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Editorial & Opinion

The Rhode Island Democratic Party needs new leadership



The whole event was an embarrassing, shameful display of abuse of power. The incompetence was staggering. It’s time to start paying attention to who is making our decisions…

Sometimes when you do the same job for years, you lose the ability to view your job performance objectively. So when an outsider comes in and views your process with fresh eyes, the outsider sees issues and problems that feel normal to you. Well, let me tell you, if what my fresh eyes witnessed at Monday night’s meeting of the Rhode Island Democratic Party (RIDP) committee is normal, the RIDP is being woefully mismanaged and has been for some time.

This was my first time attending a meeting of the RIDP committee and to say it was eye opening would be an understatement. I knew going into the meeting that I disagree with the leaders of the committee on several fundamental issues, but at the very least I expected a certain level of competence and professionalism. I expected to see an adherence to a consistent set of rules and procedures, but this was not the case.

As soon as the meeting got underway, it became apparent that the proceedings were a sham. The committee members’ irritation at being watched and having their process questioned was palpable and it felt like their decisions were a direct retaliation to our presence. Chairman Joseph McNamara decided on a whim which amendments he wanted to hear, how long members could speak, and whether or not the amendment they proposed would be voted on. He literally made it up as he went along. Most of the committee members were unwilling to listen to concerns of others and had no intention of giving any matters serious consideration. Setting aside how they might feel about the Women’s Caucus, even an amendment to include Native Americans in the by-laws, correcting what was probably a simple oversight, was sneered at and promptly, and overwhelmingly voted down. They weren’t even listening. And really, how could they when only two people were allowed to use the microphone? That’s right folks. There was a working microphone available, but no one was allowed to use it except Joseph McNamara and Arthur Corvese (who both, quite frankly, appeared confused, overwhelmed, and distracted throughout the proceedings). Even after repeated shouts from the audience that we couldn’t hear them, they continued to inexplicably pretend like the microphone wasn’t an option. It was downright bizarre.

The whole event was an embarrassing, shameful display of abuse of power. The incompetence was staggering. It’s time to start paying attention to who is making our decisions. It’s time for new leadership on the Rhode Island Democratic Party committee.


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Lisa McDermott is a member of the Rhode Island Democratic Women's Caucus.

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