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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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