Rhode Island Republicans may not win a lot of issues, but one thing has stood out for the Party, i.e. it has always promoted women for higher office. Starting in the 1980s, multiple women ran for …
Rhode Island Republicans may not win a lot of issues, but one thing has stood out for the Party, i.e. it has always promoted women for higher office. Starting in the 1980s, multiple women ran for Congress (Claudine Schneider), Secretary of State (Susan Farmer, Barbara Leonard), for Lt. Governor (Susan Farmer again), Attorney General (moi), General Treasurer (Nancy Mayer) etc.
In the Legislature, women were in leadership positions beginning in the 1970s (Lila Sapinsley, first female minority leader in the Senate).
Eventually, Democrats fielded a woman or two, culminating ultimately in the election of Gina Raimondo as Governor and Nellie Gorbea as Secretary of State.
To its credit, the Democrat Party now is awash with talented women running for higher office.
CONGRESS – Joy Fox
Ms. Fox has excelled in her career in communications, both in government service and as a small business owner. The most important quality that a spokesperson can have is that she tells the truth.
Media in Rhode Island have always respected Joy when she worked for Congressman Jim Langevin and then-Treasurer later Gov. Gina Raimondo because Joy was forthright. Perhaps it was her experience as a reporter for the Cranston Herald and the Providence Business News or as an assignment editor for NBC10.
I’d like to think it was mostly because of the Sisters of Mercy who taught her at Bayview Academy!
CONGRESS – Sarah Morgenthau
This Columbia School of Law graduate is a national security expert and steeped in experience in cyber security, homeland security, supply chain and crisis management. She worked as the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security. Given the cyber threats facing the United States, she is perfectly poised to understand and respond to these threats.
Another feather in her cap is her work at the Enforcement Division of the United States Security and Exchange Commission. With the “1%” wreaking its havoc at the expense of the middle class, Ms. Morgenthau is thoroughly conversant with the machinations of Wall Street.
GOVERNOR – Nellie Gorbea
This Princeton University graduate earned her B.A. in International and Public Affairs and a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. Before becoming Secretary of State, she was executive director of Housing Works Rhode Island, a position that gave her an understanding of Rhode Island’s housing crisis.
As the first Hispanic to hold statewide office in New England, she worked to allow stiffer penalties for lobbying rules violations. She spearheaded automatic voter registration when citizens interact with the Division of Motor Vehicles.
Folks may differ on the wisdom of allowing online mail ballot applications and permitting any voter to use a mail or an emergency mail ballot without excuse and other reforms, but her leadership shows that she can get things done.
GOVERNOR – Helena Foulkes
One of five children, Helena worked her way up for 25 years to become the top executive of Woonsocket-based CVS. She initiated the Extra Care customer discount program, and in what was a truly gutsy move, in 2014 as CVS President, she ordered the cessation of the sale of tobacco products at CVS stores.
Her management prowess is unquestioned, as she broke the proverbial glass ceiling. She has spelled out her programs to solve COVID loss in education and affordable housing.
With no intended slight to the men running, bravo to the Dems for such talented women candidates, even if the party didn’t endorse any of them!
Arlene Violet is an attorney and former Rhode Island Attorney General.