On November 8, Rhode Island Democratic Women's Caucus Linda Ujifusa Joined The Coalition Talk Radio, live! In Studio. We discussed the Women's Caucus … It's origin … history … goals … legislative initiatives … candidates and of course, the naked power grab, via By Laws, by establishment Democratic leadership.
Linda Ujifusa Interview: YouTube Video
Linda Ujifusa Interview: Podcast Format
Contentious Changes To Be Voted On November 18
In a stunning move reminiscent of old school smoke filled room politics, it appears that House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is attempting to strong arm the Rhode Island Democratic Party with a revised Bylaw Structure that can best be described as punitive.
Attempting to marginalize a newly energized grass roots, left of center uprising, these changes are a dagger at the heart of a reform effort aimed at returning the Rhode Island Democratic Party to the, well, Democrats.
The brunt of the attack appears to be the newly emergent caucuses which have had significant recent impact. Amongst the changes:
* Power to establish caucuses now resides solely in the RIDP Chair.
* Caucus membership rolls are now the property of the RIDP and must be updated biennially
* Caucuses are no longer allowed to have their own bylaws, and in fact must adopt Article 4 of the bylaws of the RIDP
* Caucuses may raise money for party building, outreach, and election activities. Monies raised may not be used to support individual candidates. All funds, become the property of the RIDP. Caucuses may not form Political Action Committees
And the changes continue:
"Caucuses may not endorse, support, or assist unendorsed candidates for office during the pre-
primary or primary period. During general and special elections, caucuses may not endorse,
support, or assist any candidate other than a Democratic nominee.
Although caucus members may, as individual citizens, support candidates for office in contested
races during the pre-primary or primary period, they may not do so in their official capacities as
caucus members or by using their caucus member title. Caucus members may not use the
resources, funds, logos, or name of a caucus or the Rhode Island Democratic Party to support any
individual candidates other than the endorsed candidate during the pre-primary or primary period."
Incredibly enough, freedom of speech is essentially denied:
"Caucuses may not issue press releases or any external communications related to party activities,
including caucus activity, without express written approval of the party Chair."
The final indignity? "Caucuses may not collect dues from members in any form."
The financial structure of the RIDP is somewhat altered, as well. Currently, expenditures under 2500 require only the Treasurer's approval. That cap has been raised ten fold, to 25,000$
Interestingly, the rules for censure & dismissal have been completely reworked. Whereas complaints are currently sent to the general body, it appears that the Executive Committee will screen any and all submissions. Where a majority of the committee is currently required to censure or remove, a two thirds majority will be necessary upon passage.
These rules, by one activists perspective, are clearly revenge for the aggressive stance the Women's Caucus has maintained … both on a legislative/policy front. "This is Mattiello's retribution for women standing up to him", said the Activist, who preferred to remain anonymous. "It strips all of the power to make decisions independent of the Party" …. "Example: If the RIDP were to endorse an opponent to firebrand Rep Moira Walsh, the Women's Caucus could not endorse her.
We will be reaching out for comment later today from Party Leaders. Watch The Coalition Talk Radio Friday Night @ 6PM ET on www.Facebook.com/TheCoalitionRadio for additional analysis!