More than 1,700 Rhode Islanders signed a petition imploring the local congressional delegation “to be leaders at the federal level in resisting the Trump-Pence agenda.” And Rhode Island’s congressional delegation has, to varying degrees, responded to them.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse proactively sent a statement to several local reporters who covered the petition being delivered to his Providence office on Monday.
“Getting organized and involved in the political process is more important than ever, and I thank everyone who signed this petition,” Whitehouse said. “I’m listening closely to what Rhode Islanders have to say during this transition. The day after the election, I pledged to do everything in my power to protect the dignity of all people in a Trump presidency, and that commitment will guide my work in the months and years ahead.”
Resist Hate RI activists also tried to deliver a copy of the petition to Senator Jack Reed’s Providence office, but security wouldn’t let the group of some 60 people upstairs to his office. Reed declined a subsequent opportunity to comment on the petition. Instead, his spokesman Chip Unruh offered a statement.
“Our nation’s strength flows from the people, and an engaged citizenry helps defend the values we hold dear,” Unruh told RI Future in an email. “Senator Reed appreciates the input and the energy from these petitioners. They understand that he has had disagreements with Presidents from both parties. And whether it was opposing the Iraq War or the ill-conceived Bush tax cuts, or voting against president Obama’s proposed trade deals, they can count on Jack Reed to stand on principle, and stand up for the people of Rhode Island, regardless of who occupies the Oval Office.”
Congressman David Cicilline did respond to a request for comment.
“I share the concerns of many Rhode Islanders, including those who signed this petition, about whether President-elect Trump will govern in a way that advances the interests of all Americans,” Cicilline said, in an email via a spokeperson. “As he prepares to take office, it’s important that all of us remain engaged and continue to fight for the values of fairness and equality that define our nation.”
Resist Hate RI hopes to deliver the petitions to congressmen Cicilline and Jim Langevin during private meetings, which they are currently trying to schedule, said Gabrielle Godina, an organizer with the Working Families Party of Rhode Island.
Like Reed, Langevin declined the opportunity to comment on the petition. His spokeswoman, Meg Geoghegan, pointed out what Langevin said when he called for Steve Bannon to be removed from Donald Trump’s transition team.
“I have always tried to work in a bipartisan way, and I am ready to work with the incoming administration, as well, but I am not willing to do so at the expense of common decency,” Langevin said at the time. “This isn’t about political affiliations; this is about cultivating an environment in this country where people of every race, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation feel safe, valued, and empowered.”
Geoghegan said Langevin “will apply this same standard to all of Trump’s appointments and actions as President, calling out injustice when he sees it, and opposing any actions or policies that are at odds with the values and interests of Rhode Islanders. Congressman Langevin isn’t going to compromise his ideals or the ideals of his constituents. Having a Republican President isn’t going to change his priorities. Having served in the minority since 2010, the Congressman has not given an inch on a lot of the hallmark platform issues of the Republicans, and he will continue to fight their ongoing efforts to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security benefits, reduce funding for education and cut taxes for the rich at the expense of the middle class families.”
Resist Hate RI is a local grassroots group that formed in the wake of Donald Trump winning the election. An early focus of the group’s has been to inspire Rhode Island’s congressional delegation to vociferously oppose Trump’s so-far seemingly very conservative agenda.
Resist Hate RI is holding its second meeting Saturday, 3pm, at Hope High School.