“The draft Bylaws released by the Rhode Island Democratic Party (RIDP) on Wednesday are rubbish,” said Melanie DuPont, a Smithfield Democrat who will challenge Senator Stephen Archambault for the District 22 Senate seat once again in 2020.
“Leadership ignored the RIDP Women’s Caucus’ request to be seated at the table for the Bylaws rewrite, so my expectations were low. But this draft is terrible,” she said. “As a result of excluding every Caucus listed on the Rhode Island Democrats’ inclusive-looking website, the Bylaws draft contains naked efforts to under-represent minority groups, misdirect funds, and strip every Democratic Caucus member of their freedom to advance their communities’ needs and interests.”
When asked if she thought the Bylaws were sexist or misogynist, DuPont replied, “They are. As well as racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and anti-veteran. They run counter to the values published by the National Democratic Party. Tom Perez (Chair of the Democratic National Committee) should be very concerned about Party corruption in Little Rhody.”
The proposed Bylaws, scheduled to be finalized on November 18th, promise just six of 75 Democratic State Committee seats to people of color, and two to LGBTQIA+ people.
“In a state that is only 74 percent white, people of color should have twenty seats on the Democratic State Committee, not six. And leadership should know by now that forcing two people to represent the diverse needs of all Rhode Island’s LGBTQIA+ people is an inexcusably ignorant ask.”
DuPont also pointed to new Bylaws language that grants RIDP Chair Joseph McNamara the power to authorize each of the seventy-five Democratic State Committee officers to write $25,000 checks from the Party account to… who? It’s not clear. DuPont quipped, “Does that seem like a recipe for less embezzling, or more?”
Responding to “Caucuses shall not have their own bylaws,” the candidate replied, “Caucuses need Bylaws to operate. Period.” Responding to the language that would prohibit Caucuses from supporting or endorsing candidates not blessed by the Party, DuPont recalled the time McNamara endorsed a Trump supporter over Democratic incumbent Representative Moira Walsh. “We women trust our own judgment on who to support.”
“For as long as anyone can remember, Rhode Island Democratic leadership has been telling women – indeed, all Caucuses – to shut up. You can see it in the Bylaws: they want our silence, our obedience, and our free labor. In exchange, they offer scorn, ridicule, and oppression. It’s a bad deal, and every Caucus deserves better.
“Our party leadership doesn’t have to be this way. One reason I co-founded the Rhode Island Political Cooperative is to fight back against rot within the party. We don’t need bullies trying to dominate underrepresented groups. We need accepting, inclusive leaders who listen and take action to create an equitable, just, and sustainable world for all. Those leaders – my future coworkers – are in the Coop. Everywhere I go, I invite everyone to join our Rhode Island Political Cooperative, so you can directly support the candidates who support you. You’ll find us at RIPoliticalCoop.com.”