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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Two major coalitions tout primary wins

In this article, RI Working Families and RI Coalition against gun violence detail wins in last Tuesday's primary. Here is the first of two stories:

RI Working Families Party wins 90% of its primary elections

By Working Families Party in UpRiseRI

Voting 2020 Election GIF by INTO ACTION

From criminal justice reform to a $15 minimum wage to housing, healthcare and education as a human right, the values of Pawtucket voters match the values of the Working Families Party. Together, RI WFP candidates are proving that you don’t need corporate donors or establishment lobbyists to win elections — you need heart, courage, and a bold vision for racial, social and economic justice for all.

The Working Families Party is proud to congratulate our endorsed candidates Sam Bell (SD 5), Meghan Kallman (SD 15), Jeanine Calkin (SD 30), Kendra Anderson (SD 31), Alana DiMario (SD 36), Brandon Potter (HD 16) Teresa Tanzi (HD 34), Kathy Fogarty (SD 35), Leonela Felix (HD 61) and Michelle McGaw (HD 71) on their victories in yesterday’s Democratic primary election.

“Yesterday’s results made clear what the Working Families Party has known for years: voters are ready for progressive leaders who will use their personal experience to fight for working families. Medicare for All, the Green New Deal$15 minimum wage and more aren’t just good policy, they’re now, without a doubt, the common-sense path to winning office in Rhode Island,” said RI WFP State Director Georgia Hollister Isman.

“It’s also clear that voters’ desire for progressive policy expands beyond the urban core and into every corner of Rhode Island,” said Hollister Isman. “Current conservative leaders from every corner of our state should consider making bold moves in the coming weeks to protect school funding, expand affordable housing, and prevent Medicaid cuts. If not, they may come face to face with the WFP wave in their own districts sooner than they may expect.”

RI WFP-backed progressives made gains in unconventional districts this primary. Leonela Felix is an attorney and progressive policy advocate who beat out 10-year incumbent Raymond Johnston Jr., a retired police officer backed by Right to Life, for the seat. Brandon Potter, whose firsthand experience with Rhode Island’s broken healthcare system inspired him to run for office, ousted incumbent Representative Chris Millea, an NRA-backed establishment Democrat and close ally of the scandal-embroiled House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. 

WFP staff, volunteers, and activists played a critical role in the string of progressive primary victories, making over 14,000 calls and sending over 25,000 texts to voters across the state, training candidates and their teams on the ins and outs of running a successful campaign, and advising on mail and messaging strategies. The work done by organizations that sit at WFP’s table, including SEIU and Planned Parenthood, also played a key role in WFP candidates’ pathway to victory this cycle.

“The WFP is a leading voice for working families in Pawtucket and across Rhode Island, and RI WFP activists showed up in force to help power our victory,” said Leonela Felix. “From criminal justice reform to a $15 minimum wage to housing, healthcare and education as a human right, the values of Pawtucket voters match the values of the Working Families Party. Together, RI WFP candidates are proving that you don’t need corporate donors or establishment lobbyists to win elections — you need heart, courage, and a bold vision for racial, social and economic justice for all.”

“The voters of District 16 have made clear they want change,” said Brandon Potter. “They want leaders who will stand up for regular people and fight hard for healthcare reform, education, equal rights, and an economy that lets working families thrive, not just survive. These are the issues I’m fighting for, and we have a lot of work to do. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and go to work for regular people, and I’m fired up to continue my work with the WFP as we take this fight to the State House.”

In the coming months, the RI WFP will work to win more legislative seats for progressives in Rhode Island in the November election, fight for a just, anti-austerity budget that invests in recovery for all Rhode Islanders, and connect Rhode island activists to WFP’s powerful progressive turnout operations in swing states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for November’s presidential election.

Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence wins big in primary elections

By Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence

 Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV) endorsed candidates that support gun safety legislation prevailed in 19 races in Tuesday’s primary election. Among all candidates, gun violence was an important campaign issue.

Even in races in which our endorsed candidates did not prevail, primary victors including Nathan BiahDavid MoralesTiara Mack, and Melinda Lopez support bills that would ban the sale and use of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and support keeping guns out of our schools. This is not surprising. As we saw in our March 2020 statewide poll, nearly two thirds (64.7%) of Rhode Islanders follow the issues of gun safety and gun violence prevention closely.

As we saw in 2020, gun safety bills have strong support on Smith Hill. Representative Justine Caldwell’s H7264 had 42 co-signers, and Senator Gayle Goldin’s S2130 had 21 co-signers. This represents a majority in favor of banning high-capacity magazines in both chambers. This week’s primary victories by Brandon PotterLeonela FelixBrianna Henries, and Michelle McGaw over pro-gun legislators will add even more strong pro-gun safety voices to the General Assembly in 2021.

Momentum has been building statewide and across the country for stronger gun laws that will keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them, ensure that weapons are stored safely in order to prevent theft and suicides, and to keep highly lethal military-style weapons and ammunition out of civilian hands. We look forward to working with old and new legislators alike in 2021 as we continue our fight to make Rhode Island the safest state in the United States.


District 8 – John Lombardi

District 11 – Grace Diaz *

District 12 – Jose Batista

District 16 – Brandon Potter *

District 18 – Joe McNamara *

District 27 – Patricia Serpa

District 34 – Teresa Tanzi

District 35 – Kathy Fogarty *

District 61 – Leonela Felix

District 64 – Brianna Henries

District 71 – Michelle McGaw *

District 72 – Terri Cortvriend *

District 74 – Deb Ruggiero


District 1 – Maryellen Goodwin

District 5 -Sam Bell

District 9 – John Burke

District 15 – Meghan Kallman *

District 16 – Jonathan Acosta

District 36 – Alana DiMario *

*These candidates have a general election opponent

Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence is an organization that was created by concerned citizens of Rhode Island. The organization came to be in 2013 after the Rhode Island General Assembly failed to pass common sense gun legislation. We recognize gun violence as a public health issue. Using common sense means and methods, we seek to reduce injuries and deaths from gun violence. We are dedicated to changing the narrative of common-sense gun safety legislation.

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