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Joseph DeLorenzo, second vice chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party, apologized Tuesday after sparking a firestorm by disparaging progressives as "left-wing whack jobs" and questioning a state rep's allegation of sexual harassment.

In a statement, DeLorenzo said, "I sincerely apologize to everyone for my recent unfortunate remarks. As a husband, father and grandfather of two granddaughters, I never meant to minimize the problem of sexual harassment, which is a very serious issue."

It's not every week when a big national story has dramatic consequences in Rhode Island, but that's precisely what happened this time around with the Weinstein Effect. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Courtesy of Rhode Island Commerce Corporation

Thursday marked the deadline for metro areas across North America to submit bids for Amazon's second headquarters, and Rhode Island enlisted help from some prominent local business leaders and universities for its application.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee joins Political Roundtable to discuss allegations of sexual harassment at the State House, divisions among Democrats in the U.S. and Rhode Island, and his political plans for 2018.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello broke his silence Friday about embattled Democratic Party official Joe DeLorenzo, saying that DeLorenzo should apologize for critical remarks about progressives and for questioning Rep. Teresa Tanzi's account of experiencing sexual harassment.

“There is absolutely no place in society for any type of harassment, particularly sexual harassment," Mattiello said in a statement Friday afternoon. "The work environment is a place where you must feel safe and secure. I stand strongly with women, and any type of harassment is deplorable."

“The comments made by Joe DeLorenzo were insensitive and out of place with societal values," Mattiello continued. "I will speak with Joe and suggest and expect that he will apologize for his comments. Regretfully, his remarks began as part of the local and national trend where the left and the right within our party are attacking one another, which is completely inappropriate.These ideological attacks must stop and we must respect every viewpoint within the party.  I will work with the progressives, moderates and conservatives to make sure that the Democratic Party is inclusive of everyone.”   

Mattiello, through his spokesman, had previously declined to respond to questions about whether DeLorenzo should resign.

Earlier, a growing number of Rhode Island elected officials called for DeLorenzo to resign from his longtime post as 2nd vice chairman of the state Democratic Party, after he used a radio interview to question Rep. Tanzi's account of experiencing sexual harassment at the Statehouse.

Lynn Arditi / RIPR

Care New England’s chief operating officer said Wednesday that negotiations are on track to sell Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital company to Partners HealthCare of Massachusetts.

The Indian Summer sun fades, the afternoon light will soon dwindle and morning frost is on the pumpkin. Evening chills send us to our closets for the heavier coats we’ll soon need.

Now is also the time to think about those among us who have less. As we ready for the holiday season, the time is nigh to help our less fortunate neighbors by donating to the annual Buy Nothing Coat Exchange, which will be held on the traditional date –Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Christmas holiday shopping blitz.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Rhode Island State Police and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin's office say they are reviewing claims of sexual harassment by state Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-South Kingstown).

Steve Szydlowski / The Providence Journal

Rhode Island’s Energy Facility Siting Board decided Tuesday morning during a hearing to exclude from evidence resolutions from 35 cities and towns opposing a proposed natural gas power plant in Burrillville.


This I Believe New England: Paperbacks

Oct 18, 2017
Scott Indermaur

When Johannes Gutenberg introduced mechanical movable type and the printing press to the world in the fifteen century, he could not have imagined that some 600 years later we would be reading books on digital screens after we've downloaded the tomes using Wi-Fi.  In Gutenberg's day, people had no choice but to turn pages.  Today, we have the option to advance pages electronically, convert text to voice, and conduct instant online word and dictionary searches.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Woonsocket and East Providence will receive nearly $2.4 million in federal grants to help revitalize local neighborhoods and increase affordable housing. The grants were announced on Sunday by Rhode Island's U.S. senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse. 

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

A female lawmaker's description of sexual harassment by a more powerful colleague has sparked a change: starting in January, Rhode Island lawmakers and General Assembly staffers will be expected to take part in sexual harassment training.

Lynn Arditi

Memorial Hospital is closing all but some walk-in clinics after its planned sale to a California hospital chain fell through.

Hospital officials announced the decision on Tuesday at a noon meeting with hundreds of employees.

ONNE VAN DER WAL / Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island

The Newport-based tall ship, the Oliver Hazard Perry, is set to be back up and running by Tuesday. The vessel lost power and floated through Newport Harbor Sunday evening, the ship knocked into several other boats moored in the harbor.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Pawtucket’s nine-member City Council will vote on a resolution Tuesday to support or reject the stadium plan. The vote is non-binding, but even a symbolic rejection of the stadium by hometown councilors in Pawtucket could be a serious obstacle.

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