2020 News & Press

Rhode Island House Republican Caucus Issues North East State COVID-19 Operations Fact Sheet

Rhode Island House Republican Caucus Issues 

North East State COVID-19 Operations Fact Sheet

Rhode Island is an outlier when it comes to not convening legislature, not addressing the state budget, and the limited distribution of Coronavirus Relief Funds


State House, Providence - Recent statements by the Speaker of the House and the Governor indicating that Rhode Island is in lock-step with our neighboring states regarding the status of our state budget, the convening of the General Assembly, and the disbursement of federal Coronavirus Relief Funds, compel the Rhode Island House Republican Caucus to issue the following fact sheet demonstrating that Rhode Island is in fact an outlier:

General Assembly, Get Back to Work!


It's been seven months since Rhode Island has been subject to taxation without representation. Seven months since the General Assembly (outside of the Republican Caucus) has been content to let the Governor run the state by Executive Order and instead focus their efforts on reelection. If proper representation is important to you, contact your state representative and tell them to get back to work! To find yours visit www.sos.ri.gov


Today, the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) accepted public comment on filling a vacancy on the R.I. Supreme Court. One of the individuals the JNC is considering to recommend to be a Supreme Court Justice is Senator Erin Lynch Prata. Senator Lynch Prata has refused to honor Rhode Island’s revolving door law, which prohibits legislators from seeking or accepting a judgeship until they have been out of office for one year.

R.I. Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Cienki commented: “A generation ago, after various scandals involving judges who went directly from the legislature to the bench, Rhode Island created the JNC and a judicial merit selection process. The JNC needs to do its job here, and keep state house politics out of the selection of judges. The JNC should not recommend Senator Lynch Prata to the Supreme Court. While other individuals seeking this appointment to our highest court have judicial experience and/or stellar credentials, we all know that Senator Lynch Prata’s primary qualification for the job is simply her statehouse political connections. Recommending Lynch Prata would show that the JNC is influenced more by politics, than merits, in selecting judges.”

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.