By PETE FONTAINE
The Johnston Democratic Town Committee continued its storied tradition of being one of the first political bodies in the state to send out endorsements for the 2020 election.
Thus, inside the JDTC-Mayor Joseph Polisena headquarters – where Chairman Richard J. DelFino Jr. and many elected members continued practicing social distancing in accordance with the strict and current COVID-19 guidelines – the high-powered Democratic group unanimously endorsed U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and Congressman James Langevin for yet another term.
On a night that featured the JDTC membership interviewing Langevin and his challenger for the Second Congressional seat, Dylan Conley – who is the son of Johnston solicitor and state Rep. William Conley – each candidate delivered and answered a host of questions on issues ranging from gun control to racial and social problems and, most especially, the economy.
The Democrats unanimously endorsed Reed to continue serving as Rhode Island’s senior U.S. senator.
Although Reed, 70, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 1996 after a six-year stint in the House of Representatives, was unable to attend due to several previously arranged speaking engagements, his senior staffer Ray Simone was on hand and graciously accepted the endorsement.
“On behalf of Sen. Reed, we say thank you to the Johnston Democratic Town Committee for this endorsement and your committee’s continued support of his office,” Simone said. “Again, thank you for this endorsement.”
The night’s second vote came after Conley and Langevin addressed the JDTC and when Polisena raised his hand and declared, “I make a motion we endorse Congressman Langevin for another term,” which was followed by a host of seconds before the committee’s unanimous approval.
“Thank you!” Langevin, 56, exclaimed. “I have always considered Johnston as my second home and tonight is my first public meeting since the pandemic. Once again, I thank the Johnston Democrats for their very-much-appreciated and continued support.”
DelFino then returned to the podium and reiterated, “Congressman Langevin has always been a great friend for the people of Johnston throughout his political career and we’re all thankful and proud of what he has done for the citizens of our state. Tonight is his first political stop in the state as he seeks re-election for the Second Congressional Seat.”
The JDTC chairman, who is vice president of the Rhode Island Democratic Committee and has enjoyed a personal friendship with Langevin for many years, wanted it known: “Jim Langevin has Always been an advocate for working families; more important he’s one of the most sincere persons I’ve ever known.”