Profiling legislative hopefuls; candidates tout endorsements

Posted 7/31/20

Potter seeks District 16 seat Brandon Potter, a candidate associated with the Rhode Island Political Cooperative, is among the progressive hopefuls challenging Democratic incumbents for legislative seats across the state. "e;We have a serious problem in

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Profiling legislative hopefuls; candidates tout endorsements


Potter seeks District 16 seat

Brandon Potter, a candidate associated with the Rhode Island Political Cooperative, is among the progressive hopefuls challenging Democratic incumbents for legislative seats across the state.

“We have a serious problem in our House leadership and there needs to be a change of culture at the Statehouse,” Potter said in an announcement of his Democratic candidacy for the House District 16 seat last month. “People need a government that works for them, not corporate lobbyists and the wealthy, well-connected. Unfortunately my opponent has shown his loyalty is to the Speaker of the House even as he’s embroiled in scandal and corruption. In the midst of a healthcare and economic crisis like we’ve never seen before, we need bold leadership now more than ever, and I look forward to giving the people of District 16 an opportunity to decide who will best represent their interests.”

Potter is seeking to unseat Rep. Chris Millea, who has represented District 16 since 2018.

Republican Maryann Lancia – the wife of Robert Lancia, who represented District 16 from 2015 to 2019 before being defeated by Millea and is now running for Congress – will face the winner on the November general election ballot.

Potter, 35, is a lifelong resident of Cranston and attended the city’s public schools, graduating from Cranston High School West. He attended the Community College of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College.

He was employed as a sales manager for The Herb Chambers Companies until his store was permanently closed as a result of the pandemic in March, according to his announcement.

Potter recently received the endorsement of Our Revolution Rhode Island, the local chapter of a national network affiliated with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. He has also received the backing of Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Political Cooperative is an “affiliation of candidates united in a common platform,” according to Potter’s announcement.

“Brandon is committed to fighting for strict government ethics, a single-payer healthcare system, and environmental, economic, and racial justice,” it reads.

Baginski poised to succeed Jacquard

The constituents of House District 17 will soon have a new representative at the General Assembly.

Jacqulyn Baginski, 34, is the sole candidate to have qualified for the seat, which is being vacated by retiring Rep. Robert Jacquard.

“I have always been interested in helping people and improving our community. I have a strong interest in public policy and have been involved helping others seek office over the years,” Baginski said in a statement last month announcing her candidacy. “This year the challenges we are all facing from keeping ourselves and families safe and healthy to the crumbling of our economy and loss of jobs made me decide it is time to run for office myself to best serve others. I am fortunate to have the time and supports to give back to our community and I will be reaching out to you to hear your thoughts and concerns.”

According to her announcement Baginski has spent the last 10 years working as director of business development for her family’s business, Professional Ambulance.

“A small business-owner, Baginski has been active in numerous professional associations as well as local philanthropic organizations,” the announcement reads. “She has served on the Executive Leadership Team of the RI chapter of the American Heart Association, and she volunteers her time teaching the lifesaving tool, CPR to local youth.”

Baginski also served as the campaign manager for Democratic Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon’s successful 2018 run.

Endorsements made in Democratic mayoral race

Two of the Democratic candidates to succeed Mayor Allan Fung announced new endorsements for their campaigns earlier this week.

Maria Bucci, a former Ward 4 member of the Cranston City Council, has received the backing of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women. The organization announced its support for Bucci, as well as several other local candidates, on Monday.

“Proud to receive the endorsement of my campaign for Mayor of Cranston from RI NOW … Looking forward to working together,” Bucci wrote in a message shared on her Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Ward 3 Councilman Donegan on Monday announced his endorsement of Citywide Councilman Steve Stycos for mayor

“Steve has a great record of standing up for ethical government, supporting working families, protecting our environment, advocating for our schools, and tackling quality of life issues that impact our neighborhoods,” Donegan said in a statement. “He is an honest and genuine person with integrity, and someone who cares deeply about building our community together. Steve has the experience and vision to lead our city going forward, and I fully support him to be the next mayor of Cranston.”

Adam Carbone has also qualified for the Democratic mayoral primary ballot. Voters will decide on the party’s nominee during the Sept. 8 primary.

Endorsements from RI NOW, Planned Parenthood Votes!

In Cranston, RI NOW has endorsed several other Democratic candidates, including Ward 1 Councilwoman Lammis Vargas, Ward 2 Councilwoman Aniece Germain, Donegan and citywide candidate Dylan Zelazo.

Neither Vargas nor Donegan is opposed in this year’s election, while Germain – who was appointed Monday to fill the remainder of the term left open by Paul McAuley’s recent resignation – is set to face Republican Zac Sailer for a full term in November.

On the legislative side, RI NOW endorsed state Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28), state Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18) and state Rep. Joseph McNamara (D-Dist. 19). Handy is unopposed for reelection, while Miller faces a challenge from independent Robert Schattle in November. McNamara faces a primary challenge from Stuart Wilson, with the winner set to square off against independent Patrick Maloney Jr. on the November ballot.

Another organization, Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island, also recently endorsed several local General Assembly candidates, including Handy, McNamara and Miller.

In House District 16, the organization is backing Brandon Potter in his Democratic primary challenge to incumbent Rep. Chris Millea. The organization is also supporting Democratic Rep. David Bennett, who is seeking reelection to his District 20 seat without opposition.

Planned Parenthood Votes! is additionally backing Kendra Anderson in the Democratic primary for the District 31 state Senate seat being vacated by Erin Lynch Prata. The crowded Democratic primary for that seat includes Brian Dunckley, Michael Mita and Warwick City Council President Steve Merolla. John Silvaggio and Scott Zambarano will face off in the Republican primary for the seat.

Miller backs Zelazo

Democratic City Council candidate Dylan Zelazo has received the endorsement of another state legislator.

In a statement Tuesday, Zelazo announced that Cranston state Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28) is backing his bid for one of the council’s three citywide seats.

Zelazo and three other Democratic hopefuls – School Committee member Paul Archetto, Jessica Marino and Jarry Warner – are vying for the three available slots on the November ballot. Miller has also endorsed Warner.

“The City of Cranston needs leaders who will focus on the needs of residents,” Miller said in the announcement. “Dylan Zelazo is a committed public servant and knows what it takes to run a city well. He has my endorsement and support because I know he’ll work everyday for Cranston’s best interests. Dylan Zelazo is an ideal candidate for Citywide City Council. I ask the voters of Cranston to consider voting for Dylan, as he will help make our future even brighter.”

“I thank Senator Miller for his endorsement,” Zelazo said. “His leadership at the State House makes a real difference. Senator Miller is a small business owner and a true public servant. He knows what it takes to help make our community better, and I am honored to have his support.”

Zelazo has previously received the endorsement of state Sen. Hanna Gallo (D-Dist. 27), state Rep. Chris Millea (D-Dist. 16) and Ward 1 Councilwoman Lammis Vargas.


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