RI Democrats Set to Select New Chairman
Friday, April 30, 2010
Update: Amongst a packed room including local democratic activists and elected officials such as U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Ed Pacheco was voted as Chairman and Jeff Padwa was voted as Treasurer. Both votes were unanimous. Pacheco gave a powerful speech about the importance of getting the Democratic message to the grassroots and the importance of unity in this election year. He also said that two of his first acts will be to go to every city and town democratic meeting and listen to their concerns and needs as a local party as well as to plan a huge event in Congressman Kennedy's honor for his years of service. Surprisingly, Bill Lynch, the previous chairman of 12 years, was not present.
Original Post: The Rhode Island Democratic State Committee (disclosure: I am a member) will gather tonight at 7:00pm at the Asian Palace in Providence's Summit Neighborhood to vote on two important members of its leadership team: a party chairman and a party treasurer.
Pacheco is replacing Bill Lynch who stepped down from the position to run for Congress. And, Padwa is replacing John "Jack" McConnell, who was nominated by President Obama to be a federal judge in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island.
Pacheco and Padwa will bring a breath of fresh of air to the Democratic Party. Both have a keen understanding of both the grassroots and the netroots operation of politics. In other words, both understand the importance of getting people out into the streets, knocking on doors, registering voters and rebuilding the Democratic Party from the ground up. In addition, both are skilled in the uses of technology and will likely upgrade the Democratic Party's lackluster new media and Internet operation.
At 28 years old, Pacheco's story isn't your typical one in Rhode Island politics. He's always been the underdog and the over-achiever. After starting college at URI, Pacheco won a seat on the Burrillville School Committee and then proceeded to win the District 47 legislative seat (covering Burrillville and Glocester) where he ousted an incumbent Democrat by a surprising margin and became one of the youngest State Representatives in the history of Rhode Island. As a legislator, Pacheco championed legislation on campaign finance reform, health care reform, voter’s rights, and job creation. He has a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island and is attending Roger Williams University for his Masters in Public Administration. Currently, Pacheco is the Executive Director of Education in Action a non-profit organization that provides experiential learning opportunities for local school children focused on financial literacy, civics, and economics. Pacheco is married with a two year old daughter Savannah.
In many ways, Pacheco represents the future of the RI Democratic Party - young, ethnic, populist, ambitious, married to a Latina - and his appointment by new House Speaker Gordon Fox speaks volumes about the new Speaker's commitment to rebuilding the Party.