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Editorial & Opinion

Holly Taylor Coolman – Facts over spin in Rhode Island



In the last week, headlines in Rhode Island, and then nationally, have covered the news of endorsements by various local Democratic committees.

In one case, a State Representative was passed over in favor of a candidate who had publicly expressed his support, in the past, for Donald Trump. In another, a former state senator with a criminal record got the nod.

I’m happy that I (along with hundreds of other candidates in hundreds other races) am one of those who has received my own local committee’s endorsement. I am puzzled to note that my endorsement has been been lumped in with those mentioned above as troubling.

Several reasons have been given.

First, the story initially rested on the claim that the incumbents passed over by their local committees were all progressive women (as is the case in my race). This is simply untrue. Anyone who takes a moment to look will see that the list of incumbents who were “snubbed” include at least one more “traditional” male Representative.

Second, it has been suggested that, because I am pro-life, I’m not a “real Democrat.” Those making this charge seem unaware of the actual diversity that exists in the Democratic Party on this issue. About a third of Democrats in the U.S., amounting to about 20 million voters, identify as anti-abortion. I have long held positions on issues including protecting workers’ rights, protecting immigrants’ rights, education, common sense gun control, environmental sustainability and access to health care for all – all issues that could only be described as Democratic.

Third, it has been quietly whispered that I’m actually a candidate hand-picked by the Democratic establishment, and that my endorsement by the local committee therefore was always a foregone conclusion. Again, this is completely untrue. I would encourage those who suspect otherwise to spend as much time and energy as they can looking for evidence to support this claim, but they should know that none will be found.

To sum up, the attempt to include me in with this larger news story has no basis in fact. (As I noted in my press release, this attack on me is probably best described as pure spin.)

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Misinformation like this only serves to distract all parties from important issues and real work to be done. That’s where I’ll put my energy.

About the Author

Holly Taylor Coolman is a member of the Theology Department at Providence College and a candidate for Representative in House District 5.