Rhode Island politics is heating up. The Woman Project, a grassroots coalition of progressive women activists in Rhode Island, is calling on House Speaker Nick Mattiello and State Rep. Cale Keable to resign, in light of new evidence that Keable engaged in sexual harassment of Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian, and the House Speaker did little to address the problem.
The Woman Project noted that it is “unthinkable” that Speaker Nick Mattiello would “keep Representative Keable in a leadership role and take no formal action.”
Nick Mattiello is currently being challenged by Republican Steve Frias, who came very close to beating him in the last election, with only 85 votes making Mattiello the winner.
On October 29, Rep. Keable was suspended from his position as Judiciary Chair of the House of Representatives in Rhode Island.
The Woman Project further noted that Representative Keable’s power as Chair of the judiciary committee has prevented bills on reproductive freedom and sexual harassment from proceeding to the Rhode Island State House floor for full consideration by the legislature.
Because of Rhode Island’s size and political structure, the House Speaker has the power to “table” legislation and keep it from proceeding for a vote. In recent years, progressive women in Rhode Island have grown increasingly frustrated with the House Speaker’s stalling of legislation, particularly around women’s rights and gun control. Progressive women donors would do well to support the coalition of organizations coming together to defeat Mattiello in the upcoming election on November 6. Those organizations are the National Organization for Women, the Rhode Island Coalition against Gun Violence, and the Rhode Island Latino PAC. Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island also issued a statement calling on Rep. Keable to resign and criticizing the leadership of House Speaker Mattiello.
The Providence Journal provides an overview of the full story, including Mattiello’s side of this Rhode Island politics drama.
Here is the full statement from The Woman Project below: