More Democrats oppose Mattiello for Speaker

By Tessa Roy, WPRO News

A number of Democratic representatives and candidates said on Monday they won’t support Nick Mattiello for another term as House Speaker if he wins reelection in his Cranston district.

The announcement comes one day before Election Day, and after four House Democrats distanced themselves from Mattiello in the past months. Mattiello has consistently defended himself as he’s been criticized for his handling of the legislative process, the PawSox, and recent sexual harassment claims against a now-former head of a prominent House committee.

Those signed on to the statement are Rep.Edith Ajello, Rep. Joseph Almeida, Laufton Ascencao, Rep. Lauren Carson, Liana Cassar, Terri Cortvriend, Rep. Susan Donovan, Rep. Kathleen Fogarty, Rep. Raymond Hull,  Rebecca Kislak, Rep. Jason Knight, Rep. John Lombardi, Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, Rep. Mary Messier, Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, Rep. Deborah Ruggiero, Rep. Teresa Tanzi, and Rep. Moira Walsh.

“This is not a progressive issue or a conservative issue; this is a leadership issue. The abuse of power and the bullying are unacceptable regardless of your political ideology,” said Ruggiero.

“This is more than just the PawSox bill; it’s also about keeping the Pawtucket Reps in the dark about the changes to the bill,” echoed Messier. “It’s the lack of respect in not communicating and putting important bills on the House floor in the final days of the legislative session.”

Mattiello’s campaign spokeswoman Patti Doyle noted that not all of the Democrats listed are in office and that some face “difficult challenges” come Election Day.

“Even using the math of the opposition, this confirms what Speaker Mattiello has been saying all along: he has more than enough votes to comfortably be re-elected as Speaker.  A study of the names will show these are ultra-progressives who are not good for the state’s economy,” she said in a statement. “Speaker Mattiello will have a strong team that continues to focus on jobs and the economy and move our state forward.”

Mattiello is facing Republican challenger Steve Frias, who he narrowly beat in 2016. If he’s reelected, Mattiello plans to caucus with House Democrats to keep his post as Speaker in the following days.