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Thursday, May 5, 2022

BREAKING: Charlestown Senator Dennis Algiere announces retirement

One of the dying breed of "moderate" Republicans calls it quits

By Will Collette

The Rhode Island Republican Party sent out an announcement this morning thanking Sen. Dennis Algiere for his 32 years of service. Algiere has represented Westerly and the southern half of Charlestown.

As legend has it, Algiere, who will be 62 in July, had originally wanted to run for Westerly office as a Democrat. However, Westerly's tight-knit and not exactly Democratic leadership told to wait his turn before getting a chance to run. The Westerly Democratic Town Committee has been run by Bob Ritacco, recently disgraced by a grand jury indictment for two counts of rape.

Algiere began his political career in 1990 by winning a seat on the Westerly Town Council and went on to win the Republican primary in 1992 to run for state Senate where Algiere has served ever since, in recent years as the Senate Minority Leader. 

For most of his career, Algiere could be counted on for good constituent service and a reasonable voice on many issues, sometimes putting him at odds with other more conservative Republicans.

Since the election of Donald Trump, Algiere has largely gone silent, neither vocally supportive of his party's radical shift to the right, but also not denouncing it or the outrageous conduct of Trump as Trump drove the GOP in the netherworld of the far, far right.

Further, Algiere's normal low-key approach was greatly overshadowed by the circus-style Trumpish flamboyance of his GOP colleague, Rep. Blake "Flip" Filippi who, as it turned out, often took credit for Algiere's work.

I'm not surprised that Algiere has chosen to call it quits. Today's Republican Party bears no resemblence to the one he first represented in 1992. Algiere has never been a Trumplican. His silence since Trump took office spoke volumes.

Algiere often ran unopposed. His only opponent in 2020 was a write-in candidate. 

In November,  Michael Niemeyer, a member of the progressive Rhode Island Political Cooperative, announced his intention to run as a Democrat. More candidates are likely to declare for this now open seat.

Rep. Blake "Flip" Filippi has nothing to say about his colleague's retirement. He's too busy raging about trilobites, people who criticize his hero Elon Musk and vaccination. Idiot.