In the race for the new chair of our state’s Republican Party, we need a strong leader who will defend core conservative values, especially given the major leftward shift of the Democratic party, which has become radicalized by its progressive-socialist faction.
The recent extremism in the Democratic party has created an enormous opportunity for Republicans to appeal to Kennedy-type Democrats, independents, and moderates. But we must do so with a contrasting conservative message — our party must define and explain how our ideology will better benefit Rhode Islanders by giving them more freedom of choice to shape their own futures as opposed to the heavy-handed government control over our lives approach being offered by Democrats.
Now is not the time to appease the progressive left by trying to be like them. Our party has suffered greatly because we have retreated from sensitive policy issues, giving Democrats the unopposed freedom to implement their radical agenda. The abortion debate is a perfect example. Progressives are demanding anytime, anywhere, for any reason abortions even though a recent poll showed that 74 percent of Rhode Islanders disagree. A party chair who would not be willing to take advantage of this opportunity and fight such extremism would be a huge mistake that will not help us win future elections. There are many other major policy areas, like health care, where this same retreat would likely take place.
Given our “weakness” among women, I would very much like to see a woman lead our party forward. However, a cultural liberal would not be advantageous for our party.
There are now two good people running for Rhode Island GOP chair: Michael Veri and Sue Cienki.
Without question they are unabashed conservatives who would offer strong and articulated voices for our party. Veri is a young and energetic family man; Cienki is a businesswoman not afraid of a battle. Cienki bravely exposed and took on the firefighters union in East Greenwich, not kowtowing or backing down.
As a voting member of the Rhode Island Republican Party, I am asking my fellow delegates to join me in voting for one of the two conservatives in the race. Giving in to the radical left is not my idea of moving our party onward to victory.
The writer is the minority whip of the Rhode Island Senate representing the 34th District (Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond, West Greenwich).