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An open letter from District 40 Committeewoman Lauren Niedel-Gresh on last night’s RI Democratic Party meeting



The best thing that can happen right now is for the whole shameful process to blow up in the Party’s face. My suggestion: Do not attend any fundraisers by the committee or endorsed candidates. Do not donate to the party.

Rhode Island Democratic Party Chair Joseph McNamara,

You and the entire Rhode Island Democratic Party Executive Committee are out of order!

Disgraceful, sham, a mockery of democracy, Trumpian, misogynist, white privilege elitist – These are just some of the terms that come to mind after the two hour, shameful Rhode Island Democratic Party committee meeting to vote on the changes to the Party bylaws.

It was an absolutely disgusting shit storm. There was no legitimacy in anything that occurred tonight. There was an outrageous disregard to Robert’s Rules, peoples voices, including mine and Representative Moira Walsh, were completely shut out. We were not even recognized to speak. Flagrant violations of civility were evident at the out of control meeting, where Chair Joseph McNamara disregarded the voices of dissent only to kiss the ass of members who are party favorites.

I have it in writing. Just six days ago Executive Director Cyd McKenna wrote that everyone would have a chance to speak. That was not the case. At the beginning of the meeting I asked Chair McNamara directly how it would work if people wanted to address the committee. He reassured me that yes, we would be given two to three minutes a piece. That all came to a halt when a vote was put on the table prior to discussion to approve the bylaws and only a few people got to get a word or two in. 

Cyd McKenna

Tue, Nov 12, 12:12 PM (6 days ago)

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Committee members will be able to speak at the meeting. Members of the public will not. The goal is to ask folks to be succinct in their thoughts so that everyone who wants to speak has time to.



The entire process should be considered null and void and the Executive Committee should be forced to resign. It was a disgusting display of abuse of power. Every single Rhode Island Democrat should be outraged over what occurred. I am sure Rhode Island Republicans enjoyed every minute of it.

This party will never be united! The bylaws committee was a sham in itself. There was no one representing the reform movement or the Women’s Caucus with a seat at the table.

The committee members were hand picked favorites of Chair McNamara, with, I am sure, the blessing of Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello. Not a single reform minded amendment was introduced and I was unable to speak my piece as I was never recognized, even when the Chair looked directly at me.

Items never addressed included the following:

  • Limit the amount of General Assembly members on each Standing Committee; 
  • Have more non-GA members heading Committees;
  • Allow additional meetings for issue based initiatives such as The Green New Deal or Medicare for All;
  • Have an unbiased committee selection process instead of all members on each committee being selected by the Chair himself; 
  • Paper ballot voting for Executive members to end the intimidation factor;
  • Term limits; and
  • Removal of members for not attending meetings.

The best thing that can happen right now is for the whole shameful process to blow up in the Party’s face. My suggestion: Do not attend any fundraisers by the committee or endorsed candidates. Do not donate to the party.

They want war. They are going to get what they deserve!

Lauren Niedel-Gresh

District 40 Democratic State Committee

About the Author

Lauren Niedel is currently a member of the RI Democratic State Committee - serving her 2nd term on the Platform Committee. She has been reelected for 2018-2022 session. She was also the State contact and delegate for the Bernie 2016 campaign.