Rhode Island Democratic Party has launched a monthly cable television program, “Democrats Discuss,” featuring prominent leaders in the Democratic Party and discussing political issues and how voters can engage.
The program began airing Friday, July 25, on statewide Interconnect C and featured party chairman, Rep. Joseph McNamara as moderator, and guests Michael Burk, president of the Rhode Island Association of Democratic City and Town Chairs, and Robert Johnson, first vice president of that group. The episode, “City and Town Political Structure,” talked about the role of city and town committees and ward committees; the statewide association and its involvement with national, state and local campaigns; and current efforts and importance of getting voters involved politically.
“This program is a great opportunity to engage Democratic voters and those who want to learn more about or participate in our Party,” said McNamara. “Cable television continues to be a significant medium by which we can reach, educate and involve voters in party and governmental activities – as voters and maybe as candidates themselves.”
As the program is being carried on public access TV, there is no cost according to Ann Gooding at Democratic Party offices in Warwick.
“We are thrilled to be able to share our story about Democratic Party politics on the ground level,” said Burk. “We have a proud organization of dedicated community leaders and supporters, and we want to continue to involve our many city and town residents in our campaigns and in public office: this program will help us to reach those we might not otherwise reach.”
“Party structures and success are built on the shoulders of those who came before us,” said Johnson. “I’m relatively new to this organization – ten years,” he jokes. “It’s time for a new generation of Democrats to know they can and will make a real difference in this world, if they get involved.”
The half-hour program airs statewide every Friday at 9 p.m. on Interconnect C - Cox channel 15 and Verizon channel 34; Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. on Verizon 31; and on Cox channel 18 (viewable in the cities of Warwick, West Warwick, Coventry, Exeter, North Kingstown, West Greenwich and East Greenwich.)
Next month’s program will be taped Aug. 25, and include guests Rep. Marvin Abney, Rep. Grace Diaz (chair and vice chair of the State Party’s Affirmative Action Committee,) and Jeffrey Padwa, state Deputy Treasurer and member of the Affirmative Action Committee.
They will discuss the upcoming 2016 Democratic Convention and the delegate selection process, to engage typically under-represented Democratic voters. The Democratic National Committee is asking all state parties to encourage women, African American, LGBTQ, youth, Hispanics, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, people with disabilities, and Native Americans, to run as delegates for the Democratic Convention, which will determine who the next presidential and vice presidential nominees will be. A timeline of activities is detailed in the Revised Delegate Selection Plan, and available online at www.ridemocrats.org/abouttheparty/Convention.
The party will host a series of regional workshops about the Delegate Selection Process throughout the month of September. Under the mandate of the DNC, that public outreach process must begin by September 15.
The next episode of “Democrats Discuss” will begin airing Friday, Aug. 28, on the same stations and times as the first show.