To the Editor:
Mark McKenney says I was wrong when I referred to him as a
“corporate lawyer.” (Oct. 25, “Carbone is Betraying his Party.”) I stand corrected. He is not employed by a corporation, rather he is a partner in a law firm that often works for corporations seeking to block payments to workers in Worker’s Compensation Court.
McKenney also says I am wrong when I say that the Warwick Democratic City Committee “recruited” him to run against the incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanine Calkin. I have no reason to doubt his honesty, so if he says the City Committee did not recruit him then it did not. Again, my apologies.
McKenney says that I am wrong when I say he is a conservative. I’m not ready to concede that. Is he in agreement with the Democratic Party
Platform on climate change, workers’ wages, and universal health care? Does he favor a woman’s right to choose abortion as the Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade? Only time will tell when he’s called upon to vote on these issues in the state senate.
The Democratic City Committee did endorse McKenney over the incumbent,
Senator Calkin, and that slight against a good, hard-working senator of integrity motivated me to run for mayor in the Democratic primary. Senator Calkin’s voting record proved that she was in agreement with the National Democratic Party platform on the above issues, yet the City Committee voted to throw her out in favor of a lawyer who generally represents corporations against working men and women.
You can’t hold a lawyer accountable for the sins of his clients; but the fact is, the General Assembly hosts lots of lawyers and mostly men. Senator Calkin is a working class woman who lives near me in a middle-class neighborhood. I really liked having a working class woman with Democratic values serve as our senator, and the City Committee betrayed Democrats when it shunned her to endorse (not recruit) this lawyer who often represents corporations (though is not an employee of them.)
McKenney says that I “betrayed” the Democratic Party when I announced my endorsement for Sue Stenhouse, the Republican candidate for mayor. But it was the Democratic Party that betrayed me - at the city level, when it endorsed McKenney over Calkin, and at the state level when it endorsed Michael Earnheart, a known Trump supporter, over Representative Moira Walsh, a woman and Democratic incumbent. Walsh earned the ire of party leaders Nick Mattiello and Warwick’s own Joe McNamara because she is refreshingly honest and, like Senator Calkin, true to the national Democratic platform - unlike the pro-gun, anti-choice Democratic leadership of this state.
McKenney says that some of my stances in the mayoral campaign, specifically opposing oil drilling off of our coast, were “pie-in-the-sky ideas” that were “out of place in a local race.” Yet he also says that in supporting Sue Stenhouse, a Republican, I am supporting “the party of Trump.” Trump is much farther removed from the mayoral race than is drilling off our coast, the local Democratic Committee that endorsed McKenney over Calkin, and the State Democratic Committee that endorsed Earnheart over Walsh. When I reject the Democratic Party locally I am rejecting the party of Mattiello and McNamara, and am embracing the party of Austin Levy and John Chafee, Republicans, and two of recent history’s best Rhode Islanders.
In November, I am rejecting Donald Trump and the party of Nick Mattiello.
I’m voting for Jim Langevin (tepidly) and for Sheldon Whitehouse
(enthusiastically.) I am also voting for Sue Stenhouse because unlike the acting mayor Sue is who she says is, lives where she says she lives, and she has political experience beyond the City Council.
In his farewell address, George Washington warned against the proliferation of party politics, saying “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”
And on his first tour of the United States, Charles Dickens described “the intrusion of the most pitiful, mean, malicious, creeping, crawling, sneaking party spirit into all transactions of life.”
Going forward, I will draw from the wisdom of Washington and Dickens and avoid swearing an oath to party lest I bring mean, malicious, creeping, crawling, sneaking party spirit upon my community and our country. I will no longer identify as Blue, or Red, so that I may better serve the red-white-and blue. I will not vote for a color but from conscience. I will vote not for party but for people, good people such as Sue Stenhouse. For the good of Warwick I urge every city voter, regardless of party, to do the same.
Mr. Carbone ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for mayor in the September Democratic primary.