Portsmouth Town Council Member Jim Seveney posted a gracious letter of thanks after his narrow loss in the race for a partial term as the state senator for district 11, including a narrow strip of Tiverton, to Tiverton resident John Pagliarini. One paragraph, however, is worth clipping for reference because it so well illustrates the state of play in Rhode Island politics:
I also want to thank the many people and groups who supported my campaign. I thank my wife, Val, first and foremost; my campaign team for their hard work; the Democratic Town Committees from Portsmouth, Bristol and Tiverton for their strong support; RI Progressive Democrats and the RI Young Democrats who helped us so much with calling and knocking on doors; Rhode Island’s organized labor, including the AFL-CIO, the NEA, the RI Federation of Teachers and all their affiliates; the Rhode Island Democratic Party, Annie Pease for her expert problem solving; Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed, Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, and Whip Maryellen Goodwin who provided great support and advice; my friends Sen. Lou DiPalma, Rep. Jay Edwards, Rep. Dennis Canario, Rep. Ray Gallison, Rep. Ken Marshall, and Sen. Wally Felag; and many thanks to US Senator Jack Reed and Governor Gina Raimondo for their efforts on my behalf.
Democrats, progressives, organized labor of various stripes, plus top politicians at the state and even federal levels. On the other side? Small, relatively disorganized groups of grassroots activists with significantly less personal interest in controlling the levers of government.
Those who long for a different approach (and different results) in town and state politics should consider this imbalance each and every time they decide to take some action… or (more often) not to take any action. For every reason not to get involved, there is at least one reason to get involved, chief among them the army of self-interested activists pulling on the other side of the rope.