It has been extremely disappointing to watch Democratic party leadership targeting progressive women and supporting some truly disgraceful candidates.
I’ve been running for this seat for months, to represent a community that I care deeply about and fight for things like strong public schools, common-sense gun safety legislation, and reproductive health care. I’ve received the enthusiastic support of Democratic primary voters from the Hill and Harbor District in East Greenwich all the way down to Point Judith, including unanimous endorsements from the Democratic Town Committees in East Greenwich and North Kingstown.
Gregory Acciardo popped up at the campaign declaration deadline and was immediately handed the official Democratic endorsement by Party Chair Joseph McNamara. Since Mr Acciardo hasn’t been involved in our community, the only thing we really knew about him is that he’s part of the same old boys’ network that has blocked so much progress for Rhode Island.
What I’ve learned in the past few days about Mr Acciardo is astonishing.
- Acciardo has a lengthy criminal history and pattern of endangering others. He was first convicted of vehicular manslaughter in 1994; police said he crossed the center line and caused a crash that ended the life of a 62-year-old woman[note]Providence Journal – March 12, 1993[/note].
- A few years after that, in 2009, he was arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.321 – four times the legal limit[note]Providence Journal – April 10, 2009[/note].
- The following year, he was arrested for DWI again[note]Cranston Herald – October 8, 2010[/note].
- He has also been accused of domestic assault[note]Providence Journal (RI) – July 30, 1994[/note], and was sentenced to three years for harboring a felon before that conviction was overturned on a technicality[note]Cranston Herald – October 8, 2010[/note].
- According to the Secretary of State’s office, he currently owes Rhode Island over $5,000 for campaign finance violations that he has refused to pay for years[note]http://www.elections.state.ri.us/publications/Campaign_Finance/May_2018a.pdf[/note].
Someone with this kind of history is unfit to represent our district, and completely unworthy of our party’s endorsement. Kevin Olasonoye, the Executive Director of our party, RIPR’s Ian Donnis “We had to make a decision about who we thought was best suited to win in the district based on what we knew.” I wonder if they knew about Mr Acciardo’s disturbing past when they decided to endorse him rather than support a woman who has been working in the community for months to build a thriving campaign. Or maybe they didn’t even bother to Google him before rubberstamping that endorsement form. Honestly, I’m not sure which would be worse.
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But here’s the biggest problem. This isn’t just about me – we are seeing a pattern of behavior, with the party leadership doing everything they can do undermine truly amazing women lawmakers, like Senator Jeanine Calkin, Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, and Representative Moira Walsh. In Representative Walsh’s case, the leaders of the state’s Democratic Party are backing a hardcore Trump supporter who was a Republican until a couple months ago. I don’t know how anyone can say that this Trump-leaning male candidate represents his community or our Democratic values better than Moira.
I am proud to be a Democrat, and I am proud of what our party stands for: equality, justice, and compassion. As the vice chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus, I have been working for the past year to strengthen the party. But it’s never been more clear that we need a change, and that’s only going to happen if we all speak up, fight for those values, and, most of all, show up on Election Day. The time is right, the people are ready, and I know for sure that I’m not about to give up.
For more information, visit her campaign website at www.Bridget4RI.com.
The Chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party has endorsed Gregory Acciardo over Bridget Valverde in the State Senate District 35 race that includes portions of East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown and Narragansett.