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Endorsed candidates pledge to champion sexual and reproductive health and rights and continue the progress made in advancing reproductive freedom in Rhode Island

(Providence, RI) — Today, Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island Political Action Committee (PPV!RI PAC) announced the list of endorsed primary candidates for the Rhode Island General Assembly during the 2020 election. These 51 candidates (17 in the Rhode Island Senate and 34 in the Rhode Island House of Representatives) support reproductive rights and access to sexual and reproductive health care. 

“This is a crucial election year, and Planned Parenthood patients rely on us to protect and expand access to essential sexual and reproductive health care,” said Amanda Skinner, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island and member of the PAC. “So much is at stake in 2020. Federal assaults on our rights and unrelenting attacks from the Trump-Pence administration demonstrate the critical role state policies play in safeguarding sexual and reproductive health and rights for all Rhode Islanders.”

2019 was a landmark year for reproductive rights in Rhode Island. Among other advancements, the historic passage of the Reproductive Privacy Act (RPA) protected the right to safe, legal abortion in Rhode Island state law against possible federal challenges to Roe v. Wade. This year, in deciding to endorse candidates for the 2020 General Assembly elections, PPV!RI PAC looked at many factors: the current political landscape, legislative priorities, candidates’ records on issues, and the momentous undertaking of bringing the RPA to a vote. Taking those actions into account, the PAC declined to endorse challengers running against the three top leadership incumbents in each chamber nor against an incumbent who voted ‘yes’ on the RPA.

The people of Rhode Island overwhelmingly support protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights. Since 2016, PPV!RI PAC has helped elect 15 new voices and support more than 30 incumbents in state elections. This includes a record number of women elected to the General Assembly — thanks, in part, to the efforts of the PAC, 36% of representatives and 42% of senators are women. PPV!RI PAC-endorsed candidates were crucial to passing the RPA in 2019; 17 PAC-endorsed champions elected since 2016 helped secure the four-vote margin of victory in the Senate and the 16-vote margin of victory in the House.

“We have made tremendous progress together — not only in passing the Reproductive Privacy Act, but also expanding access to contraception and organizing to protect the rights of Rhode Island’s immigrant communities and residents with disabilities. These achievements, and many others, are thanks to the election of our champions in both houses of the General Assembly,” said Skinner. “We still have work to do, and we need these candidates to help us advance reproductive freedom in Rhode Island.”

Legislative priorities include passing the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act to eliminate harmful bans that prevent more than 300,000 Rhode Islanders enrolled in Medicaid and state employees from using their insurance to cover abortion; codifying the essential health benefits of the Affordable Care Act in state law; and providing Medicaid and private insurance coverage for perinatal doula services to help reduce Black maternal mortality and improve birth outcomes. Elected officials who support reproductive health and rights are critical to ensuring these important victories.

THE 2020 GENERAL ASSEMBLY CANDIDATES RECEIVING AN ENDORSEMENT FROM PPV!RI PAC:

Rhode Island Senate:

Gayle Goldin* (District 3)
Samuel Bell* (District 5)
Tiara Mack (District 6)
Sandra Cano* (District 8)
James Seveney* (District 11)
Dawn Euer* (District 13)
Valarie Lawson* (District 14)
Meghan Kallman (District 15)
Ryan Pearson* (District 19)
Melissa Murray* (District 24)
Joshua Miller* (District 28)
Mark McKenney* (District 30)
Kendra Anderson (District 31)
Cynthia Armour Coyne* (District 32)
Bridget Valverde* (District 35)
Alana Dimario (District 36)
V. Susan Sosnowski* (District 37)


Rhode Island House of Representatives:

Edith H. Ajello* (District 1)
Christopher Blazejewski* (District 2)
Moira Walsh* (District 3)
Rebecca Kislak* (District 4)
Marcia Ranglin-Vassell* (District 5)
John Lombardi* (District 8)
Anastasia Williams* (District 9)
Brandon Potter (District 16)
Arthur Handy* (District 18)
Joseph McNamara* (District 19)
David Bennett* (District 20)
Evan Shanley* (District 24)
Nicholas Delmenico (District 27)
Justine Caldwell* (District 30)
Julie Casimiro* (District 31)
Carol Hagan McEntee* (District 33)
Teresa Ann Tanzi* (District 34)
Kathleen Fogarty* (District 35)
Megan Cotter (District 39)
Melinda Lopez (District 43)
John Lyle, Jr.* (District 46)
Jean Philippe Barros* (District 59)
Karen Alzate* (District 60)
Leonela Felix (District 61)
|Katherine Kazarian* (District 63)
Brianna Henries (District 64)
Liana Cassar* (District 66)
Jason Knight* (District 67)
June Speakman* (District 68)
Susan Donovan* (District 69)
Michelle McGaw (District 71)
Terri Cortvriend* (District 72)
Deborah Ruggiero* (District 74)
Lauren Carson* (District 75)


*indicates candidate is the incumbent

Depending on the outcome of primary races, PPV!RI PAC may also issue additional endorsements for the
general election.

Primary elections will be held on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

For more information about Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island and the Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island PAC, visit ppvotes.org

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