Portsmouth Democrats

Portsmouth Democrats urge State Party review of endorsement process

The Portsmouth, RI Democratic Town Committee, at their monthly meeting on July 5, 2018, unanimously adopted a resolution urging the state Democratic Party to review how general assembly candidates are endorsed and create a plan to improve the process.< /p>

"The members of the Town Committee expressed their disappointment in the way endorsements were handled by the State Party in the current election," said Town Committee Chair Len Katzman. "While we are encouraged by the two endorsements which were rescinded on Thursday, we feel that there are systemic issues which still need to be addressed. We want all Democrats to be able to trust the process."

The resolution urges the state committee to craft a plan to proactively educate all Democratic candidates about the procedures and timelines involved in endorsement, as well as taking steps to improved the transparency and accountability of the process.

Full text of the resolution:

Resolution urging the State Democratic Party to review and improve candidate endorsement process

WHEREAS, the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee, as an on-the-ground arm of the Democratic Party has a compelling interest in fairness and transparency in all Party activities as well as preserving the image and value of the Party locally; and

WHEREAS, the 2018 State Party endorsement process for general assembly candidates has resulted in negative impact on incumbent Democratic elected officials, endorsement of candidates with questionable credentials, allegations of unfair treatment, and harsh national media coverage; and

WHEREAS, the State Party has a responsibility to uphold both the integrity of the endorsement process and the image of the State Party as aligned with Democratic values;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee hereby calls upon the officers and staff of the Rhode Island Democratic Party to engage in a review and produce a plan to educate all Democratic candidates about procedures and timelines, and improve the transparency and accountability of the endorsement process.

LET IT BE KNOWN that this resolution was unanimously adopted by the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee on the 5th day of July, 2018.

[view as pdf]

"The members of the Town Committee are proud Democrats," said Katzman. "We believe that the State Party needs to do whatever is needed to ensure that all Democrats feel confident that the endorsement process has integrity."

Editorial note: Written from a news release.

02871, Localblogging, Portsmouth Democrats, Dems

Vern Gorton

verngorton.jpgPortsmouth's Vern Gorton, 59, passed away this week and our town will, literally, never be the same.

He wasn't just a brilliant attorney — although he was that — or a devoted husband and dad, or the heart and soul of the Portsmouth Democratic party. He was a truly wonderful human being and I will miss him terribly.

I met Vern when I got involved with Portsmouth politics about ten years ago. I don't remember what the topic was, but I recall the first time I saw him take the podium at a Town Council meeting and thinking, wow, am I ever glad to be on the same side of that issue.

As I drifted into the local Democratic party, I would run into him at meetings. He was always level-headed, it seemed always smiling, and always able to put into words what everyone was thinking — and doing it in with a turn of phrase and a sense of humor. In all those years, I don't think I ever saw him lose his composure.

Over several campaigns, I had the great good fortune to work with Vern, and it was a masterclass in local politics, taught with wry wit and a clear, uncompromising eye. He had no patience for fools and called things as he saw them, but he unfailingly counseled taking the high road. Not that he was above slugging it out with the opposition — he was a person of deep convictions and he would not yield an inch — but he was always a gentleman.

He believed in the people and the Town of Portsmouth, and he encouraged the candidates he coached to serve the best interests of the community with intelligence and common sense. He was a wonderful mentor, and having his guidance during the election I ran for school committee was a truly special time. I learned a hell of a lot, and, I think, even more important, wanted to emulate what I came to see as his deep commitment to public service.

Vern was an inspirational leader, but one who led by doing. When I was looking around for a photo, I realized that there weren't many. Vern was always too busy working. When the local Democrats would be running our yearly clambake and all the candidates would be out shaking hands with Jack Reed, or David Cicilline, or Gina Raimondo, Vern would be back in the kitchen calmly making chowder. In our monthly town committee meetings, he'd usually be sitting in the back, listening, and only speaking up to say something that either made us all laugh or kept us from doing something stupid.

Portsmouth is a better place because of all that Vern did, and we will all miss his wisdom, judgment, and deep humanity. My heart goes out to family and friends, whose loss is even more immense. There are no words of consolation for a loss this great; only the comforting memory of someone who truly left everything he touched in better shape than he found it.

Memorial page

02871, Localblogging, Portsmouth Democrats, memoriam

Portsmouth Dems host yard sale on Saturday

yardsale.jpgSaturday, July 21, the front lawn of the Portuguese-American Citizens Club on East Main Road in Portsmouth will be chock full of bargains, knickknacks, and cool stuff as the local Democrats host their second annual yard sale from 8am to 3pm. Everyone is welcome! There's ample parking and refreshments will be available.

If you're a crafter, vendor, or family looking for a spot to sell, there are still a few spaces available for $20. Contact Richard Gottlieb at levgoty@cox.net or 683-3231.

This was big fun last year — hope to see you on Saturday!

Full disclosure: I am an officer of the Democratic town committee.

Localblogging, 02871, Portsmouth Democrats

Dennis Canario announces candidacy for State Rep District 71

Former Town Council President (and retired Portsmouth police officer) Dennis Canario has filed his candidacy papers for state rep in District 71 according to listings on the Secretary of State web site , and this afternoon, he sent a press release to local media.

“I am running because I believe District 71 needs a leader who can bring people together to solve the serious challenges facing our state," Canario said in the statement. "All Rhode Islanders deserve better than the divisive political games that have been played recently at the General Assembly. I have a demonstrated track record of honesty and integrity and I will keep my focus on the key concerns that East Bay voters have — not partisan wrangling.”

Canario stated, “I am proud of my many years serving our community as a Town Council member and member of the Portsmouth Police Department. I look forward to the opportunity to visit with voters throughout our district over the next four months, asking them to allow me to serve them at the State House."

Canario said that he plans building a grassroots campaign with local residents, bringing groups together to talk about the issues important to them. “Every voter I’ve talked with so far wants to see Rhode Island strengthen our economy. They also want us to continue to protect our environment, support the needs of our seniors and of our young people, and ensure a safe future for adults and children with disabilities. But most importantly, they want honest and responsive government.”

“I look forward to a vigorous campaign, and I am pleased to officially kick it off this week with my campaign declaration.”

Full disclosure: I am an officer of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee, and Dennis Canario's opponent, Dan Gordon, has blocked me on Twitter.

Localblogging, 02871, RI, GA, Dan Gordon, Gordon, Portsmouth Democrats

Portsmouth Democrats invite citizens to discuss town government on March 29

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. – March 19, 2012 – Concerned with questions about competence, direction, and lack of transparency among local elected officials, the Portsmouth Democrats are holding an event to talk with fellow citizens who share these and other local concerns.

The Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee will host an open forum to discuss town government issues on Thursday, March 29, 7-8:30 p.m. at Foodworks, East Main Road, Portsmouth.

“People around town are telling us that they are concerned -- and sometimes shocked -- by some of the decisions made by the current Council and School Committee leaders and the way they are conducting our Town's business,” said Town Committee Chair, Len Katzman. “The Democratic Town Committee is asking all who are concerned about our local government to come to this forum and join the conversation. There are 3,268 registered Democrats in Portsmouth, yet the Town Committee only hears from a small fraction of those citizens. We want to hear from some new voices.

“If you’ve never spoken to your local Democratic committee before, this will be an easy way to share your ideas with the organization responsible for endorsing candidates for these important roles in town government. We are preparing to assemble a slate of candidates for November’s election and public input is vital,” Katzman said.

The Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee is a nonprofit association established to uphold and to advance the principles of the Democratic Party within the Town of Portsmouth.

It is not necessary to RSVP, but if you would like to contact the Committee please send an email to PortsmouthDemocrats@gmail.com or call 401-683-5000.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Full disclosure: I serve on the Democratic Town Committee.

Localblogging, 02871, Portsmouth Democrats

Portsmouth's Terri Corvriend makes Dem Primary delegate ballot

According to the tally posted this morning on the RI Secretary of State web site, Portsmouth resident Terri Cortvriend gathered enough validated signatures to be placed on the April 24 Primary ballot. With 16 candidates are up for 11 slots, one important factor is sure to be the order in which names will appear, to be determined by a lottery next Wednesday in Providence.

Big congratulations to Terri, and thanks to everyone who helped her out!

Full disclosure: I serve with Terri on the Portsmouth Democratic town committee.

Localblogging, 02871, Dems, Portsmouth Democrats, DNC

Portsmouth's Terri Cortvriend hits signature goal for Dem primary

As of about 7pm this evening, Portsmouth resident Terri Cortvriend appeared to have gathered enough signatures — 150 — for a spot on the April 24 Democratic primary ballot. She was in the parking lot at the Portsmouth Town Hall, catching residents as they arrived for the Council meeting this evening, and she reported having "almost 200" signatures on hand.

Of course, it's not official until she submits her sheets to the canvassers in the several towns where she's been collecting and the names are certified, a process which can take until Friday, March 2. Then, of course, she would have to to appear on the April ballot with two dozen folks who filed papers for the 11 available Delegate slots for the Democratic National Convention.

But it looks good so far. A big THANK YOU to everyone who stopped to sign on their way through the transfer station, or who took time out of their day to pop by Custom House Coffee on Sunday, or the Town Hall tonight. And a special thanks to those folks who aren't even Democrats, and may even actively disagree with us on many issues — I saw a few of them tonight — who signed Terri's papers because you believe in the process. We may not see eye to eye on everything, but on this, you have my thanks and my respect.

Fingers crossed until Friday.

Full disclosure: I serve with Terri on the Democratic Town Committee.

Localblogging, 02871, Portsmouth Democrats

Help put Terri Cortvriend over the top with ballot signatures tomorrow night at Portsmouth Town Hall

Portsmouth resident Terri Cortvriend has still not reached the magic number of 150 signatures to get on the April Primary ballot, she said in a phone call this afternoon. Terri said she'll be at the Portsmouth Town Hall from 5pm-7pm tomorrow — why not swing by the parking lot on your way home from work? You don't need to be a Democrat, just a registered voter.

Terri has served this Town on the School Committee and now as Water Commissioner, and I think she'd make a great delegate to the Democratic Convention in Charlotte. Tomorrow night, hope to see you at Town Hall. Thanks!

Full disclosure: I serve with Terri on the Democratic Town Committee.

Localblogging, 02871, Portsmouth Democrats

Portsmouth's Terri Cortvriend seeks signatures for delegate bid

Cortvriend after picking up declaration papers at the RI Secretary of State's office on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Portsmouth resident Terri Cortvriend has filed papers to run as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, and will be collecting signatures this weekend to get on the April 24 primary ballot.

"It all started with my curiosity about how people get to go to the convention," said Cortvriend. "I went to a training session run by the Rhode Island Democratic Party and thought I'd give it a try. It would be so exciting to participate!"

Cortvriend will be collecting signatures all weekend — the deadline is next Tuesday, Feb. 28 — and is seeking volunteers to help.

Any registered voter — Democrat, Republican, or Unaffiliated — can sign as many nomination papers as they wish, according to the Rhode Island Secretary of State's office, and signing the papers doesn't affect the voter's party or registration status.

Cortvriend plans to be available at the following locations:

Portsmouth High School (Girls JV/V Basketball games) 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Portsmouth Transfer Station: 8 to 11 a.m.
Newport Empire Tea and Coffee: 3 to 5 p.m.

Portsmouth Custom House Coffee 1 to 3 p.m.

Portsmouth Town Hall parking lot: 5 to 7 p.m.

Full disclosure: I serve with Terri on the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee, and I think she'd make an awesome delegate. If you see her this weekend, please take a minute to sign. Thanks

Localblogging, 02871, 2012, Portsmouth Democrats