Rhode Island Working Families Party continues to endorse progressive candidates

Georgia Hollister Isman

The Rhode Island Working Families Party (RI WFP) continues to endorse progressive candidates. In the Rhode Island Senate, RI WFP is supporting Val Lawson for the open seat in Senate District 14 (East Providence) and incumbent Senator Dawn Euer (Senate District 13, Newport and Jamestown). In the Rhode Island House of Representatives, the RI WFP is backing incumbents Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (House District 5, Providence), Representative Teresa Tanzi (House District 34, Wakefield, Peacedale, Narragansett), and Representative Moira Walsh (House District 3, Providence).

RI WFP is supporting newcomer Laufton Ascencao, who is running to represent House District 68 (Bristol, Warren). That seat is currently held by Senior Deputy Majority Leader Kenneth Marshall, who announced his retirement after Ascencao launched his campaign. The organization is also endorsing Justine Caldwell who is challenging a Republican incumbent in House District 30 (East Greenwich).

“These candidates are committed to championing a $15 an hour minimum wage, protecting the rights of immigrants, women’s rights, and fighting climate change,” says a state from the RI WFP.

“Rhode Island Working Families Party is supporting candidates committed to bringing real progressive values into the legislature,” said Georgia Hollister Isman, state director of the RI WFP. “While others are more concerned with maintaining and wielding power for its own sake in the State House, we’re committed to training and electing candidates who share voters’ values about economic, racial, social, and environmental justice. With each election cycle, we’re building on our solid bloc of working families lawmakers and changing Rhode Island’s political culture.”

In May, RI WFP endorsed Rebecca Kislack (House District 4, Providence) and Liana Cassar (House District 66, rBarrington) who are running for open seats, along with incumbent Sen.ator Jeanine Calkin, and Bridget Valverde, an insurgent candidate for the Senate seat in Senate District 35 (East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Narragansett) currently held by a Republican.

From the press release:

In 2016, RIWFP endorsed the insurgent campaigns of Senator Calkin, and Repsresentatives Ranglin-Vassell and Walsh who beat conservative Democratic incumbents in the primaries, including the then-House Majority Leader. Since their election, they’ve put voters first, championing measures for fair pay, to raise the minimum wage to $15, and the 2017 passage of the earned sick leave bill. The Rhode Island Democratic Party recently endorsed a woman hostile to reproductive rights, a Trump supporter, and a former legislator with multiple drunk driving arrests — including for vehicular homicide — rather than support the progressive women who WFP has supported. In the ensuing national uproar, the Party rescinded two of the endorsements, but still supports conservative challengers to Rep. Ranglin-Vassell and Sen. Calkin.

District 68 candidate Laufton Ascencao worked on Rhode Island Working Families Party’s campaign to win earned sick days for 100,000 state residents, organizing thousands of Rhode Islanders to send postcards to the State House. ”There is no political organization that has been as significant to me as Working Families Party,” said Ascencao. “WFP doesn’t just represent the issues I care about but shares the mentality I believe we need — push for bold change regardless of who it upsets, and organize constantly so you don’t depend on anyone but the people for power.”

Senator Dawn Euer is running for re-election in the district that includes Newport and Jamestown. Elected with WFP support in a special election less than a year ago, Dawn has already proven to be an invaluable ally in the Senate as a champion for election reform, environmental justice, and women’s rights.

Val Lawson is a long time teacher running in an open seat in Senate District 14 in East Providence. She has deep roots in her community. She is also a long time union leader in the NEARI, where she has been fighting for teachers, students, and workers.

Justine Caldwell is taking on a Republican incumbent in House District 30 in East Greenwich. She has a background as an organizer and is deeply involved in her community. She is an outspoken advocate for a woman’s right to choose and ending gun violence.


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