,500 manufacturers employ more than 40,000 people.

“For seven and a half years, we worked together to support this industry as it emerged from the Great Recession, gained new strength, and then navigated the pandemic,” Pryor said. “In the COVID era, I was proud that Rhode Island never shut down this crucial sector. Instead, we collaborated closely with industry and labor to keep manufacturers open safely. As treasurer, I will work intensively with partners in the business and labor communities to keep our economy strong – no matter what challenges come our way.”

Aug. 12, 2022

National Education Association PAC backs Diossa

The National Education Association Rhode Island Political Action Committee for Education on Friday announced it is endorsing former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

Diossa is running in a Democratic primary against former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor.

“Diossa’s experience navigating the City of Central Falls through a tumultuous crisis, his work with the current treasurer’s office, and his desire to continue their important work on reducing high-fee investments and focusing on safe, modern public-school facilities led us to this decision,” NEARI PACE Chairwoman Amy Mullen said in a statement.

NEARI President Larry Purtill said the teachers union heard from “two excellent candidates” and had a “robust discussion” about the endorsement.

“James Diossa is committed to transparent and accountable management of state finances,” Purtill said. “He will strengthen and grow the employee retirement system and bring together the many talents and partners necessary to maintain a stable and vibrant financial position for the Ocean State.”

Aug. 11, 2022

R.I. gubernatorial candidate Foulkes releases plan for diabetes, asthma medication

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Helena B. Foulkes on Thursday unveiled a plan to make Rhode Island the first state on a path to having zero out-of-pocket costs for diabetes and asthma medications.

Foulkes, a former CVS executive, said the “First to Zero” plan would eliminate copays for diabetes medication in 2023, and it would begin eliminating out-of-pocket costs associated with asthma treatment in 2025. The plan aims to save residents hundreds of dollars each year while lowering the state’s health care costs in the long term by keeping people out of emergency rooms.

“Leading the decision to put people over profits and stop selling tobacco at CVS was the proudest moment of my career, and it’s time to take a similarly bold approach to eliminating out-of-pocket costs for diabetes and asthma medication in Rhode Island,” Foulkes said in a statement. “In a state of only 1.1 million people, we can be a national leader in delivering high-quality, affordable health care to people in every community.”

She said one in 10 Rhode Islanders has diabetes, and one in three are prediabetic. Meanwhile, more than 125,000 Rhode Islanders have asthma, and they spend an average of $529 a year as a result of hospitalizations, many of which could be prevented or significantly reduced with regular medication.

The Affordable Care Act is a great example of how keeping people on medications results in lower health care spending, Foulkes said. The number of Rhode Islanders with insurance has increased, and emergency room visits are down 30 percent since 2012, she said.

In its first year, the cost of implementing the “First to Zero” plan would be $15 million, which is 0.001 percent of the state’s overall budget, Foulkes said. Program costs would decrease over time as savings are achieved by avoiding high-cost hospital visits, she said.

Aug. 11, 2022

Correctional officers union backs Pryor for treasurer

The Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers on Thursday endorsed Stefan Pryor for state treasurer.

Pryor, the former Rhode Island commerce secretary, is running in a Democratic primary against former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa.

“The stakes of this election are different and of particular importance,” correctional officers union President Richard Ferruccio said. “Rhode Island and our country may be seeing an economic slowdown, and its impact on our state pension system can be significant. It has never been more important to have an experienced professional managing the billions in our state pension system. Stefan is the candidate we can trust to manage the state’s finances and our members’ retirement future.”

Pryor thanked the union for the endorsement. “As treasurer, I will focus on keeping the economy strong and on securing workers’ retirement future,” he said.

Aug. 11, 2022

Transit union endorses Governor McKee

The Amalgamated Transit Union on Thursday endorsed Governor Daniel J. McKee for a full four-year term.

McKee is running in a Democratic primary against Nellie M. Gorbea, Helena B. Foulkes, Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

“We know that Governor McKee stands up for Rhode Island workers and values the essential public service our members provide,” said Nick DeCristofaro, president of ATU Local 618. “He has demonstrated his commitment to ensuring that we can continue to provide a wide range of service throughout the state for all people who rely on public transportation, whether it’s to go to their appointments, to work, or enjoy our wonderful beaches.”

He said that under McKee’s leadership, Rhode Island is seeing investments in infrastructure, schools, and the economy.

McKee said he was honored to have the endorsement.

“We must continue to strengthen our public transportation sector, and transit workers are the driving force behind the industry,” he said. “We rely on transit workers to show up, day in and day out, to provide a vital service to our state by keeping our public transit running smoothly, connecting our communities, and getting Rhode Islanders to work and to school safely and on time.”

Aug. 11, 2022

Kalus tests positive for COVID-19

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ashley Kalus tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

Kalus, who is vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, is experiencing mild symptoms but is feeling good, campaign spokesman Matthew Hanrahan said.

“Ashley is isolating at home and is looking forward to returning to the campaign trail soon,” he said.

Aug. 11, 2022

Teamsters supporting Matos for R.I. lieutenant governor

General Teamsters Local 251 on Thursday endorsed Sabina Matos for lieutenant governor, citing her “long commitment to workers and job creation.”

Matos, the former Providence City Council president who was named lieutenant governor last year, is running in a Democratic primary against Representative Deborah L. Ruggiero, a Jamestown Democrat, and Senator Cynthia Mendes, an East Providence Democrat.

“Sabina has always been a friend of working Rhode Islanders, and she is the best candidate in the race for lieutenant governor,” Local 251 Secretary-Treasurer Matt Taibi said. “Since she was sworn in as lieutenant governor a year ago, she has fought for workers’ rights, workforce training, and job creation. She brings years of experience fighting for labor-led initiatives and has a track record of getting the job done.”

Matos said she was proud to have the endorsement.

“Our economy does not work without the Teamsters,” she said. “Since I’ve taken office, I’ve worked closely with labor to secure a $250 million investment in housing that will benefit working Rhode Islanders. With a full term in office, I’ll continue to stand up for workers’ rights and will fight for meaningful investments to ensure that every worker has the skills they need to thrive.”

Aug. 10, 2022

R.I. Democratic Women’s Caucus endorses Gorbea, Mendes, Diossa

The Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus on Wednesday endorsed Nellie M. Gorbea for governor, Cynthia Mendes for lieutenant governor, James A. Diossa for general treasurer, and David N. Cicilline in the 1st Congressional District.

The caucus announced endorsements in federal, state, and local races, saying the candidates align with the group’s values and its vision of “a robust participatory government led by women, that is informed by women, and works for women of the state of Rhode Island.”

“Democratic values are under attack, from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, to dark money groups working to defeat local candidates who support women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and anti-racism efforts,” the caucus said in a statement. “We need bold leaders who recognize the urgency of the moment and will govern accordingly. Each of our endorsed candidates has demonstrated a commitment to do so.”

The group did not announce an endorsement in the 2nd Congressional District race to replace Democratic US Representative James R. Langevin.

The caucus endorsed the following candidates for the state Senate:

The Rev. Donnie Anderson in state Senate District 1, Robin Xiong in District 3, Lenny Cioe in District 4, Samuel W. Bell in District 5, Tiara Mack in District 6, Arthur Flanders in District 7, Linda Ujifusa in District 11, Megan Duckworth in District 14, Meghan Kallman in District 15, Jonathon Acosta in District 16, Gregory Greco in District 18, Giang “Jenny” Bui in District 21, Melanie DuPont in District 22, Eric Asselin in District 26, Jennifer Rourke in District 29, Jeanine Calkin in District 30, Harrison Tuttle in District 31, Pam Lauria in District 32, Jennifer Douglas in District 34, Bridget Valverde in District 35, and Victoria Gu in District 38.

The caucus endorsed the following candidates for the state House of Representatives:

Edith H. Ajello in House District 1, Savannah DaCruz in District 2, Diana Garlington in District 5, Damian Lima in District 6, David Morales in District 7, Giona Picheco in District 14, Stuart Wilson in District 19, Capri Catanzaro in District 21, Zakary Pereira in District 22, Jacqueline Anderson in District 23, Samara Yelle in District 26, Melissa Devine in District 31, Danielle Walsh in District 32, Carol Hagan McEntee in District 33, Teresa Tanzi in District 34, Tina Spears in District 36, Megan Cotter in District 39, Kelsey Coletta in District 42, Alex Kithes in District 49, Marlene Guay in District 51, Clara Hardy in District 55, Jennifer Stewart in District 59, Leonela Felix in District 61, Kinverly Dicupe in District 62, Brianna Henries in District 64, San Shoppell in District 65, Jennifer Boylan in District 66, Susan Donovan in District 69, Michelle McGaw in District 71, and Lauren Carson in District 75.

In Providence races, the caucus endorsed Nirva LaFortune for mayor, John Goncalves for City Council Ward 1, Sue AnderBois for City Council Ward 3, Jackie Goldman for City Council Ward 5, Miguel Sanchez for Providence City Council Ward 6, and Andrew Poyant for Providence City Council Ward 14.

The caucus also endorsed Nicole LeBoeuf for an at-large Pawtucket City Council seat, Marlena Stachowiak for Pawtucket City Council Ward 6, Tyler McFeeters for Pawtucket School Committee, Meaghan Levasseur for Central Falls City Council Ward 1, Aniece Germain for Cranston City Council Ward 2, Sharon Davis for Hopkinton Town Council, Samantha Wilcox for Richmond Town Council, Jessica Purcell for Chariho School Committee, Katherine “Katie” Anderson for North Kingstown Town Council, Kimberly Page for North Kingstown Town Council, Matthew McCoy for North Kingstown Town Council, Erin Earle for North Kingstown School Committee, and Patricia Alley for South Kingstown Town Council.

Aug. 10, 2022

National Education Association endorses Lieutenant Governor Matos

The National Education Association Rhode Island Political Action Committee for Education on Wednesday announced it is endorsing Sabina Matos for lieutenant governor.

Matos — the former Providence City Council president who was named lieutenant governor last year when Daniel J. McKee became governor — is running in a Democratic primary against Senator Cynthia Mendes, an East Providence Democrat, and Representative Deborah L. Ruggiero, a Jamestown Democrat.

“Sabina Matos understands the challenges facing working families in Rhode Island and our committee believes she is the right choice for Lt. Governor,” NEARI-PACE chair Amy Mullen said.

NEARI President Larry Purtill said, “Matos’ understanding of how her priorities for the office — especially affordable housing and broadband equity — intersect directly with the needs of our members and the students and public they serve was a driving factor in this endorsement.”

The union might disagree with Matos on some issues, Purtill said. “But the lieutenant governor demonstrates a willingness to engage in open and honest conversation to reach compromise,” he said. “Communication and building a relationship are critical to our members’ voices being heard by state lawmakers and we look forward to working with the lieutenant governor on our shared priorities.”

Aug. 10, 2022

Warwick City Council president backs Shekarchi in House race

Warwick City Council President Stephen P. McAllister is backing House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi for re-election in House District 23.

Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, is facing a Democratic primary against Jacqueline M. Anderson, and Republican Dana J. Traversie is running for the House District 23 seat.

“At the State House and across Rhode Island, Joe Shekarchi is known as Speaker Shekarchi,” McAllister wrote in a statement of support. “But in his hometown of Warwick, he is simply known as Joe,” and “Joe has been a champion for Warwick residents while serving as state rep in District 23.”

That district includes Ward 7, which McAllister represents on the City Council, and he said Shekarchi often calls him to ask, “What’s going on in the neighborhoods?” or “How can I help?”

“Having Joe represent our city at the State House has been a huge benefit for Warwick,” McAllister said. “Joe worked hard to eliminate the car tax and ensured Warwick would not suffer any revenue loss as a result. He advocated for bringing more affordable housing to Warwick and led a team that created the first-ever permanent funding stream for affordable housing in Rhode Island.”

McAllister said Shekarchi also worked to ensure that Kent Hospital stayed open, “helping protect 3,000 jobs in Warwick and allowing our residents to continue to receive top-notch health care services without leaving the city.”

Aug. 10, 2022

Teamsters endorse Pryor for R.I. treasurer

Teamsters Local 251 on Wednesday endorsed Stefan Pryor for state treasurer.

Pryor, the former Rhode Island commerce secretary, is running against former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa in a Democratic primary.

“As commerce secretary, Stefan Pryor has stood with Teamster families by supporting good jobs in Rhode Island,” said Matt Taibi,Eastern Region vice president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “We are confident Mr. Pryor will support Teamster families as state treasurer.”

Pryor thanked Teamsters Local 251 for the endorsement, saying, “Local 251 is essential to Rhode Island’s economy, ensuring our supply chain remains strong. Together, we will keep Rhode Island’s economic momentum going, even during these uncertain times. As treasurer, I will work tirelessly to protect our workers, their families, and their financial futures.”

Aug. 9, 2022

Providence mayoral candidates meeting in forum

The three candidates for mayor of Providence on Wednesday will take part in a candidate forum hosted by Central Providence Opportunities: A Health Equity Zone and ONE Neighborhood Builders.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, at Father Lennon Park, 62 Camden Place, in Providence. Dinner will be served at 7:15 p.m., and voter registration will be available.

The three Democratic candidates are former deputy secretary of state Gonzalo Cuervo, Providence City Council member Nirva LaFortune, and former state administration director Brett Smiley.

The event will include Jennifer Hawkins, executive director of ONE Neighborhood Builders, and residents from the 02908 and 02909 zip codes and will highlight issues of concern to those areas of the city. The program will be conducted in English and Spanish.

Aug. 8, 2022

Women members of R.I. House of Representatives endorse Shekarchi

Nearly two dozen women members of the Rhode Island House of Representatives have written an open letter in support of the re-election of State Representative Joe Shekarchi.

”Throughout his tenure at the State House, Joe Shekarchi has tirelessly worked to build relationships among stakeholders to get things done,” they wrote. “His abilities to listen with an open mind and build consensus have made him an effective leader during a critical time in our state and country. Moreover, he has made a concentrated effort to rebalance power in the House, elevating women to a record number of leadership positions and championing our legislation.”

In the letter, the legislators noted that Shekarchi played a major role in codifying Roe v. Wade into law in Rhode Island.

”Without his support and advocacy, this crucial legislation would not have passed,” they wrote.

They listed other work Shekarchi has championed, including passing legislation to ensure pay equity for women, supporting healthcare reimbursement rate reform, eliminating the state car tax, implementing more tax breaks for seniors, eliminating state taxes on military pensions, and increasing spending for mental health services. They credited his leadership in the passage of the Act on Climate, several measures to decrease gun violence, and measures to improve voting access and security.

The signers of the letter point out that much of the legislation Shekarchi has championed has been sponsored by women.

“As Speaker, Joe Shekarchi has made Rhode Island’s House of Representatives a place where women can grow and thrive as civic leaders,” they wrote. “Six house committees are chaired by women and 21 women serve as either committee vice chairs or sub-committee chairs; the Majority Whip and Deputy Majority Whip are women, as is the Deputy Speaker; and four women serve as Deputy Majority Leaders. Many key House leadership positions are filled by a diverse group of women. By any measurement, that’s progress.”

”We are proud to endorse Joe Shekarchi in the House District 23 Democratic primary,” they added. “His leadership has helped advance smart policies and build a chamber of increased equality and fairness. Under his leadership, this House is no longer the ‘good old boys’ club that it once was but is now a member-driven chamber that champions and encourages women to fulfill key roles at crucial moments on major pieces of legislation.”

The letter was signed by state Representatives Lauren Carson, Terri Cortvriend, Kathy Fogarty, Katherine Kazarian, Julie Casimiro, Grace Diaz, Teresa Tanzi, Karen Alzate, Leonela Felix, Justine Caldwell, Edie Ajello, Susan Donovan, Carol McEntee, Jackie Baginski, Rebecca Kislak, Mary Messier, Patricia Serpa, June Speakman, Mia Ackerman, Susan Donovan, Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, Deb Fellela, and Marcia Ranglin-Vassell.

Aug. 8, 2022

Morales endorses Cuervo for mayor

State Representative David Morales on Monday endorsed Gonzalo Cuervo for mayor of Providence.

Morales, a Providence Democrat, said he considers Cuervo “the best candidate to lead Providence to economic prosperity for all,” and he said Cuervo’s commitment to working with Providence’s General Assembly delegation won his support.

“I’m proud to support Gonzalo Cuervo for mayor of Providence as he is truly committed to the working people and families in our communities,” Morales said.

He said Cuervo has plans for addressing issues that are important for working families and underserved communities.

“From the expansion of public and affordable housing to improving basic city services to holding private universities financially accountable to fully implementing the Providence Climate Justice Plan – I know Gonzalo will continue to work with the people in our community to introduce a city budget and a series of ordinances that improves the quality of life in Providence,” Morales said.

Morales represents House District 7, which includes the Mount Pleasant and Elmhurst neighborhoods.

Cuervo is running in a Democratic primary against Providence City Council member Nirva LaFortune and former state administration director Brett Smiley.

Aug. 8, 2022

Ruggiero presses Matos for more debates

State Representative Deborah L. Ruggiero, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, on Monday called for Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos to take part in more debates.

“It is disappointing to see Sabina Matos and her team ignore our calls for debate participation,” Ruggiero said in a statement. “Their previous remarks are dismissive and demeaning to all Rhode Islanders. Debates are democracy in action.”

Ruggiero, a Jamestown Democrat, said she is proud of her record and accomplishments. “It appears that Matos is unable to say the same,” she said. “Rhode Islanders deserve more than the failed McKee-Matos administration.”

Ruggiero, Matos and Senator Cynthia Mendes, an East Providence Democrat, are running in a Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

Aug. 8, 2022

Fire put out at secretary of state candidate’s house

Stephanie Beauté, a Democratic candidate for secretary of state, was driving home from the Dominican Festival parade on Sunday when she received a call from an alarm company saying her home in North Smithfield was on fire.

When she arrived home, North Smithfield firefighters and investigators were on the scene, and they put out a kitchen fire on the first floor within minutes, limiting damage to other areas of the house. No one was injured, but the house will be uninhabitable for at least three weeks, according to a statement from her campaign.

Beauté complimented the North Smithfield firefighters for their quick action and painstaking work to minimize damage to the house. “Public servants in Rhode Island are taken for granted so often, but this was a first-hand demonstration of how important our First Responders are,” she said.

Beauté said she had planned on hosting a birthday party for her daughter before the fire, but the party was moved to the fire station No. 2 in North Smithfield, where firefighters treated children and parents with a tour of the station. The children also took turns sitting in firetrucks and were given coloring books.

The fire department’s “immediate offer of hospitality for the birthday party was a huge hit with the children,” Beauté said, and she is “most grateful.”

Aug. 6, 2022

R.I. Latino PAC endorses Gorbea, Matos, Diossa, Cuervo

The Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee is endorsing Nellie M. Gorbea for governor, Sabina Matos for lieutenant governor, James A. Diossa for state treasurer, and Gregg Amore for secretary of state.

RILPAC also is endorsing Gonzalo Cuervo for mayor of Providence.

In state legislative races, the group is backing Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat; Senator Jonathon Acosta, a Central Falls Democrat; Representative Karen Alzate, a Pawtucket Democrat; Representative Jose Batista, a Providence Democrat; House candidate Maribel Echeverry McLaughlin; and House candidate Giona Picheco.

In Providence City Council races, the PAC is endorsing Miguel A. Sanchez in Ward 6 and former state Senator Juan M. Pichardo in Ward 9.

In Pawtucket races, the group is backing Mayor Donald R. Grebien and City Council candidates Yesenia Rubio and Roberto Moreno.

Aug. 6, 2022

Candidate for R.I. governor, Gorbea announces 44 endorsements

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, a Democratic candidate for governor, has picked up 44 endorsements from a variety of former and current state legislators, city and town council members, Democratic committee chairs, school committee members, and others.

“Nellie has always been there, fighting for policies that make life easier for all Rhode Islanders,” said state Senator Bridget Valverde, a North Kingstown Democrat. “Whether it’s expanding housing opportunities, improving voting systems, or advocating for reproductive justice, she shows up and does the work. We need strong, transparent leadership, and I trust Nellie to be the governor we all need.”

“Nellie Gorbea is a well rounded, experienced community leader who has worked tirelessly for Rhode Island as a public servant for most of her career,” Pawtucket City Council member Elena Vasquez said. “I believe Nellie is the right candidate to bring back economic growth and prosperity to the Ocean State. As governor, Nellie will ensure our government embraces and reflects the diversity of this great state.”

On Friday, Gorbea announced endorsements from former state senator J. Clement “Bud” Cicilline; former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Myrth York, Senator Bridget Valverde, Senator James Seveney, Senator Alana DiMario, Senator Meghan Kallman, Representative John Edwards, Representative Susan Donovan, Representative Jason Knight, Representative Mary Messier, Representative Grace Diaz, Representative Karen Alzate, Representative Lauren Carson, Representative Terri Cortvriend, Representative Leonela Felix, Representative Rebecca Kislak, Representative Carol Hagan McEntee, and Representative June Speakman.

On the local level, Gorbea announced endorsements from Smithfield Town Council President Suzy Alba, Central Falls City Council President Pro Tempore Franklin Solano, Central Falls City Council President Jessica Vega, Cranston City Council Vice President Robert Ferri, Providence City Council Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris, Newport City Council member Elizabeth Fuerte, Cranston City Council member Aniece Germain, Bristol Town Council member Aaron Ley, North Kingstown Town Council member Kimberly Page, Warwick City Council member Jeremy Rix, Pawtucket City Council member Elena Vasquez, North Smithfield School Committee member Paul Jones, East Greenwich School Committee Chair Anne Musella, and East Greenwich School Committee member William Hangan.

Gorbea also announced endorsements from Charlestown Democrats Cathy and Will Collette, Portsmouth Democratic Committee Chair Len Katzman, New Shoreham Democratic Committee Chair Sean McGarry, Richmond Democratic Committee Chair Joe Reddish, East Greenwich Democratic Committee Chair Christa Thompson, former Providence Journal political columnist M. Charles Bakst, Johnston Housing Authority Executive Director David aRusso, home builder David Caldwell Jr., Former Planned Parenthood RI medical director Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, Joyce Stevos, and former Common Cause Rhode Island executive director H. Phillip West Jr.

Gorbea is running in a Democratic primary against Governor Daniel J. McKee, former CVS executive Helena B. Foulkes, former secretary of state Matt Brown, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

Aug. 5, 2022

EMILY’S List endorses LaFortune for Providence mayor

EMILY’s List on Friday endorsed Providence Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune for mayor.

The national group, which aims to elect Democratic women at all levels of government who support abortion rights, noted LaFortune would be the first woman, first Black person, and first mom to be elected as mayor of Providence.

“EMILY’s List is thrilled to endorse Nirva LaFortune for Providence mayor,” said Sarah Curmi, the group’s vice president of state and local campaigns. “LaFortune has been a force for positive change as a council member for Providence’s 3rd Ward since 2017. In that time, she has championed affordable housing, community development, and public education. We are proud to support her groundbreaking mayoral candidacy and can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next.”

LaFortune said the support of EMILY’s List is humbling.

“At this moment in our history, with access to abortion under assault, I can commit to using the bully pulpit and convening powers of the mayor’s office to elevate the issue of reproductive justice,” she said. “I pledge to work alongside the governor, state legislature, and our congressional delegation to never stop fighting for the rights of all people to access abortion and reproductive healthcare.”

LaFortune is running in a Democratic primary against former state administration director Brett Smiley and former deputy secretary of state Gonzalo Cuervo.

Aug. 5, 2022

AFSCME Council 94 endorses Pryor for R.I. treasurer

AFSCME Council 94, the largest state employee union in Rhode Island, on Friday endorsed former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor for state treasurer.

Pyror said he was proud and humbled to receive the endorsement.

“Thank you, Council 94, for entrusting me with your retirement future,” he said. " Since we are entering into uncertain economic times, it’s important that we have a professional in the treasurer’s office who will work tirelessly to protect our workers, their families, and their financial futures. With the help of AFSCME Council 94, I look forward to serving as treasurer — and to keeping Rhode Island’s finances stable and our economy strong.”

Pryor is running in a Democratic primary against former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa.

Aug. 5, 2022

R.I. Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals backs Diossa

The Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals on Friday announced it is endorsing former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

“James’ experience as mayor during the most turbulent time in Central Falls history has ingrained in him the importance of protecting the fiscal stability of both state and municipal finances to ensure that employees, and the taxpayers they serve, will never have to experience that again,” the union said.

The federation, which has 12,000 members, said Diossa will continue the “Back to Basics” strategy that General Treasurer Seth Magaziner employed for state pension investments to avoid high-fee, high-risk options.

“As treasurer, James will continue the important work of rebuilding our schools,” the union said. “He strongly believes that all students in our state, whether they live in urban, suburban, or rural communities, deserve to go to school in safe, modern, state-of-the-art facilities.”

Aug. 4, 2022

R.I. Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals endorses Gorbea

The Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals on Thursday announced it is endorsing Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea for governor.

“Nellie has experience in both the public and private sectors and has a track record of creating labor management partnerships,” the union said. “In her tenure as secretary of state, she has worked diligently to bring all stakeholders to the table to resolve the complex issues which confront us. As a coalition builder, she values the diversity of opinion provided by all constituents.”

The endorsement comes after another teachers union, the National Education Association Rhode Island, announced it is backing Governor Daniel J. McKee in the Democratic primary for governor.

The Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, which has 12,000 members, said Gorbea’s vision for the state aligns with the union’s values and objectives, and it said her priorities focus on housing, education, healthcare, and economic development.

“Nellie is committed to creating a leadership team who will consult with teachers and teacher leaders to improve our schools,” the union said. “She will provide the leadership necessary to improve our education funding formula, invest in professional development, and expand opportunities to attend public higher education institutions. She will strive to create the schools our children and families deserve. She has the strength and courage to make difficult decisions.”

Union President Frank Flynn said, “We look forward to partnering with Nellie as we face many difficult challenges over the next several years. Her inclusive leadership style and strong work ethic are traits that our board recognized and appreciated when making this decision.”

Aug. 4, 2022

SEIU State Council backs Diossa in R.I. treasurer’s race

The Rhode Island Service Employees International Union State Council on Thursday endorsed former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

Diossa is running against former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor in a Democratic primary, and the winner will face Republican James L. Lathrop, finance director for North Kingstown.

“There were two great candidates running for general treasurer,” SEIU Local 580 President Matthew Gunnip said. “But in the end, James Diossa earned our endorsement because he truly understands the needs of working Rhode Islanders and has proven his commitment to making our state more fair and equal for all.”

The council — which includes SEIU union locals 1199NE, 32BJ, Local 580 and Local 401 — represents healthcare, janitorial, family child care and workforce development workers, and employees in the Department of Children, Youth and Families, the Department of Labor and Training.

The council said that when Diossa was on the Central Falls City Council, he fought to keep the city’s public library and post office open amid budgetary problems.

“As the youngest elected and first Latino mayor of Central Falls, Mayor Diossa continued the fight, marching on the picket line to support union workers’ efforts to win a fair contract at Blackstone Valley Community Health Center, Pawtucket Falls [Healthcare Center], and many more, and working to stabilize the pension system for thousands of public workers,” the union said.

Aug. 4, 2022

Libraries hosting three Providence mayoral debates

The three candidates for mayor of Providence will take part in three debates hosted by the Community Libraries of Providence in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Providence.

Democratic candidates Gonzalo Cuervo, Nirva LaFortune and Brett Smiley will answer questions about neighborhood issues and share their plans for the city’s future.

All the debates will take place before an in-person audience and be livestreamed to CLPVD’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Providence residents will be able to submit questions to candidates and tell them what they think about schools, libraries, safety, the economy, and other issues of concern to the community.

The debates take place at 7 p.m. on:

  • Aug. 25 at the Mount Pleasant Library, 315 Academy Ave.
  • Sept. 1 at the Rochambeau Library, 708 Hope St.
  • Sept. 7 at the South Providence Library, 441 Prairie Ave.

“Community Libraries play an important role in the life of Providence, providing programs and resources in response to the needs of the community,” Community Libraries of Providence Director Cheryl Space said. “Choosing a new mayor is an important decision and we hope these debates will help Providence voters make the right choice.”

The League of Women Voters will moderate the debates.

“As a nonpartisan political organization, the Providence League is pleased to partner with the Community Libraries to give Providence citizens this opportunity to hear and evaluate the candidates for mayor,” League of Women Voters of Providence President Liz Head said.

For more information go here.

Aug. 3, 2022

The Collective PAC endorses Matos for R.I. lieutenant governor

The Collective PAC, a political action committee “focused on increasing the number of African Americans in public office at all levels,” on Wednesday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

Matos is running against Representative Deborah L. Ruggiero, a Jamestown Democrat, and Senator Cynthia Mendes, an East Providence Democrat.

The founders of The Collective PAC, Quentin James and Stefanie Brown James, issued a statement, saying, “Lieutenant Governor Matos was a 20-year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic who dared to dream big and overcame obstacles,” and they said, “That is the type of leader Rhode Island needs in order to thrive and be pushed into a new era of progress.”

Matos’ top priorities include small businesses, expanding job-training opportunities, and developing new housing and programs for the elderly, the statement said. “We are proud to support and help Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos as she continues her legacy of breaking racial and gender boundaries and putting the community’s needs first,” they said.

Aug. 2, 2022

Sierra Club endorses Mendes and Diossa

The Rhode Island chapter of the Sierra Club on Monday endorsed Senator Cynthia Mendes for lieutenant governor and former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa for state treasurer.

The organization also made endorsements in General Assembly and Providence City Council races.

“In these unprecedented times, it is imperative to support responsible, reasonable, justice-focused candidates,” the Sierra Club chapter said. “We believe the following candidates most closely align with our mission and understand that the climate crisis isn’t some far off abstract threat, but something we must deal with now, by taking concrete steps to foster equity and environmental justice.”

The chapter backed Mendes, an East Providence Democrat, in a primary against Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos and Representative Deborah L. Ruggiero, a Jamestown Democrat. And it backed Diossa, a Pawtucket Democrat, in a primary against former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor.

In state Senate races, the group endorsed: Robin Xiong in Senate District 3, Samuel Bell in Senate District 5, Tiara Mack in Senate District 6, Linda Ujifusa in Senate District 11, Meghan Kallman in Senate District 15, Jonathon Acosta in Senate District 16, Greg Greco in Senate District 18, Melanie DuPont in Senate District 22, Melissa Murray in Senate District 24, Jennifer Rourke in Senate District 29, Jeanine Calkin in Senate District 30, and Bridget Valverde in Senate District 35.

In state House of Representatives race, the group endorsed: Christopher Blazejewski in House District 2, Rebecca Kislak in House District 4, Damian Lima in House District 6, David Morales in House District 7, John Lombardi in House District 8, Enrique Sanchez in House District 9, Jose Batista in House District 12, Giona Picheco in House District 14, Brandon Potter in House District 16, Arthur Handy in House District 18, Zakary Pereira in House District 22, Samara Yelle in House District 26, Teresa Tanzi in House District 34, Tina Spears in House District 36, Megan Cotter in House District 39, Paul Roselli in House District 47, Alex Kithes in House District 49, Marlene Guay in House District 51, Clara Hardy in House District 55, Joshua Giraldo in House District 56, Cherie Cruz in House District 58, Jennifer Stewart in House District 59, Karen Alzate in House District 60, Kinverly Dicupe in House District 62, Katherine Kazarian in House District 63, Brianna Henries in House District 64, Jennifer Boylan in House District 66, Jason Knight in House District 67, Terri-Denise Cortvriend in House District 72, and Lauren Carson in House District 75.

And in Providence City Council races, the group endorsed Sue AnderBois in Ward 3, Andrew Poyant in Ward 14, April Brown in Ward 9, Jacqueline Goldman in Ward 5, and Miguel Sanchez in Ward 6.

Aug. 1, 2022

Gorbea poll shows her leading R.I. governor’s race

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea on Monday released an internal poll memo showing her maintaining a lead in the Democratic primary for governor.

The July 25-27 survey of 500 likely Democratic primary voters showed Gorbea with 27 percent of the vote, Governor Daniel J. McKee with 22 percent, former CVS executive Helena B. Foulkes with 14 percent, former secretary of state Matt Brown with 7 percent, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz with 3 percent. The margin of error for the full sample was plus or minus 4.38 percentage points.

That reflects the same order, but different percentages, as a Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll of 800 likely general election voters conducted June 19-22, showing Gorbea in the lead with 24 percent of the vote, McKee at 20 percent, Foulkes at 16 percent, Brown at 5 percent, and Muñoz at 1.4 percent. The margin of error was plus or minus 5.2 percentage points.

The Democratic primary is scheduled for Sept. 13.

The poll memo, written by Celinda Lake and others, says that 41 percent of voters think McKee is doing an excellent or good job, including 6 percent who think he is doing an excellent job, while 54 percent believe he is doing a just fair or poor job, including 18 percent who think he is doing a poor job. Lake’s firm, Lake Research Partners, conducts polls and advises on strategy for Democratic candidates.

By contrast, 53 percent of voters view Gorbea favorably, including 24 percent who view her very favorably, while 23 percent view her unfavorably, including 10 percent who view her very unfavorably, the memo says.

The memo said 33 percent of voters view Foulkes favorably, including 11 percent very favorably, and 23 percent view her negatively, including 11 percent very unfavorably, the memo says.

“Our poll clearly reflects how Rhode Island Democrats feel — they know the work Nellie Gorbea has done for their community and they like the results,” Gorbea campaign manager Dana Walton said. “Nellie knows the biggest challenges facing Rhode Island are all interconnected, and she has a clear plan to fix the housing crisis, improve education, and tackle climate change. Nellie’s message, proven track record of leadership, and community involvement is clearly resonating with voters.”

Aug. 1, 2022

Firefighters union backs Cuervo for Providence mayor

Providence Fire Fighters, IAFF Local 799, on Monday endorsed Gonzalo Cuervo for mayor of Providence.

The union cited Cuervo’s “long-standing working relationship with the city’s firefighters and his commitment to improving communication and cooperation between the city’s unions and the administration,

Local 799 President Michael Foley said the choice was clear compared to Cuervo’s competitors – former state administration director Brett Smiley and Providence City Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune.

“Gonzalo has always treated Providence’s firefighters with the same respect he gives anyone else,” Foley said. “We know he will be honest with us about what he expects and needs from us, and that he’ll expect the same from Local 799. His commitment to improving lines of communication between the Fire Department and the mayor’s Office is a welcome change of direction from previous mayors, and we’re looking forward to having a mayor who treats our city’s public servants with care and respect.”

Cuervo said he was honored to receive the endorsement.

“It’s no secret that the City of Providence’s relationship with its public employee unions has, at times, been contentious,” he said. “I have been at the table across from Local 799 during some difficult contract negotiations. It’s that experience that makes me so proud to earn this endorsement. It shows that just because we sometimes sit on opposite sides of a table, we’re not opponents, and that we all want the best for Providence. That’s the kind of mayorship I plan to have, one that brings people together rather than seeking to make scapegoats out of our most dedicated public servants.”

Cuervo, who worked in the administrations of former mayors Angel Taveras and David N. Cicilline, said too many previous mayors “have gotten bogged down in needless, vitriolic battles with our public employee unions.”

“As mayor, I’m going to put those fights in the past,” he said. “This campaign is about bringing the people of Providence together to ensure that everyone in our city is able to achieve their dreams. I’m proud that Local 799 is going to be a partner in this campaign to win us that future, and I look forward to working with them as mayor.”

July 29, 2022

SEIU council endorses Neronha, Amore, Shekarchi, Ruggerio

The Rhode Island SEIU State Council on Friday endorsed Democratic Attorney General Peter F. Neronha for re-election and Representative Gregg Amore, an East Providence Democrat, for secretary of state.

The state council — which includes Rhode Island union locals 1199NE, 32BJ, 580, and 401 — also endorsed House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, in the House District 23 race, and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, a North Providence Democrat, in the Senate District 4 race.

”Rhode Island needs elected leaders who will fight for what our families need — quality education, affordable access to health care services, and wages that keep up with the rising cost of living,” said Shirley Lomba, a certified nursing assistant, med tech and union delegate.

Neronha showed his commitment to health care workers and patients by making sure their best interests were represented throughout the proposed Care New England/Lifespan merger, she said.

In the General Assembly, Shekarchi, Ruggerio, and Amore “stood up for front-line workers, fighting for major investments in workforce development and higher wages for Rhode Island’s most underpaid employees,” Lomba said. “We are excited to continue working with them to make our state better for everyone.”

The SEIU State Council represents workers across the state, including health care, janitorial, security, family child care, workforce development, and employees in the state Department of Children, Youth and Families, and the Department of Labor and Training.

July 27, 2022

Middletown Democrats endorse Foulkes for R.I. governor

The Middletown Democratic Town Committee on Monday endorsed former CVS executive Helena B. Foulkes in the Democratic primary for governor.

“I am so impressed with Helena’s accomplishments in the private sector,” committee chairwoman Vanessa Ellermann said. “She has proven herself to be a strong, astute and empathetic leader.”

Foulkes has made education a central issue in her campaign, promising to be a single-term governor if test scores don’t improve, and she has a “bold plan” to improve the state’s economy, the committee said.

Foulkes is running in a Democratic primary against Governor Daniel J. McKee, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz, and former secretary of state Matt Brown.

The Middletown Democratic Town Committee also voted to endorse Representative Deborah L. Ruggiero, a Jamestown Democrat, for lieutenant governor. Ruggiero is facing a primary against Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, a Providence Democrat, and Senator Cynthia Mendes, an East Providence Democrat.

The committee voted to back former Rhode Island commerce secretary Stefan Pryor, a Providence Democrat, in his primary against former Central Falls mayor James A. Diossa.

Middletown Democrats also endorsed Representative Gregg Amore for secretary of state, Attorney General Peter F. Neronha, and 1st Congressional District Representative David N. Cicilline.

In local General Assembly races, the committee endorsed Senator Louis P. DiPalma, a Middletown Democrat, in Senate District 12; House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin L. Abney, a Newport Democrat, in House District 73; Representative Terri Cortvriend, a Portsmouth Democrat, in House District 72; and Alex Finkelman, a Jamestown Democrat running for the House District 74 seat that Ruggiero is leaving to run for lieutenant governor.

July 26, 2022

Clean Water Action endorses Gorbea for R.I. governor

Clean Water Action on Tuesday endorsed Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea in the Democratic primary for governor.

“Secretary Gorbea shares many of Clean Water Action’s environmental priorities, including achieving the goals set in the ‘Act on Climate,’ developing our state’s renewable energy economy, incentivizing the development of sustainable housing, and making our cities and towns more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Jed Thorp, the Rhode Island state director for Clean Water Action.

Clean Water Action noted that Gorbea’s campaign released a climate policy plan on Tuesday.

Gorbea also supports legislation to reduce plastic consumption and plastic waste, including a beverage container deposit program and extended producer responsibility for packaging, the group said.

Thorp said the federal government has not taken sufficient action, so states must take the lead on fighting the climate crisis and transitioning to a renewable energy future. “To meet this moment, Rhode Island needs a leader like Secretary Gorbea, who will prioritize tackling climate change and position our state as a national clean energy leader,” he said.

Clean Water Action, which has 50,000 members in Rhode Island, said it will be talking to its members door-to-door between now and Election Day about the candidates the group has endorsed.

Gorbea is running in a Democratic primary against Governor Daniel J. McKee, Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz, former CVS executive Helena B. Foulkes, and former secretary of state Matt Brown.

July 25, 2022

National Education Association R.I. backs McKee

The National Education Association Rhode Island is endorsing Governor Daniel J. McKee in the Democratic primary for governor.

The endorsement by NEARI’s Political Action Committee for Education comes as the Rhode Island AFL-CIO is endorsing McKee, giving him significant union support as the Sept. 13 primary approaches.

The teachers union acknowledged that it didn’t have much of a relationship with McKee when he was lieutenant governor.

Indeed, NEARI endorsed McKee’s Republican opponent in the 2014 lieutenant governor’s race, Catherine T. Taylor, and it endorsed his 2018 Democratic primary opponent, former state Representative Aaron Regunberg.

“But when it became evident he would be elevated to the governor’s office, he made the choice to reach out and include NEARI in the dialogue regarding all the areas of concern to our 12,000 members,” the union said. “The first thing he did — because he listened to input from those in the K-12 system — was ensure classroom teachers and education support professionals got shots in arms to combat the COVID pandemic. McKee immediately set up clinics all over the state to ensure educators had access to vaccines to continue their critical work.”

NEARI President Larry Purtill said McKee also “put his money where his mouth is” by ensuring funding for public school construction and paying off an old debt owed by the state to the pension system.

“There have been, and still are, areas where we disagree with the governor and frankly, all his rivals,” Purtill said. “However, communication with the McKee administration has steadily become more active and robust as he accrues time in the role of governor.”

NEARI-PACE Committee Chair Amy Mullen said McKee met with union leaders when there were issues at the Community College of Rhode Island impacting union members.

One outcome of that meeting was McKee’s appointment of Purtill to the Council on Postsecondary Education, “where our higher education members had not had a voice in nearly a decade,” she said. And McKee appointed incoming NEARI executive director Mary Barden to the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, ”so the voice of K-12 educators like me continues to be heard on that panel as well,” she said.

For more Rhode Island political news, click here.


Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.