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PowerPlayer: GOP Executive Director Pat Sweeney

Monday, August 29, 2011


It’s too early to tell how Rhode Island Republicans will do at the polls next fall, but if they’re going to build any kind of momentum, GOP Executive Director Patrick Sweeney will need to be on top of his game.

Widely viewed as the future of the party, Sweeney’s job now is to get Republicans elected in 2012 – in the General Assembly and potentially, Congress. Sweeney was kind enough to chat with GoLocalProv and break down his strategy for getting that done over the next year.

1) You're the Executive Director of the Rhode Island GOP. What's the most important factor that goes into growing and strengthening the party?

Organization hands down. The RIGOP has been very fortunate to hold the Governor’s office for the last 22 of 26 years, however, it has been our double-edged sword, which led us to be a top-down party. Right now, Ken McKay and I are working on organizing like-minded conservatives at the local levels in order to win in 2012. This is truly going to be a grassroots, organic effort.

2) The perception is that some of the best Republicans in the state are the conservative Democrats. How can you attract those on-the-fence people that the GOP will not hurt them politically?

I believe that Rhode Island is a center-right state, but for some reason there is still a stigma with being a Republican. So it rests upon us to be better at messaging in order to convey our message of lower taxes, smaller government, and free enterprise. I want my children and grandchildren to be able to afford to stay in Rhode Island, but our previous and current General Assembly members are making that more and more impossible. Be that as it may, if someone believes in the same values that I do, they can be part of the team.

3) Take us through a day in your life.

I start the day early, try to get to the gym, and then comb through a handful of papers. Seeing that the GOP is limited in resources, Ken and I are the Communications, Strategy, Political, and Finance departments. Though some days are overwhelming, it is extremely rewarding and never monotonous. The day usually ends in a fundraiser or a meeting…and on rare occasions, I’m lucky enough to have dinner with my wife.

4) We talk so much about things going wrong in Rhode Island. What do you see that the state is doing right?

The conservative movement is mobilizing. Everywhere I go I hear people talk about what is wrong with the state, but the difference now is, people are getting involved. People are angry. People are motivated. Rhode Island is rated the worst state to do business, has the highest unfunded liability per capita, the 3rd highest unemployment rate, and is one of the highest taxed states in the country. Rhode Islanders have had enough. They are fighting for lower taxes, pension reform, and a better education for their children. “Business as usual” is over in Rhode Island. We deserve better.

5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I’m a quasi finish carpenter.

Quick Hitters

Role Model: My family (it would be detrimental to my health to narrow it to one)

Best Restaurant: Baccaro

Best Beach: Narragansett

Favorite Book You've Read This Year: Politics and Pasta

Advice For The Next Patrick Sweeney: “If you build it, they will come.”

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I know this gentleman and if there's a conservative gathering, meeting, fundraiser or press release, odds are overwhelmingly in favor that Pat Sweeney will be in attendance....or behind the event.

Pat Sweeney is GOP.

Comment #1 by Roland Lavallee on 2011 08 29

Fav book of year: Macaroni & BS !!..Pat is arrogant, liar, distortion & spin freak, kick em when they are down and a figment of his own imagination..yes lavallee..HE TRULY IS THE GOP...and you old man, can keep him

Comment #2 by Buc Kner on 2011 08 29

Why Buc Kner, that's very kind of you but see, the GOP is the gift to all of RI!

In case you weren't able to finish high school, proper names are always capitalized.

Comment #3 by Roland Lavallee on 2011 08 29

Still a stigma about being a Republican. Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Dick Cheney. The list could go on and on. Rhode Island is not Alabama or Texas. Rhode Islanders don't want to associate themselves with that brand of Republicanism. There once were people called Chafee or Rockefeller Republicans. No more. Killed off by the likes of Palin.

Comment #4 by Jonathan Flynn on 2011 08 29

Lavallee..use a Capital letter here: ______HOLE...I did go & graduate from a HS in RI..not quite the standard set for you in Central falls...truth hurts ..sorry ...you & Sweeney deserve each other...pitcher & catcher...since you area miserable old guy, hanging on to some GOP dream, I feel for you..I guess Rep Doreen hasn't done it for you

Comment #5 by Buc Kner on 2011 08 29

@Jonathan Flynn: I follow your message, but I can't help but wonder why Rhode Islanders remain content with the condition of their state's economy and job market in the name of not associating themselves with Republicans. Classic cutting off one's nose to spite their face.

Despite not being from here, it's plainly obvious to me that Rhode Island is not Texas - the Lone Star State's economy is growing! Some facts on Texas:

-Year-to-date job growth stands at 2.4 percent, double the national average. This job creation comes from strong hiring in the energy sector, which has seen 18.6 percent annualized year-to-date growth, and in manufacturing. Although job growth has been broad-based across most sectors, government jobs have fallen 0.14 percent year to date after rising during the recession and in 2010.

-Nonresidential real estate continues to improve, particularly for office and industrial markets, although retail remains weak. Beige Book contacts note improvements in the second quarter, and larger users of space are becoming more numerous. Some contacts predict office rent increases in the near term.

-The Dallas Fed’s Texas Leading Index, a composite of eight leading indicators, dipped in June (Chart 6). But the Bank’s forecast for job growth remains positive. Employment is expected to grow 2.5 percent in 2011. And while this prediction is slightly lower than previous estimates, this pace would still allow Texas to regain all the jobs it lost in the recession by October 2011.

Comment #6 by Jeff Lavery on 2011 08 29

Buc Kner continues his pattern of insulting anyone that is a Republican and spreading his hate-mongering throughout the golocal stories. It must be because the democrats have done such a great job in Rhode Island!

Comment #7 by guy smily on 2011 08 29

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