Yesterday over at RI Future, in response to some pretty hardcore comments from Representative Spencer Dickinson after he didn’t get the Young Democrats endorsement, I pointed out that Rep. Dickinson refused to submit the Young Democrats of Rhode Island endorsement questionnaire.
Lest anyone think Dickinson was the only legislator to shoot us down, I submit the following email, sent to me on July 27 in response to an invitation to the fill out our survey:
As and a member of the Democrat party for over 50 years, and a Democrat member of the House of Representatives for the last fourteen- (14) years, I find it despicable that you would even ask me to complete a questionnaire for your endorsement.
Haven’t you read about, or heard in the media how the House of Representatives has new leadership that has as its top priorities moving the economy of Rhode Island forward and creating jobs. In 12 weeks we enacted an 8.7 billion dollar budget that will put people in our State back to work while expanding opportunities for students at our university and colleges.
I refuse to complete your questionnaire
“Despicable,” this Rep writes, before outlining the talking points that we Young Democrats were supposed to be sticking to. There’s a subtext of “Here’s the party line—didn’t you kids get the memo?” But my favorite part is the (inadvertent?) use of the pejorative “Democrat Party.”
I won’t identify exactly which Rep this was from, because that would be tacky, right? I’ll just say that this individual is a member of Speaker Mattiello’s newly minted Leadership Team and faces no opponent in either the primary or the general election this year. Which I guess is good for him/her, since s/he clearly isn’t into the whole “accountability” thing.
Look, I definitely never expected that all (or even most) of the General Assembly candidates we sent our questionnaire to would seek our endorsement. We sent it to as many candidates as we could. Some candidates we definitely missed, and for that I apologize. But the sitting Reps and Senators were the easiest ones to get it to, so every elected Democrat in the state legislature got the link to our survey, whether they faced a challenger in 2014 or not.
Some legislators submitted questionnaires, even some without opponents. Most just didn’t reply at all. At least one politely and respectfully told me he never fills out questionnaires under any circumstances. But the Rep quoted above was the only one to go out of the way to make sure I knew how “despicable” it was that a public official be asked where s/he stands on issues.
JSYK, here are the questions we were asking.