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Top Female Political Consultant Coyne-McCoy Blasts Sexual Harassment “Commission”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

 

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Coyne-McCoy

Leading political consultant Kate Coyne-McCoy is blasting the announcement by Speaker Nick Mattiello's office that legislation to create a "study commission" on sexual harassment will be introduced next session, in light of allegations -- of an unnamed perpetrator in leadership at the General Assembly --  by Representative Teresa Tanzi.

"I'm so pissed off," said Coyne-McCoy on Tuesday evening, following a series of Tweets. "Two legislators have come forward, and one legislator accusing another -- and we're supposed to let this go? What are we paying them for? They're going to establish a commission to study this? When's that ever worked?"

Earlier on Tuesday, the Rhode Island Republican Party called for an investigation into the matter -- which Coyne-McCoy, the staunch Democrat, echoed. 

"In the wake of the allegations by Rep. Tanzi, Republican National Committeewoman Lee Ann Sennick commented, 'It is incumbent upon the leadership of the RI General Assembly to take action and fully investigate this matter and pursue all means to ensure that this abhorrent practice is not perpetuated.  Anything less is a disservice to the people of our state'," stated the GOP in a release. 

Coyne-McCoy, who GoLocal dubbed one of the state's "Most Politically Powerful" in 2017, said she agreed. 

Rep. Tanzi

"I'm with them - and I hate to be with the GOP on anything. Just today, another [Hollywood executive] resigned," said Coyne-McCoy, of Amazon Studios' Roy Price stepping down amidst sexual harassment allegations. "You cannot be a sexual harasser in 2017 and get away with it...unless, apparently, you're in Rhode Island."

As GoLocal wrote, "Coyne-McCoy, who once ran for Congress, [was] a strong political organizer for EMILY’s List, a proven fundraiser for Raimondo’s PAC, strong with the media, and is a top lobbyist. She manages to balance being a partisan with her all-around effectiveness. Coyne-McCoy can do it all."

Mattiello's Response

While Coyne-McCoy was rising questions about the House leadership's response, the Speaker's office was refusing to answer questions about when Mattiello learned of the alleged harassment and what actions did take, if any, after learning of the allegations. "Speaker Mattiello directs you to Rep Tanzi for details about the incident," said Larry Berman, spokesman to Mattiello. GoLocal repeatedly followed up with the Speaker's office not on the alleged incident, but on Mattiello's reaction and response, Berman repeatedly directed GoLocal to Tanzi.

Statements

Tanzi and Mattiello issue the following joint statement on Tuesday afternoon.

“I commend Representative Tanzi for coming forward and discussing this troubling issue.  I know it was difficult for her and it took courage. The overwhelming majority of members of the House conduct themselves appropriately at all times. However, sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," said Mattiello. "I support Representative Tanzi’s efforts to introduce legislation in January to create a commission to review Rhode Island’s policies on sexual harassment.  Further, I will be contacting a human resources professional to provide training to House members and staff at the beginning of the next legislative session. I expect all Representatives and employees to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with a safe, respectful and productive workplace environment.”

Tanzi offered the following. 

“I was moved by the hundreds of thousands of women who have shared their stories about sexual harassment in the workplace.  Being in the public spotlight, I felt compelled to speak out to try to make a difference.  This is a watershed moment, and remaining silent would only preserve the status quo. A very small minority of men are responsible for harassment in the workplace, and they must change. We know they will not do it on their own, so each of us bears the responsibility to speak out when we see or hear something that crosses a line. The onus is not on the person being harassed; that responsibility rests with each of us," said Tanzi.

“Speaker Mattiello is committed to working with me and all women to ensure a better environment moving forward and I commend him for that.  He has asked me to chair a commission studying the issue of workplace harassment and assault, and I am grateful that he will also be providing training on this issue at the State House.  The only way to stop this is for all of us to work together.  I know this will not be changed in a day, or even a year, but the willingness of the House leadership to tackle this head-on gives me confidence that the chance I took in disclosing my experiences will result in significant change," said Tanzi. 

Editor's Note: A previous version indicated Coyne-McCoy is still with Emily's List; has been updated to reflect she is no longer. 

 

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Five-Tool Player

Kate Coyne-McCoy - In baseball, they call them all around superstars - five tool athletes.

McCoy, who once ran for Congress, is a strong political organizer for EMILY’s List, a proven fundraiser for Raimondo’s PAC, strong with the media, and is a top lobbyist.

She is manages to balance being a partisan with her all-around effectiveness. McCoy can do it all.

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Effective Insider

Lenny Lopes - Whether you’re looking for someone to navigate the halls of the State House, manage your public relations image, or execute a contract, Lopes can do it all.

The affable and well-liked former Chief of Staff to then-Attorney General Patrick Lynch (and prior to that, Legal Counsel to Lt. Governor Charlie Fogarty) had joined forces with Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West before striking out on his own with The Victor Group, taking on such heavyweight clients as Lifespan and online gaming behemoths Fanduel and DraftKings, and more niche healthcare accounts — including the medical marijuana Rhode Island Growers Coalition. 

Lopes was tapped this past spring following the tourism debacle by Havas PR to help navigate their way through the Rhode Island waters, and ultimately defend their performance and reputation to stave off their contract cancelation for now. If you’re hired to be a PR firm’s de facto PR brain, you must be on your game.
 

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Matt Lopes - With more than 20 different lobbying agreement Lopes has emerged as a premiere influencer in Rhode Island. His clients range from Dunkin’ Donuts to Amgen to the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.

While managing one of the biggest lobbying practices he is often on the West Coast -- he is a nationally recognized Special Master for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, overseeing prison reform and compliance.

He plays with the big boys on both coasts. Easy for a guy who was a star athlete in high school and at Dartmouth.

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Don Sweitzer - IGT (formerly GTECH) super lobbyist plays the game at most every level, with big ties to the Clinton organization that go all the way back to Sweitzer playing a key role with Clinton-Gore in 1992.

Sweitzer’s contacts span the political spectrum - despite his Democratic pedigree, don’t count him out if Donald Trump wins the Presidency as Sweitzer worked for Paul Manafort back in the early 1990s.

Reportedly, Raimondo asked him to serve as her chief of staff - he gracefully declined.

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Segal, Bell and Regunberg - These three young Brown grads are emerging as the leaders in progressive causes in Rhode Island and across the United States. David Segal, who served on the City Council in Providence and as a State Rep, failed in a 2010 effort for Congress losing to David Cicilline in the Democratic primary. 

In 2016, Segal along with Aaron Regunberg emerged as a powerful force in trying to kill of the Super-Delegate structure in the Democratic primary.

Sam Bell is leading a major effort to re-calibrate the Democratic party to the left the election season. We will know just how good Bell is after September 13’s Democratic primary - Bell is overseeing more than a dozen progressive candidates' campaigns.

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Only Ryan was not an elected official. Murphy ran the House for a decade, Goldberg had pulled off one of the greatest political coups when he lead a small band of GOP senators and split the Dems to take power, and Walsh was the almost Governor of Rhode Island in 1984. 

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Nicole Pollock - The new Chief-of-Staff for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza certainly has big shoes to fill, with the recent departure of both Chief Operating Officer Brett Smiley and outgoing Chief of Staff Tony Simon but Pollack has gotten off to a strong start.  Following the recent summit on Kennedy Plaza co-hosted former Mayor Joe Paolino and Elorza, Paolino told GoLocal, “[Elorza’s] new Chief of Staff, I’m very impressed with.”

Pollock had joined the administration in February 2015 as Chief Innovation Officer and then served as Chief of Policy and Innovation for the administration before being tapped for the top post. Pollock had previously served in a policy and communications role for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. A graduate of Brown University, Pollock currently serves on the Board of the West Broadway Neighborhood Association and the Providence Plan.

The city has no shortage of pressing issues to tackle, from devising a plan to handle the ongoing panhandling, homelessness, and drug use issues in Kennedy Plaza, to the ever-looming issue of the protracted legal battle with the Providence Firefighters that could have monumental financial implications for the city, depending on the outcome. 

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Emerging Star

Matt Bucci - The up-and-comer on Governor Raimondo’s staff was in the mix for Chief of Staff or another promotion this summer, but may chose to take his skills and join the world of lobbying or grab another private sector position.

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The former staffer to Senator Jack Reed is widely respected. Look for news about Bucci in the near future. Too talented to not make a leap soon. 

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Seasoned Pro

Chris Hunter - The strategy wunderkind has morphed into a well-established operative in his own right in veteran lobbyist Frank McMahon’s public affairs shop, Advocacy Solutions.   

The long-time government and public relations manager for the Providence Working Waterfront Alliance, Hunter is equally adept at the State House, having snagged emerging industry client Lyft and engaged in the hand-to-hand combat that comes with lobbying for the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools. 

Election seasons in particular are where Hunter’s know-how comes in handy, having managed a number of successful bond referendum in the state. Hunter is a constant presence networking around town, whether it’s hobnobbing with the Providence Committee on Foreign Relations or serving on host committees for key candidates - he’s the combination of both “who you know” and “what you know."
 

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Nick Hemond - None may be more unabashedly and relentlessly ambitious than Hemond, who landed as an associate at powerhouse DarrowEverett in 2014. 

The President of the Providence School Board lobbies at City Hall for high-profile real estate clients including Buff Chace and High Rock Management (i.e. the ownership of the Superman Building) and at the State House for labor interests (RI FOP, RI Carpenters Local Union 94), Big Health (the Hospital Association of Rhode Island) and rounding it out with such interests as AAA, the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, and infrastructure firm AECOM.

If that doesn’t sound like a full load, toss in a slew of crisis communications clients in the way of bars and clubs in varying degrees of trouble (read: stabbings, shootings) before the Providence Board of Licenses. Having so many fingers in so many pies (and some of which could appear somewhat conflicting) has raised eyebrows, but in the meantime if Hemond is winning, the checks keep coming. 
 

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Leo Skenyon - The seasoned political operative is the man behind the man. Serving as Chief of Staff to Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, Skenyon helped navigate a more than treacherous legislative session which saw Finance Chair Representative Ray Gallison resign, Representative John Carnevale found ineligible to run at his purported address in Providence, and a slew of financial and ethics issues for a number of Democrats. 

The Speaker however emerged from the session having tackled the thorny issue of community service grants, and what had seemed up until this year a nearly impossible task, putting ethics reform — and oversight of the Assembly by the Ethics Commission — before voters this November.

Skenyon has weathered many a political season before, having been the former Chief of Staff to then-Senate Majority Leader Jack Revens in the 1980s, and then a former top aide to Governor Bruce Sundlun and U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell.  Now, his boss faces both a Republican and Independent challenger in the general election in November.  
 
 

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Deep Pockets

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It was managing money that helped establish him on the map as a seasoned statewide political operative — he was the campaign manager for statewide operations for Raimondo when she ran for General Treasurer in 2010.  With a number of successes in business and on the Hill, keep an eye on Shekarchi's future plans. 

 
 

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