November 27, 2014
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AARP members planning meet & greet candidates for Thursday
Beacon photo
PLANNERS: Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson, Charles Dress and Verteal Patterson, all members of AARP, are organizing Thursday’s meet and greet the candidates at Buttonwoods Community Center.

Pictures and stories about them have been in the newspapers, television and on the Internet. They’ve been interviewed and many have already met for debates. But so far, at least locally, not all the state general office candidates – Democrats and Republicans – have been invited to gather at a single event.

That gathering will take place this Thursday at the Buttonwoods Community Center at 5 p.m.

As the organizers explain, this will be a “meet and greet,” where attendees will get the opportunity to talk with the candidates face to face, hear them each give a five-minute summary of their candidacies and answer questions from the audience.

But while open-ended, Verteal Patterson expects the candidates to touch on issues of relevance to the elderly and AARP. A member of AARP, Patterson was active in a local chapter. Local chapters have been disbanded, so Patterson is working with an AARP “community group” to pull together Thursday’s event.

Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson has taken on the task of contacting and following up with the candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, general treasurer, secretary of state and attorney general. Getting commitments has been challenging, and it’s unlikely all the candidates will turn out.

Vella-Wilkinson is looking forward to hearing what the candidates have to say about Warwick.

“This is totally non-partisan,” she emphasizes. “They’ll get to see the candidates up close and talk with them over a cup of coffee.”

The event is free and is expected to last no more than two hours.

As of yesterday afternoon, all candidates had been contacted with confirmed attendees including Clay Pell (democratic candidate for governor), Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, Ernie Almonte (candidate for general treasurer), Nellie Gorbea (candidate for secretary of state), Seth Magaziner (candidate for general treasurer) and Cumberland mayor Daniel McKee (candidate for lieutenant governor).


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