Bristol Democrats reject Councilor Sweeney for membership


If Town Councilor Tim Sweeney decides to seek a second term this November, he may be doing so without an endorsement by the Bristol Democrat Town Committee.

In a move Committee President John Faria said "will not bode well for his endorsement this June," the Bristol Democrat Town Committee voted to reject Mr. Sweeney's application for membership Jan. 27, calling him a party "pretender."

The reason, states Mr. Faria, is because Mr. Sweeney nominated Republican Councilor Mary Parella as chairperson of the Town Council in December 2012.

"That upset many members of the (Committee) and local Democrats" Mr. Faria wrote in a letter to the Bristol Phoenix. "While many local Democrats have supported Mary Parella through the years for elected office, we also believe that if you run as part of a team, and the Democrats are a team, when it is time to elect the team captain, you need to elect the captain for your team."

Mr. Sweeney ran for Bristol Town Council as an unendorsed Democrat in the 2012 elections and won. He, along with newcomers Ed Stuart and Nathan Calouro, are the three sitting Democrats on the Town Council. During a December council meeting, Mr. Stuart nominated party mate Mr. Calouro to the chairman's seat. However, they were the only two to support that nomination.

Ms. Parella was then nominated as the chairperson by Mr. Sweeney, and seconded by Councilor Halsey Herreshoff, also a Republican.

In a letter to the editor shortly after that meeting, Mr. Sweeney responded to critics of his vote:

"I’ve been asked why I, as a newly elected Democratic councilman, would support Republican Mary Parella for chair of the council. On Nov. 6, Mary Parella won more votes, the confidence of more Bristolians, than any other candidate for council. Mary Parella’s years of experience on the Bristol Town Council and representing Bristol in the RI Senate have prepared her well to lead the council. I nominated my party mate, Edward P. Stuart Jr., to be the vice chair."

Historically, Mr. Faria said, when the dominant party controls the council, they always choose the chairman from that party, which Mr. Sweeney did not do.

"The people voted and clamored for new blood," Mr. Faria states. "Instead, they got the same-old, same-old."

The Committee informed Mr. Sweeney of their decision in a brief letter, without explanation, finally "wishing (him) the best in all (his) future endeavors."

"It is interesting that the Bristol Democrat Town Committee (BDTC) chose to inform me of their reasons to reject my application for membership through our local newspaper," Mr. Sweeney said in a statement. "I am disappointed that the criteria they cite for membership are voting for the town council chairman of the (Committee's) choice; and voting for a budget that the (Committee) approves."

Mr. Sweeney was a registered Republican for more than 10 years and voted as a Republican in the 2006 and 2010 primaries. He later changed his party affiliation to Democrat just before the 2012 elections.

"If he believes in the Republican philosophy, which his history and actions demonstrate he does, then more power to him," states Mr. Faria. "We encourage him to run as a Republican."



9 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

So big time party politics comes to small town America. This is exactly why this country is completely disfunctional. The Democrats are acting like spoiled children. Councilor Sweeney had a valid reason for his actions and the response from Mr. Faria is nothing more than retaliation for an action that didn't go his way. Grow up. Work together. That's why we voted these people in. If they can't do it I'll vote all new people in next time.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 | Report this

It's a total shame.......

“The people voted and clamored for new blood,” Mr. Faria states. “Instead, they got the same-old, same-old.”

You got new blood, new fresh ideas, and its being called same old same old, are you serious? Its old is the regime that has been in power for too long and does not want to change with the times.....

Councilor Sweeney you do not need to be affiliated with the old just be yourself and keep up the good work....

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 | Report this
Local Bargain Jerk

-- Mr. Sweeney ran for Bristol Town Council as an unendorsed

-- Democrat in the 2012 elections and won.

What makes Mr. Faria so certain that endorsement from the Democrats is required for success in the election?

It seems to me that Mr. Sweeney voted his conscience ... versus acting like one of the lever pullers endorsed by Mr. Faria.

Please keep on speaking out in public, Mr. Faria. All of us are most interested in your opinions and views.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 | Report this
Jack Baillargeron

What a shame that this type of mentality still exist. There is a reason this Country is going down the tubes. These types of "Party" right or wrong is as destructive as it gets. How stupid can a person be to not realize that they are acting no different a communist Country where you disappear if you do not follow the party line.

"Historically, Mr. Faria said, when the dominant party controls the council, they always choose the chairman from that party, which Mr. Sweeney did not do. It seems Mr. Faria wishes for a gulag to send Mr. Sweeny. Congrats Mr. Faria you become that which Americans have fought against for over 200 years.

I found it refreshing that Mr. Sweeny, nominated Republican Councilor Mary Parella. I also loved it when Mr. Texeria got elected as an independent. It gave this town hope the people living here were realizing it is about the issues of the people and not party politics.

Least that is what I thought until I read this crap. Over 80 years the DEMS have held super majority in the State House. Longest record in the Country. What does R.I. have to show for it? Bottom of the list in everything and broke with no high wage jobs or meaningful education for our children. Now Mr. Faria would have that right down to the local level. Why not just appoint a "King" or better yet a Dictator. God people like you disgust me to no end. Your only concern is for power and not the people you are suppose to be serving. You sir should be run out of town on a rail in my opinion. People wonder what we have come to as a Country of late? Well this is it folks. Party above the people, all about the votes and the people be damned. Disgusting!!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Report this

No the harbor would have been great for Mr. Faria. It always has been. Just like the time I had been on the list for a slip for over 4 years. And Mr. Faria bought my barber's boat. I think he bought it in March and Mr. Faria got a slip in June??? And to add to the since of entitlment he not only skipped the waiting list. He also got the best slip in the place?? Oh well I guess i better join a political party....Na I will just pay my taxes and rant on here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Report this

In the brief time that Tim Sweeney has been a member of the town council, he has established himself as an independent thinker. His obvious primary goal is to serve his constituents in the best way possible, by making unencumbered decisions. Rather than to perpetuate the continuity of power which strives to control past practices, he has demonstrated accessibility and support for the wishes of Bristol citizens which would insure improved quality of government. Right on Tim!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Report this
Guy Guyverson

Not really a big fan of Mr. Sweeney especially with the plastic bag ban, which felt a little too much of a power move. This information though makes me respect him a lot more and is a good example of him acting on what he said he would do, which is few and far between for a politician.

Mr. Sweeney: Run Independent, you got the most votes last time did you not? and I am sure you will again. Bring along another independent or two, and the Bristol Democrats will see the mistake they made by not including you....

We don't need partisan crap we need people willing to work for the town, Mr. Herreshoff walks the talk, Ms Parella too. With Mr Sweeney, lets find two more regardless of the letter after their name and send a message to Bristol democrats with NO democrats on the council next time around!

Go play politics in Warren

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Report this

So, let me get this straight. Sweeney won't be endorsed by the Democratic Party because he backed a Republican, that has a good rapport with Democrats, and may just be the voice of opposition/reason over so many people that think the same way?

Sounds like the Democratic Party needs to find a new way of thinking. I LOVE that Mr. Faria speaks of doing things historically, but complains that new blood is doing the same old, same old. That makes about as much sense as "60% of the time, it works every time."

How about this? How about maybe Mr.Sweeney may have found the walking down the middle may accomplish more than picking aside. In shape this state is in, maybe trying to walk down the middle and actually practicing TRUE bi-partisanship will be more effective as the "same old, same old." I think Rhode Islanders are sick, most of all, of elected representatives saying "I am willing to/want to work with the other party" only to see later that, that isn't overly true. While they all sit at a stalemate and tackle lesser issues, the bigger issues and more pressing questions remain the same and are left unanswered. Who benefits from that? Because it isn't the people.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Report this

Tim Sweeney the truly independent man. Leave the Dems in the dust, they are not good enough for you. You will have my vote, Tim!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Report this

2016 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Prudence Island · Riverside · Rumford · Seekonk · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc., email