Rhode Island Women Progressives Prevail in Primary Polls

rhode island women progressives
Moira Jayne Walsh, Incumbent Democratic candidate for Rhode Island State Legislature, District 3, Providence, prevailed yesterday in a contentious primary race in which the Rhode Island Speaker, Nick Mattiello (considered one of the most powerful people in Rhode Island politics) pulled out all the stops to try to take her down.

It felt great to fall asleep last night to the sound of rain, and even better to wake up this morning to the news that many women RI progressives prevailed in the primary elections. Nearest and dearest to me is the win for Lammis J. Vargas for Ward One City Council in Cranston. Beyond that, Moira Jayne Walsh, Marcia Ranglin-Vassell and Bridget Valverde all prevailed, despite not being nominated by the Democratic party here in Rhode Island, which tends to be heavily pro-life and pro-gun.

We wrote about these candidates here on Philanthropy Women earlier in the campaign season, when it was announced that they would not be receiving the Rhode Island Democratic party’s endorsements. Since Rhode Island is a heavily Democratic state, the endorsements from the Democratic party can go a long way to bringing in key blocks of voters. But this year, it appears that the Democratic endorsements did little to improve the chances of candidates that were seriously deficient. Further, the publicity that Nicholas Mattiello received yesterday (it was reported that Mattiello assigned State House workers to hold signs for Moira Jayne Walsh’s opponent) will go a long way to help voters decide whether they want to keep him in his seat in the next election.

Marcia Ranglin-Vassell prevailed handily over her opponent, Holly Coolman, a pro-life Democrat endorsed by the Democratic party in Rhode Island. Despite being an incumbent and a fierce progressive, Ranglin-Vassell was not endorsed by the Rhode Island Democratic party.

We’re talking about these wins here on Philanthropy Women because there appears to be renewed efforts among gender equality philanthropy donors to recognize the political process as a key area of focus. More organizations, both 501(c)3 and 501(c)4, are being founded to help support women candidates in the process of getting elected. Organizations like Higher Heights and Emerge America are helping to diversify the pool of women who are willing to take the risk of running for office in the United States.

Congratulations to all the women who are willing to dedicate their time to service in public office. You are an inspiration to many of us, and we look forward to seeing how you will reshape America for the better!


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Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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