Progressive Democrats endorse David Norton in House District 60

The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats voted to endorse David Norton in the race for State Representative, Pawtucket District 60, at our January meeting. David has long been a hardworking, dedicated member of the progressive movement, and we are excited that he is running for this seat.

David Norton has a strong track record of success. He created the ‘Organizing for Pawtucket’ group which launched the “Keep the PawSox in Pawtucket” campaign – a feat that no one thought could be won. It was David’s leadership, talent, and passionate dedication that ultimately led to the demise of the proposal that taxpayers fund a new stadium in Providence! This campaign confronted the powerful conservative political machine that runs the Rhode Island Democratic Party—and won.

David is a true Democrat. He is fighting for working families and is committed to the Democratic party’s basic priorities like ethics reform, a woman’s right to choose, common sense gun safety regulation, and repealing the tax cuts for the rich—priorities that many Rhode Island legislators, both Democrats and Republicans, sadly oppose.

Norton has already been raising important issues. He has called out the General Assembly’s shameful move to raise car taxes on the middle class to help pay for enormous tax cuts for the rich. He is pushing for a fair tax structure that will provide relief to the middle class by asking big corporations and the wealthy to simply pay their fair share.

Norton is also highlighting the culture of backroom corporate welfare deals. He is committed to fighting for real reform, including the roll back of the massive expansion of the agency, Commerce RI, that is largely responsible for the failed 38 Studios venture.

Most importantly, David is willing to stand up to the State House leadership to fight for what is right. He has already proven that he can be effective, and we know he will be a powerful leader in the fight to bring Democratic values back to the state Democratic Party, the General Assembly, Pawtucket, and Rhode Island.

It takes courage and conviction to stand up to the establishment, and we couldn’t be prouder to stand with David Norton. We are sending him the maximum allowable campaign contribution under state law ($1000), and our members are eager to hit the ground in Pawtucket and knock on doors, make phone calls, and do what we can to help David win the primary in September.

Progressive Dems urge Raimondo to issue executive order on driver’s licenses

During the 2014 gubernatorial race, Gina Raimondo made a campaign promise to the Immigrants in Action Committee that she would sign an executive order within her first year, issuing licenses to undocumented immigrants within Rhode Island. Raimondo further made her support clear in an ACLU questionnaire, that asked: “Do you support providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants?”, to which Raimondo responded: “YES. I was the first candidate in the gubernatorial race to explicitly call for driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. This is an issue of fairness and public safety”. However, January 6th has gone by, marking the end of Raimondo’s first year as Governor, and instead of issuing an executive order, Raimondo has responded with inaction.

Speaker Mattiello encouraged the Governor to bring up the issue “legislatively,” so that public comment could be heard, and that legislators could then form a position on the issue. However, it is very unlikely that the General Assembly will act on this issue. In 2014, for instance, H 7262 was referred to the House Judiciary, and the hearing on it was postponed at the request of the bill sponsor. In the Senate, a similar fate befell its version of the bill: S 2241 was sent to the Judiciary Committee, and was simply not heard. In 2013, S 422 was referred to the Judiciary Committee, and sent to “further study” – effectively killing the bill. Thus, judging by these prior attempts, Raimondo’s choice to pursue the legislative route to address this “issue of fairness and public safety” is unlikely to result in meaningful legislative action, especially when the Judiciary Committees and Speaker Nicholas Mattiello remain determined to obstruct any opportunity of passing legislation to correct this longstanding wrong in the State of Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats continues to urge Governor Raimondo to issue an executive order, as she promised Rhode Island’s voters and the immigrant community during her campaign.