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PowerPlayer: Anthony DeRose, Chairman of the Democratic LGBTQ Caucus

Monday, July 23, 2012


This week’s PowerPlayer is Anthony DeRose, chairman of the Democratic Party’s LGBTQ caucus. Mr. DeRose was kind enough to chat with GoLocalProv about political strategy and his goals for the upcoming elections.

1) You’re the head of the Democratic Party’s LGBTQ caucus, but the Party still has plenty of office holders who do not support same-sex marriage. How do you toe the Party line while also trying to elect candidates that support marriage equality?

Easy - As Chairman, I will work hard to get the Rhode Island Democratic Party to add marriage equality as a plank in the party platform. Democrats need to start towing the party line when it comes to social issues and stop being beholden to outside interest groups in Rhode Island. We're only one of two New England states that don't support the rights of the LGBTQ community to marry. The Democratic National Committee is only steps away from adding Same-Sex Marriage to the National Party platform. It's about time here in Rhode Island that we do the same. The Rhode Island Democratic LGBTQ Caucus will only support Democrats who not only support marriage equality, but who are a voice for it on both Smith Hill and Capitol Hill. We can no longer afford to sit back and watch. We need Democrats who are going to stand up and fight for our rights. Democrats have always been at the forefront of protecting the rights of minorities. And, this is no different and it's time to get this done.

2) You briefly considered running for State Rep. earlier this year. What made you decide to play a more behind the scenes role instead?

Being behind the scenes gives me a bigger voice as an activist within the community. It will give me the chance to provide a voice and representation on a full range of issues facing the Rhode Island Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer communities both through and within the Rhode Island Democratic Party. However, if an opportunity comes up and it's what is best for the community and for me, then I will consider running for office again in the future.

3) Take us through a day in your life.

Every morning I start the day off with a morning walk with my dog, Kennedy, while checking e-mails on my iPhone. Once I get back to my home office, I check the daily news blogs and respond to important e-mails and phone calls. Since, I am an entertainer and also serve as the Vice President of the Rhode Island Pride Committee, as well as serving as Chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party's LGBTQ Caucus, there is always enough to keep me quite busy with meetings, events and fundraisers and research until late in night. It's not election season unless you're having a 3 a.m. phone call with a political operative or making strategic political moves before the rest of Rhode Island wakes up. On the average day, I am dealing with different issues on a few different campaigns and meeting with other political colleagues about important races that will have a strong impact on the passage of a Same Sex Marriage Bill in 2013.

4) What are your top three goals for the 2012 elections?

1. Achieving a pro-equality majority in the General Assembly through electing Pro-LGBTQ Democrats.

2. To have marriage equality added as a plank to the Rhode Island Democratic Party's Party Platform.

3. Pass a bill in 2013 that would give Same-Sex couples the right to marry here in Rhode Island.

5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.

Although I have blended in to the uniqueness that is Rhode Island, I am originally from California. I was born out there and then moved to Massachusetts with my family when I was 4. Growing up, I was always involved in politics including working and volunteering on several campaigns. I mean, I was the only kid in elementary school with a Dukakis/Bentsen sticker on their lunchbox. I have since moved here to Rhode Island and happy to make it my home.

Quick Hitters

Role Model: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, Lyndon B. Johnson and my father, Francis.

Favorite Restaurant: Opa Le Phoenican on Federal Hill

Best Beach: Herring Cove in Provincetown, MA or Misquamicut in Westerly, RI

Best Book You’ve Read in the Last Year: Man of the House: The Life and Political Memoirs of Speaker Tip O'Neill

Advice for the Next Anthony DeRose: Always listen to your heart and never let down on your principles. If you can't stand up for your principles, then what is there left to stand up for.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dmcgowan@golocalprov.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan


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