By ALEX MALM
Senate District 29 candidate Jennifer Rourke is calling for her Democratic opponent Michael Carreiro to drop out of the race and to resign from his position as President of Local …
By ALEX MALM
Senate District 29 candidate Jennifer Rourke is calling for her Democratic opponent Michael Carreiro to drop out of the race and to resign from his position as President of Local IAFF 2748 the union that represents the Warwick Firefighters after a photo on his Facebook page was released of him wearing “black face.”
“The picture of Michael Carreiro in Blackface, his adoration of Tucker Carlson, and his support for the police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri is deeply disturbing. Wearing Blackface is and was never okay. This behavior should be disqualifying for anyone seeking positions of leadership. Michael Carreiro should withdraw his candidacy and resign from his leadership position in the Firefighter’s Union,” said Rourke. “During the filing period, I attempted to reach out to the Democratic committee in my district to seek the endorsement over Carreiro. None of them returned my calls. I am a mother of four, a reproductive rights activist, and I’ve worked multiple jobs my whole life. The fact they would not consider endorsing me over someone who wore Blackface and celebrates Tucker Carlson just shows how broken the leadership of the Rhode Island Democratic Party is.”
Carreiro is staying the course..
“I have no intentions of dropping out of this race, and I will not resign as union president. I am not focusing on what happened in the past but will focus on bigger issues Warwick and Rhode Islanders are facing,” said Carreiro.
“I have worked tirelessly with three different administrations in the city to make this department and city better even during the tough times we faced… we faced Covid, budget constraints, apparatus issues, and arbitrations. We got through it and moved the city and department forward. I worked on one of the busiest rescues in Warwick for over 15 years and I will work even harder for the people of Warwick at the State House!”
In a statement Carreiro said the photos were “taken at a 2009 themed event I attended dressed as the singer James Brown.”
“I want to be clear that this was wrong. It was offensive and unacceptable – and I'm sorry. Time and time again, I've watched politicians and public officials make excuses to side-step controversies in an effort to avoid blame and deflect criticism. That's not me,” said Carreiro.
“I made a mistake thirteen years ago, and I'm owning it. Events of recent years have exposed how much harm can be caused by these types of actions, and I very much understand that and I've learned from it.”
Rourke isn’t the only candidate calling on Carreiro to drop out of the race.
On Monday Matt Brown and Cynthia Mendes who are running as a de facto Governor and Lieutenant Governor ticket released a statement calling on Carreiro to drop out of the race.
“There is absolutely no place in our “There is absolutely no place in our society for racist behavior. It is outrageous that the Democratic committee would not even return Jennifer’s calls seeking their endorsement,” said Matt Brown.
“Carreiro should withdraw from the race and the Rhode Island Democratic Party should declare its support for Jennifer.” for racist behavior. It is outrageous that the Democratic committee would not even return Jennifer’s calls seeking their endorsement,” said Brown. “Carreiro should withdraw from the race and the Rhode Island Democratic Party should declare its support for Jennifer.”
AJ Braverman, a spokesperson for the Brown and Mendes campaign said that Brown and Mendes are also calling on Carreiro to resign.
Council breaks silence
On Tuesday morning Ward 2 Councilman Jeremy Rix announced he is endorsing Rourke in the Democratic Primary. Rix’s endorsement was the first public endorsement in the race by anyone on the City Council.
“Jennifer Rourke has truly impressed me with her tireless work ethic, empathy, and grace under pressure,” said Rix. “She has demonstrated her resolve and calm temperament in how she continues to work hard day in and day out, even after she was physically attacked by an off-duty Providence Police Officer who was also seeking the seat (and who has since backed out of the race). And all while she and her husband are raising their kids. I don't know how she does it! Jennifer will be a strong advocate for Warwick's working families.”
Ward 3 Councilman Tim Howe said that he plans to endorse Carreiro.
“I have worked with Mike Carreiro for 6 years and known him for over 15 years,” said Howe. “I’ll be endorsing him.”
Council President Steve McAllister said he wouldn’t be endorsing anyone in the race.
“I will not be endorsing anyone in district 29. I will support the Democrat in the general election,” said McAllister. “I will be focusing on the city council and will be working to help Bill Foley and Jim McElroy get re-elected so we can continue the great progress we have made these past two years.”
Asked if he would be supporting Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur who is also facing an opponent this year McAllister said that he would be.
“I support Ed as well,” said McAllister. “We have a strong council and I would like to continue to work with everyone going forward.”
One of the people eligible to vote in the District is Mayor Frank Picozzi. Asked if he plans on endorsing anyone in the race Picozzi said that he wouldn’t and that he wouldn’t be endorsing any candidates in any races this cycle.