2020 News & Press

Republican State Senate Candidate Cortellessa Welcomes Campaign Season, Elaborates On Vision For District 27

With the primaries now over and mail-in ballots fully accounted for, the 2020 election cycle in full swing. With a full seven weeks until the 2020 Election Day, now is the time for the candidates to inform the voters on the issues and share their vision of how to fix Rhode Island. 

Today, Republican candidate for Rhode Island State Senate RI-27 (Cranston & West Warwick) Pat Cortellessa elaborated on his race against incumbent Hanna Gallo, and following the primary, where the campaign will go from here. “After earning nearly 1400 votes in the primary, I will continue to campaign hard across Cranston and West Warwick and let the voters know they have a choice on November 3, business as usual or a new day in District 27” Cortellessa said.

House Republican Caucus Calls out State Leadership Over Delayed Consideration of FY21 Budget by the General Assembly

The House Republican Caucus issues the following statement regarding today’s announcement by the Governor, Speaker of the House and President of the Senate that they will postpone the development and discussion of the FY 2021 Budget until November:

RI House GOP to Submit Designated Support Person Legislation

Members of the Rhode Island House Republican Caucus will submit legislation to address COVID-19 mandates that have denied access to individuals in hospitals, group homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and Veterans Homes.

The fundamental right to have bedside companionship and health advocacy was denied to many during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Republican legislation will balance safety with the rights of our hospitalized, elderly and disabled patients. The purpose of this bill is to entitle all residents of health-care facilities and group homes the opportunity to designate a support person for regular, in-person visits. The policy is designed to assist facilities in balancing disease transmission protocols with the benefits of having a loved one present during a lockdown.

“The failure for our infirmed to have in-person visits during this pandemic has real consequences,” said Leader Blake Filippi. “We witnessed stressful and at times terrifying experiences for our elderly and disabled when they were sequestered from their loved ones. Additional suffering occurred when patients were denied the comfort of companionship in their final moments. The stories shared by our constituents who were refused access are heart-wrenching. We believe some of this stress could be avoided with this legislation.”

House Minority Caucus to Submit Legislation in Response to COVID-19 Education Challenges

Rhode Island House Republicans will immediately file legislation to address the pressing educational challenges brought on by COVID-19. The Republican plan will: 1) establish Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), which are restricted receipt accounts, funded by tax and CARES Act dollars, but managed by families, to provide additional education tools and home schooling to students in districts without in-person learning; and 2) to provide public school choice to parents of any school that fails to provide in-person learning despite a state determination it is safe to do so.

The legislation will provide options for parents in response to a number of Rhode Island school districts announcing limited educational opportunities for their students in the 2020/2021 school year. The legislation is intended to ensure that their children do not fall behind from remote learning. In any school District that does not provide in-person learning, parents have two options.

First, parents can continue with remote learning, and will be able to utilize ESAs to pay for tutoring, technology, supplies and other extra help measures.

Second, Parents may opt to home-school their children. ESAs will be utilized to fund this home-schooling program.

A third option will be provided to parents in schools that do not provide in-person instruction despite a state determination it is safe to do so. Those parents will be able to send their child to any other public school offering in-person learning, that has capacity, and the money will follow the child to the receiving district.

Trump 2020 Volunteer Meeting - Thursday, September 3

The Rhode Island Republican Party is looking for volunteers to assist with the reelection campaign for President Donald Trump. There are many opportunities available for those looking for in-office work or field operations.

We are looking for people to:

  • Sign up to be a poll worker on November 3rd (this is a paid position with your local board of canvassers). This requires an all day commitment from 6:30 am - after 8 pm (lunch and dinner provided by local board)
  • Sign up to sit as a poll watcher for 2-3 hour shifts at local polls to make sure our Republican supporters have voted
  • Hold signs outside polling locations 2-3 hour shifts form 7am-8pm
  • Answer phones and help with light administrative duties at RI GOP Headquarters from now until Election Day
  • Sign up for "TRUMP TALK" to make phone calls. Sign up www.trumptalk.gop
  • Sign up to be a Trump Neighborhood team leader to register voters, make calls and knock on doors - Register at www.armyfortrump.com

Those interested are invited to join us at RI GOP HQ (1800 Post Rd. Warwick, RI) on Thursday, September 3 at 5:30PM for an informational meeting to find out more about how you can help.

To register, please email ri4trump@gmail.com

Supreme Court Decision on Mail Ballots

We are disappointed in the Court’s 6-3 decision. We fear that this decision will create more, not less confusion this election year. In Alabama, a state law requiring witnesses for mail ballots is constitutional, but in another, Rhode Island, it is unconstitutional. Whether a state election law violates the U.S. Constitution now depends on the whims of your state’s election officials. The authority of state legislators in establishing election laws has been undermined.

We also fear that the Court’s decision will encourage Rhode Island officials to repeat the June presidential primary election fiasco in November. Not only will the witness requirement for mail ballots be waived but unsolicited mail ballot applications will be sent out to everyone, including voters who have moved or are dead. The June presidential primary election nearly overwhelmed the system. About 2,825 mail ballots were not counted and 36,281 mail ballots that were sent out have never been accounted for. The June election was inconsequential, but a chaotic November election will have serious consequences for public confidence in our election system.


Today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit to invalidate the Rhode Island law which requires mail ballot envelopes to be witnessed or notarized. The R.I. Republican Party makes the following statement:

“Rhode Island law requires a mail ballot envelope to be signed by two witnesses or a notary in order to protect the integrity of our electoral system. Essentially, Rhode Island has a two-step safeguard to ensure that an individual casting a ballot is actually who he or she claims to be. When it comes to voting in person, a voter must sign his or her name and present identification to verify his or her identity. When it comes to voting by mail, a voter must sign his or her name on the envelope and have it witnessed by two people or a notary who confirm the identity of the voter. Eliminating one part of this safeguard increases the likelihood of fraud. Our elections are susceptible to fraud. For example, in 1982, Providence Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr won reelection with the help Lloyd Griffin, Jr and his mail ballot operation. Years later, Cianci admitted that Griffin “had a bit of trouble differentiating between an absentee voter and a fictitious vote."

COVID-19 cannot be used as an excuse to eliminate safeguards against fraud. Rhode Island is in the middle of its Phase III reopening. If it is safe enough for 50 people to meet indoors, for nursing homes to accept visitors, then it is safe enough for a voter to have his or her mail ballot envelope signed by two witnesses or a notary.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Building the Movement - America's Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women's Suffrage

We wanted to provide a reminder of the recent announcement from the Office of the First Lady Melania Trump regarding Building the Movement: America’s Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage, an exhibit honoring the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment which gave American women the right to vote. We hope that you will share information about this initiative in your communities. The exhibit will launch this August (2020) and will showcase artwork by young Americans depicting this historic milestone. To create this exhibit, the First Lady is asking students in grades 3-12 from across the United States and its territories for submissions depicting individuals, objects, and events representing the women’s suffrage movement. One submitted artwork will be chosen from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, America Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The artwork will appear alongside images of women’s suffrage parades, marches, and gatherings that took place at or around the White House. The deadline for submission is July 6. All applicants will receive a thank you note signed by the First Lady, thanking them for their participation in this special exhibit honoring the women's suffrage movement.


Click Here to Participate

Rhode Island Republican Party Withdraws Endorsement for Allen Waters

Today the Executive Committee of the Rhode Island Republican Party met and voted to pull the party’s endorsement of candidate Allen Waters for United States Senate. The meeting was called to review Mr. Waters’ endorsement, after reports surfaced that Mr. Waters had been involved in a domestic disturbance in March 2019. This decision overturns the vote by the State Central Committee on June 8, 2020.

Rhode Island GOP Chairwoman Sue Cienki commented: “Due to the restrictions on in-person gatherings instituted by the Governor, we were forced to have our June convention on Zoom. This eliminated a lot of the conversation amongst our committee members that would normally take place in person. Specifically, the fact that the nominating committee had not recommended endorsement.

Former RI Representative Anthony Giarrusso Announces Reelection Bid to Restore Community Priorities at State House

Today, former State Representative Anthony Giarrusso announces his bid for re-election to the Rhode Island House of Representatives --District 30, serving East Greenwich and West Greenwich, a seat he held from 2012-2018. Representative Giarrusso is a Republican, seeking to regain the seat currently occupied by Democrat Justine Caldwell.

“Rhode Island has suffered at the hands of a single, largely unopposed party on Smith Hill that has held an 85% majority in the General Assembly since the mid-1950’s. For the past two years, the so-called “reformer” representative for our District joined the special interests in supporting legislation that hurt our community’s economic growth and fiscal stability. For instance, despite calls from the Town Council and pleas from concerned constituents, she voted against their wishes in support of the Evergreen Bill in 2019 – a bill that ‘handcuffs’ town administrators, and favors the unions, inevitably leading to property-tax increases. I am compelled to rejoin the growing opposition voice to change the status quo government that benefits the connected and as a result, strains the resources of our municipalities. I am honored to step up once again to provide authentic representation in government concerns and responsive solutions to constituent issues.”