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Top Political Operatives in the 1st Congressional District Race

Saturday, August 04, 2012


Every good campaign has a strong cast of characters behind the scenes. GoLocalProv breaks down the key players in the first Congressional district.

David Cicilline

Eric Hyers

Eric Hyers, a Massachusetts native, graduated from Skidmore College in 2006. Then, he started as a field organizer for candidate Kirsten Gillibrand in New York. He followed the race by driving to Iowa and Nevada to organize for John Edwards. In 2008, Hyers served as field director on a campaign for a progressive Democrat for Congress in Wyoming. Since 2008, he managed a state representative race in Virginia. Hyers was Cicilline’s campaign manager in 2010. Then, he worked in Connecticut until March 2011 as the Executive Director of the state's Democratic Party. He returned to Rhode Island to mange Cicilline's campaign. Hyers is thrilled to be back in Rhode Island running David’s reelect. Hyers is a big sports fan of the Bears and Cubs and three of his favorite things are his two cats, 90’s country music and old Bond movies. Hyers works for campaigns because he believes in the values of the Democratic Party and he enjoys working for candidates, who share similar values, work hard and run for the right reasons. Hyers is proud to be back working for Congressman David Cicilline.

Nicole Kayner

In 2006, Nicole Kayner got her start on a race against Senator Jon Kyl and she has been working on campaigns ever since. Kayner worked as a field organizer for John Edwards’ presidential race in 2007 and went to Nevada and Iowa to work for him. Then, she served as the outreach director for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ reelection in 2008. She also worked on a VA state rep race in 2009. Kayner was David’s deputy campaign manager in 2010 and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to work on his reelection bid. Kayner feels fortunate that she has the opportunity to spend everyday working for a Congressman who is committed to standing up for choice, women’s rights and the overall wellbeing of Rhode Islanders.

Ed Pacheco

Edwin Pacheco, born in 1981, is a former Democratic member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. After running for election in 2002, Pacheco was elected Vice Chair and then Chair of the Burrillville School Committee. In 2002, Pacheco decided to run a campaign for the District 47 (Burrillville – Glocester) seat in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Pacheco won both the democratic primary and general election. During his years on the Burrillville School Committee and as State Representative, Pacheco focused his work on bettering education, healthcare and the economy. He also successfully introduced legislation on campaign finance reform, health care reform, voter’s rights and job creation.

Representative Pacheco lives in Burrillville with his wife Claudia and their 15 month-old-daughter Savannah. Pacheco received a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from URI and he is attending Roger Williams University for his Masters in Public Administration. Pacheco is the Executive Director of Education in Action, a non-profit organization that provides learning opportunities for local school children. In May 2010, Pacheco was elected as Chairman of the Democratic Party in Rhode Island.

Brendan Doherty

Ian Prior

Ian Prior, born in 1977, is originally from East Greenwich. He graduated from Rocky Hill School in 1995. Prior attended Boston University and received a BA in History in 1999 and then he went right to BU Law and graduated in 2002. He also received a LLM in Banking and Financial Law from BU in 2009. Clerked for Chief Justice Frank Williams in 2002, he then worked at Edwards and Angell in Providence and Brown Rudnick in Boston. Then, he worked for the City of Boston litigating cases in Massachusetts state and federal courts. He had the opportunity to litigate 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendment cases and argued a seminal 1st Amendment case before the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.

In September 2011, Prior moved back to RI with his wife Elsie and he took a position at a small firm called Chisholm Chisholm and Kilpatrick. During that time, he became very active working for Doherty on a volunteer basis. Prior had always wanted to get involved in politics but he was never a big fan of the partisan party politics and the accompanying rhetoric. In Doherty, Prior saw someone who has own voice and can represent all Rhode Islanders- Democrat, Republican, and Independent. In April, Prior was named Doherty’s campaign manager.

Don Carcieri

Don Carcieri, the 73rd Governor of Rhode Island, was born and raised in East Greenwich. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in International Relations. Carcieri had worked as a high school math teacher, a banker and businessman. In 2002, Carcieri won the Republican primary over the endorsed candidate and then he defeated Democrat Myrth York in the general election. Carcieri was re-elected in 2006.

Carcieri receieved national recognition (and scorn) for being a conservative Governor in such a liberal state. In 2008, Governor Carcieri signed legislature to ensure the enforcement of federal immigration laws. In November 2009, Carcieri vetoed H 5294, which, if enacted, would have allowed domestic partners to oversee and care for a same-sex partner's funeral arrangements. In January 2010, the Legislature voted to override the veto. Another controversy occurred regarding Rhode Island facing a budget shortfall of $528 million. In an effort to shed $67.8 million, Governor Carcieri imposed 12 furlough days. Carcieri was an early supporter of Doherty.

Anthony Gemma

Michelle Place Gleason

Michelle Place Gleason, manager of Democrat Anthony Gemma’s 2012 congressional campaign, has had more than 25 years of behind-the-scenes experience in state Democratic politics. Ms. Place Gleason has a record of developing and growing grass roots non-profit groups. She is currently President of the Warwick Museum of Art, Chair of Warwick’s Ward 9 Democratic Committee, Executive Director of the Rhode Film Collaborative, organizer and committee member of Save the Bay’s fundraiser, and Board Member of Leuthi Peterson International Camps in Rhode Island and Switzerland. She has served as Learning Center Coordinator for Crossroads RI and Account Executive at Lighthouse Communications, and has delivered meals on a weekly basis for Meals on Wheels in Providence and in Australia. Ms. Place Gleason enjoys fundraising and event planning. Her cultural background combined with her expertise in communications, make her a strong leader for Gemma’s campaign. She was drawn to Gemma’s campaign because of his professionalism and personal integrity. Ms. Place Gleason is proud to be a part of Gemma for Congress, 2012.

Alex Morash

Alex Morash is Anthony Gemma’s Press Secretary and Communications Director. He joined Anthony Gemma’s 2010 Congressional campaign as Policy Researcher after her earned his Masters in Political Science from Northeastern University. Gemma asked Morash to return for his current campaign to oversee press, policy and communications. Morash specializes in campaign communications and strategy and political-economy-oriented public policy research. Prior to his work on Gemma’s campaign, Morash worked on numerous campaigns in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He has experience working as a research assistant for a government relations firm in Washington D.C. Morash is a strong advocate for GLBT youth. He has served on the Massachusetts Commission on GLBT Youth and chaired the commission’s committee on higher education. Morsah was eager to rejoin Gemma in part because of his dedication and work toward helping women battle breast cancer.


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Sorry, but Gemma's campaign has been incredibly amateurish, similar to the disaster he ran in 2010; Cicilline's campaign has been more structured but still off-message so far; and Doherty's has been run like all Republican campaigns: avoid honesty, parrot the daily Repub talking points, and try to avoid controversy.

Frankly, Cicilline deserves to be re-elected on the basis that RI needs a strong Democratic voice among all those Republican whack jobs in the U.S. House.

Comment #1 by Kerry Lassiter on 2012 08 05

Cicilini deserves to be reelected?

When you consider the fiscal mess of the city,
The schools are a mess, the roads are a mess,
He couldn't get an agreement with brown, etc

I went downtown last week and was amazed
At the progress in the last 2 years.

Ciccilini was in office 8 years....you really have to
Wonder what he was doing in those 8 years
Except running around telling everyone what a
Great job he was doing

He was and is a total fraud...wake up!!!

Comment #2 by jon paycheck on 2012 08 05

stfu kerry. it's clear that you are an idiot and rhode island has too many of them representing us already

Comment #3 by donatello gori on 2012 08 05

Gemma's newest enterprise: a reality show called RI Political Amateur Hour. From messaging to field organizing Gemma continues to fall short. Good guy without a clue.

Comment #4 by Edward Smith on 2012 08 05

Eric hyers should keep his video recorder in his pants,hes always filming everyone,video voyeurism! This is a campaign manager lol

Comment #5 by anthony sionni on 2012 08 06

Not a particularly auspicious group by any means.
Gemma continues to be the non-candidate. I had hoped for much better because, despite some blind loyalist's, most people I speak with do not believe he deserves re-election. But then again, this is RI.

Comment #6 by Harold Stassen on 2012 08 06

It's quite popular to give no credence whatsoever to non-party candidates. Notwithstanding this, my name is going to be on the ballot as an Independent for Rhode Island's First Congressional District on November 6th.

Call it naive (or whatever you wish), but I am not asking anyone for any money. In my view, the ability to raise money by spewing senseless platitudes and making empty promises has absolutely nothing to do with the ability to perform a public-service function in a competent, intelligent, and reasonable manner.

I am running as an Independent because, like so many people, I have become tired of complaining about government; the gridlock and rancor that now are the hallmarks of party politics have made a partisan congress unfit to serve this country.

As mentioned at the beginning of this comment, I understand that the "safe" thing to do is to ignore any non-party candidates. If people are happy with the direction and with the behavior of government, then there is no reason for them to think or to do anything differently. However, if folks truly are unhappy or dissatisfied, then perhaps it's time for people to re-think the methods of the past.

Comment #7 by David Vogel on 2012 08 06

@ Sionni- As much as I dislike Hyers at least he has experience winning for elections. Does anyone on your staff? No they don't. Again find me around 10pm on Primary Day, as I will be the one saying I told you so.

Comment #8 by Blais Hazelwood on 2012 08 09

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