Politicians, would-be-politicians, rank-and-file supporters and even an internationally known ice-skater attended the annual Johnston Town Democratic Committee Breakfast at the Dillon Council Knights of Columbus
Hall in North Providence on Sunday, Nov 10.
The gathering of about 400 marks the unofficial start of the
political season with eyes focused on the elections of 2014. Johnston is a Democratic stronghold and is, therefore, exceptionally important to Democratic hopefuls running statewide.
It began with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Veterans Prayer led by a delegation of veterans from the community and the singing of the national anthem by Alyssa Baccari, a Johnston High School sophomore.
The group then heard brief remarks from Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Jim Langevin. General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena also spoke, along with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Secretary of State Ralph Mollis and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.
They emphasized the importance of work Democrats are doing and encouraged them to remain strong in the months ahead. Whitehouse put special emphasis on returning Senator Jack Reed to the Senate as Reed will then be the ranking Democrat and will likely be offered the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee.
Also attending was Claiborne Clay Pell, grandson of the late Sen. Claiborne Pell and possible gubernatorial candidate, and his wife, well known figure skater Michelle Kwan.
In a follow-up interview, Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena said he was proud of the Democratic turnout and noted that the Johnston Democrats have a very strong influence on statewide elections.
He said it was far too early to endorse or even comment on any of the candidates as the Democratic committee has not heard from them as to what their vision for the state is while others have not yet declared their intentions. He called the possible candidacy of Clay Pell interesting.
Polisena says he believes it's important not to elect a governor
like former Republican Donald Carcieri who cut state revenues to the cities and towns with devastating results.
The mayor said his stress would be on the candidate who offered a vision for job creation and would work to attract business from outside the state. He added that he thinks there are too many mandates and regulations that harm business, especially coming from the Department of Environmental Management and he wants a candidate who will work to reduce them.
Meanwhile, Johnston Democratic Committee Chairman Richard DelFino said that while no endorsements can be expected at this stage, the party is filled with outstanding people who can lead in all areas.