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House District 68 Special Election a do-over for Speakman supporters



“This is all so quick,” said Democratic candidate for House District 68 June Speakman to her supporters. “As you know we had a little kerfuffle here in the district and we’re coming back from that…”

The “kerfuffle” Speakman is referring to was the campaign of progressive Democrat Laufton Ascencao, who won the 2018 election for House District 68. After winning his election, Ascencao admitted to forging documents during his campaign, and ultimately declined to be sworn in as Representative. Many gathered in the function room at The Beach House in Bristol had campaigned for Ascencao. The special election serves as a do-over: Their political ideas haven’t changed, just the candidate.

“You probably don’t need me to run through the issue positions that I have,” said Speakman. “They’re consistent with what you all voted for in November. I will keep all those promises to work on women’s environmental health, on environmental concerns, on supporting economic development, but in a sustainable way that supports small businesses. All of the things that all of you stand for.”

The special election is crowded with candidates. In addition to Speakman, current State Representative Kenneth Marshall (Democrat, District 68, Bristol) is running for his seat as an Independent. Marshall declined to run for re-election in 2018. Also running are Democrats John Hanley and Richard Ruggiero, as well as Libertarian William Hunt and Independent James McCanna III.

Speakman’s campaign launch was attended by State Senators Senators Cynthia Coyne (Democrat, District 32, Barrington) and James Seveney (Democrat, District 11, Bristol, Portsmouth).

Speakman is a political scientist, a longtime resident of the East Bay and has been teaching at Roger Williams University for the last twenty-three years. She has previously served as a member of the Barrington Town Council for fourteen years, including six years as Council President.

In the video below Jill Sypole introduces Speakman and Erich Haslehurst follows the candidates brief remarks with the technical stuff about getting his candidate elected.


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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.