Democrat Pacheco Lays Out Plans For 2014 Secretary of State Run

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


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Democrat Ed Pacheco left his party leadership post recently to begin a run for Secretary of State in 2014.

The 2014 field for Rhode Island Secretary of State grows with the addition of well-known Democratic operative Ed Pacheco, who recently resigned his position as Chairman of the Democratic Party in Rhode Island to pursue the office. He has, thus far, made a soft announcement of his candidacy. He said that he will be making his official announcement this fall and that he is now focusing on putting together his campaign team.

Ed Pacheco

Prior to his Chairmanship, Pacheco was a State Representative from the 47th District – Burrilville. Pacheco began his political career in 2001 when he was elected to fulfill an unexpired term for the Burrillville School Committee. After running for election in 2002, he received the most votes out of fourteen candidates and was subsequently elected Vice Chair, then Chair of the committee. In his resignation letter as Chair of the Democratic Party, Pacheco wrote, “Much has been accomplished, but the work goes on. Rhode Island still faces difficult times and it will be up to all of us to work together and meet those challenges head on. Like you, I remain steadfast in my belief that Rhode Island will be stronger when we expect not only more of those around us, but also of ourselves.”

“Throughout my life I have always felt a commitment to public service," Pacheco told GoLocalProv. "Whether engaging high school students to support a write campaign for town council, taking on the establishment by running for state office, or shouldering the democratic ideals of the Democratic Party; I have always maintained a commitment to ensure a better Rhode Island."

Pacheco cited what he called "firsthand knowledge" of what it is like to struggle and how easy it would be to just give up. "But I, like many Rhode Islanders never lost faith as I strived to overcome adversity. With the help of Section 8, food stamps, a Pell grant, public education and hard work I have had the opportunity to live the American Dream. Through public service I want to ensure that dream is within reach for each and every Rhode Islander.”

Voting rights top priority

Pacheco, who claimed no higher aspirations than the state's #3 post, said his focus for the office will be on voting rights. “In the 21st Century it is the responsibility of government to enact policies that maintain the integrity of our elections while providing accessibility to all," he said. "This can be accomplished by enacting in-person early voting, increasing the number of polling locations, providing education to poll workers, and appropriating the necessary resources for up-to-date voting software and equipment. Additionally, both the Secretary of State's office and the Board of Elections must work in tandem to provide a fluid system surrounding our elections. That is why as Secretary I will propose that the Secretary of State serve as a member, or be given the responsibility to appoint the members, of the Board of Elections. To achieve complete accountability there must be greater cooperation between the Board of Elections and Secretary of State.”

Pacheco also will propose reforms in the state's handling of businesses. “With our economy continuing to struggle, it is imperative for our elected leaders to do everything within their power to help start-up-businesses while assisting those companies already in existence," he said. "The Secretary of State's office is a key component to our economy's success and that is why as Secretary I will enact policies to streamline processes in order to assist Rhode Island’s business community. Specifically, I will propose policies aimed at supporting small business by helping them cut through 'red tape', and coordinate available private and public assets. As an executive director of a local not-for-profit, I have seen first hand the determination and creativity displayed by local entrepreneurs. The Secretary of State can help make the Ocean State a true incubator for start-up-businesses.”

The growing field for Secretary of State: de Ramel

So Far, Pacheco has one opponent who has come out officially announcing candidacy. Guillaume de Ramel issued a press release on Thursday indicating he has definitively entered the race.

Guillaume De Ramel is a wealthy Democrat who was born in France but whose family roots run deep in Newport history and his pockets run deep as well. A successful businessman, de Ramel has run before for the office of Secretary of State in 2006 and lost to Ralph Mollis. "The Secretary of State's office can play a larger role in streamlining and making the process for doing business in Rhode Island more efficient," said de Ramel. "I'm running to make Rhode Island the most open, accountable, and transparent state in New England." He describes himself as a political outsider. “I nearly won a contested primary for this office in 2006. In that race I earned 47% of the vote and won 27 of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns.” Now, with Mollis’s term limit expiring, de Ramel could certainly contend strongly for the third highest executive position in RI government. Mr. de Ramel will be trying to draw from many of the same wells as Pacheco for campaign support.

Other potential contenders

Other possible contenders for the office are Democrat, Nellie Gorbea and Republican, Catherine Taylor. Gorbea, who currently serves as executive director of HousingWorks RI said, “I am currently giving thoughtful consideration to a run for statewide office, specifically Secretary of State.” She is Puerto Rican by birth and served Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Rossello as an economic advisor. Gorebea has an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and a master’s degree from Columbia University. As of this time, Nellie Gorbea has not officially declared her candidacy. Taylor ran in 2006 and came close to defeating Ralph Mollis. Taylor currently serves as the Director of the Division of Elderly Affairs. Although she has not yet officially announced her intentions to run for the office, it is believed that she will contend for the office. Attempts to reach Taylor were made, but she was not available for comment.

While de Ramel may be first out of the starting gate, it is very early to determine who is likely to win this race. In fact, there may well be more parties that have yet to decide whether to throw themselves into the fray. All four potentials bring to the table variables that write recipes for possible success. Gorbea could draw much of the Hispanic vote, de Ramel could bring East Bay and he certainly has the money. Pacheco is young and enthusiastic and brings the backing of the RI Democratic Party and Taylor could sweep up after the mess left by a Democratic battle.

“Whether it is promoting the rich history of our great state through the celebration our state archives, assisting the business community, protecting the right to vote, or ensuring open and transparent government, as Secretary of State I will work to secure a better Rhode Island.” 


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