Interviewing the Candidates for RI GOP Chair

At the meeting of the East Bay Republicans this past Saturday, I was able to do a quick interview with the two candidates for State Republican Party Chairman, Patrick Sweeney and Ken McKay. The new Chairman will be chosen at the statwide party convention on March 19.

Question: If any Republican Party members with a vote at the convention were to read an interview with you at Anchor Rising, what would be your pitch about your bid to become chair?

Ken McKay: “This is a passion of mine and a true belief that this state is at a crisis…if you want to be a leader, you throw your hat in the ring when there’s a crisis. I’ve done it in the past, and I have experience with running campaigns and winning…”Audio: 22 sec

Patrick Sweeney: “I think Rhode Island is at a breaking point, and the party needs to inject some youth and experience and show why Republicans are better for them in the General Assembly than Democrats are…The Governor is out of touch with the constituents and we need to define ourselves as the party for lower taxes, free enterprise and smaller government. “Audio: 38 sec

Question: Change versus continuity with the current party leadership of Gio Cicione — what needs to be continued, and what needs to be done differently?

Patrick Sweeney: “We’re going to go into a transition and witness some new people and some new ideas…” Audio: 19 sec

Ken McKay: “Every organization at points of transition…should review everything it does from the ground up and change what’s appropriate, so I’m all for a fresh look at new ideas, but that has nothing to do with the past. That’s what everybody should do for the future. I don’t liken that to any problem that’s existed in the past…” Audio: 36 sec

Question: The get-out-the vote effort is a very important part of running a political party. Does the Rhode Island Republican party need an infusion of money to set up a proper GOTV effort, or is it a matter of organizing the resources that are already here?

Ken McKay: “…the practical part about politics is that you can’t get one piece of a political campaign without all of the other pieces operating…you can’t get the money unless you’re marketing the message and you can’t market a message without the money, so you have to use what you have. What we have right now is a ton of people who are interested, a lot of energy on the ground, and the question is can we organize them…can we start defining the differences between Republicans and Democrats. I think we can, and once we do, then money will come…” Audio: 1m 8 sec

Patrick Sweeney: “I think it’s a matter of organization. We have the technology. We have the individuals. We’ve just got to execute…we’re going to get in there, we’re going to make the phone calls, we’re going to identify our voters, and that’s the only way we’re going to be able to change Rhode Island”.Audio: 26 sec

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