Women candidates and elected officials celebrate a ‘pink wave’ at the State House

Pink Wave
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“Women have the most to gain in this election, and they also have the most to lose in this election,” said Representative Teresa Tanzi (Democrat, District 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown). “We saw what happened at the end of the last legislative session. In fact, Kathy Gregg wrote the article so that the rest of the state could see it…

“Too many issues were left on the table,” said Tanzi, including a bill that would have extended the statute of limitations for sexual assault. “That is what will happen when there are more women involved – bills like that will pass.”

“We had a package of bills that dealt with sexual harassment. Some of them were as simple as changing a number from four to one. And we were told that thee was not enough time left in the year to review these.

“When it comes to reproductive choice – it’s not just Roe v Wade,” continued Tanzi. “It’s all of the little cuts and little slivers and slices that are taken away from a woman’s right to choose…

“Pay equity,” said Tanzi, citing a bill that died an embarrassing death in the House last session. “When women aren’t at the table, they’re on the menu.”

Around 85 women and a few men joined forces at the Rhode Island State House Thursday to celebrate the hundreds of women who are running for state and local office in Rhode Island and the hundreds of women who formed the Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus to change the political culture in the state.


“Women are not standing on the sidelines,” said Rhode Island State Representative Deborah Ruggiero (Democrat, District 74, Jamestown, Middletown). “Women are organizing, women are running for office, they’re volunteering for campaigns… When women run, women win.”

Ruggiero was interrupted by the entrance of Governor Gina Raimondo, who was greeted with cheers of “Gina! Gina!” as she entered.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo spoke about her commitment to issues that effect women, from raising the minimum wage, defending Obamacare and effective gun control. She spoke of the 15 year old child who was shot in Providence yesterday.

“There’s not a mother or father out there who wasn’t scared yesterday,” said Raimondo. “I called home right away. Are the kids home safe?”

“I see women in this room that I have had the super pleasure to say to them in private, in coffee houses all over the state, ‘I believe in you. You can do this.'” Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. “And i know that you are doing this for each other.”

“It is so hard to work together,” said Rhode Island State Senator Ana Quezada (Democrat, District 2, Providence). “We all think different. We all believe in different issues. We all have different values. But coming together, and being able to work together, and to hear Gina, when she became the first female Governor of Rhode Island, it makes you feel so proud.”

“It’s very clear that women are running in record number this year,” said Rhode Island State Representative Lauren Carson (Democrat, District 75, Newport). “The ‘pink wave’ is being generated by largely younger, more energetic women… Women want a visceral shift in the way politics is being managed in this country.”

“Could you translate what it would mean if there were more women in the state legislature?” asked Katherine Gregg, reporter for the Providence Journal. “Somebody on Twitter asked me yesterday, ‘What difference does it make if it’s a man or a woman?’ Could you address that very specifically in terms of legislation?”

Carson attempted an answer.

But Gregg was unsatisfied. “I’d be interested in hearing from some of the women that have issues and that you think might have a better chance of passing if there were more women in the legislature,” said Gregg. “I’m looking for specifics.”

It was then that Representative Tanzi said what is quoted at the top of this piece.

“51 percent of the ,population of Rhode island is women,” said Representative Katherine Kazarian (Democrat, District 63, East Providence). “And yet the number up at our State House is far less than that… So much of what we do up here does affect women.”

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About Steve Ahlquist 1079 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade.Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.atomicsteve@gmail.com