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.)

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.

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David Caldwell

Ms. Coolman makes a lot of negative arguments here — the entirety of this piece is her explaining three things she says are not true. But she uses these to elide the main question: what *is* true?

Why is she running? What about Rep. Ranglin-Vassell’s leadership does Ms. Coolman find dissatisfactory?


If this candidate truly believed in “protecting workers’ rights, protecting immigrants’ rights, education, common sense gun control, environmental sustainability and access to health care for all,” she would support Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, who is an incredible advocate on issues like these and an amazing asset to our legislature.

Barry Schiller

Ms Coolman is clearly a civil person and I can agree she is a “real Democrat” as no one issue can be a litmus test. I appreciate her posting on upriseri and take her at her word she would protect workers and immigrants rights, support “common sense” gun control. But so does the incumbent, Rep Ranglin-Vassell. Clearly the only reason she is opposing the incumbent is due to her “pro-life” agenda and that she gained the endorsement (it can only be for that reason) makes it a newsworthy and troubling story in the general context, especially as the General Assembly leaders failed to take action on protecting reproductive rights, sexual harassment, or fair pay. I don’t think she has a fair complaint about being lumped in with other anti-progressive endorsements. I’ll add that Ms Coolman may give lip service to supporting “environmental sustainability” but her Catholic anti-choice position if imposed… Read more »

Judi Zimmer
Judi Zimmer

You’re included in this list, Ms. Coolman, because you are challenging a proven legislator, beloved in her community and throughout the state. As far as your claims about issues, you gave no testimony on the issues you claim you support in the General Assembly, have not attended rallies & demonstrations on those issues (and either I or people I know have been to just about each and every event), you did not speak out in 2016, when a horribly racist attack on a black male student took place at your own college, and still haven’t answered a question I asked you twice in another news/social media venue: is it true that in addition to being a forced birth advocate, you also oppose artificial birth control methods? You didn’t answer me the last time because you said your dinner was ready. Will you answer me now, unequivocally, that you are in… Read more »