It might be time for Democratic Party official Joseph Delorenzo to resign, according to female lawmakers from across Rhode Island reacting to controversial remarks the Second Vice Chair made about the progressive wing of the party.
“The RI Democratic Party believes in equality, values diversity, and is working to ensure economic security for all Rhode Islanders,” said an open letter signed by 12 female state legislators, one male state legislator, and five city or town councilors from four different municipalities and other various party officials from Barrington to Central Falls.
Delorenzo, a former state representative from Cranston, said at a state Democratic Party meeting this weekend, according to Providence Journal reporting:
“..the Democratic Party has moved so far to the left, right now, it is frightening.”
“I see what’s going on in the country. … I see us attacking Christopher Columbus. … I see what’s going on in the National Football League. I see everything that’s happening nationally.
“Two years ago they took out [then-Rhode Island House Majority Leader] John DeSimone with a very progressive candidate. … I just don’t like where we are going.”
DeLorenzo recalled a recent conversation with a fellow Democrat, who told him: “If I didn’t have a job, I would abandon the Democratic Party.” (Presumably he meant a patronage job.)
“I hear this everywhere,” he said. “All these left-wing whack jobs.”
“If Mr. Delorenzo finds these views ‘frightening,’ it is time he resign his position as 2nd Vice Chair,” the letter said, calling his comments, “divisive, offensive and insulting.”
Delorenzo declined to elaborate on his comments, when reached by RI Future. “Exactly what I said in the paper,” he said. “That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Party Chairman Joe McNamara, a state representative from Warwick, said in a statement: “I find these comments to be unfortunate, and not in the spirit of the meeting on Sunday, nor the Democratic Party itself. As a Party, we must commit ourselves to inclusion and tolerance whenever we can. We will continue to focus on a strong economy that allows everyone who wants a job in our state to get one, ensuring that everyone in our state continues to have access to quality and affordable healthcare, and other substantive issues that Rhode Islanders care about rather than allowing these comments to distract us from the hard work of building a Democratic Party that can continue to rise, organize, and build a stronger future for our state in 2018 and beyond.”
A Change.org petition was also created calling for Delorenzo to resign.
Wrote Lauren Neidel about Delorenzo’s comments, “Most Democrats believe in women’s reproductive freedom, a single-payer healthcare system, $15.00 as a minimum (barely-livable) minimum wage, voting rights vs. voter ID, a clean environment (that does not include a 1 billion dollar fracked gas power plant), housing that is affordable, criminal justice reform, and eliminating corporate welfare. Maybe it’s the Party that needs to embrace these left wing Democratic socialist initiatives to really unite Democrats and like-minded independents, rather than rubber stamping the status quo.”
This post will be updated.