The Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus is calling for Democratic Party Second Vice Chair Joe DeLorenzo’s removal following his comments on sexual harassment. DeLorenzo questioned the validity of Representative Tanzi’s statements regarding her history with sexual harassment in Rhode Island politics, calling them a “blanket statement” on WADK . He later apologized, noting that his outburst was in reaction to his belief that the Democratic Party is becoming too liberal. Despite his apology, the Women’s Caucus is adamant that DeLorenzo be removed from his position.

Credit: Marta Evry, Flickr State Representative Teresa Tanzi, the subject of DeLorenzo’s comments.

When asked about the importance of removing DeLorenzo from the committee, voting caucus member Justine Caldwell said, “Mr. DeLorenzo’s comments, particularly after Representative Tanzi’s allegations of sexual harassment at the State House, really ruin the face of what Democrats stand for: protecting women and standing up for women. We want to show the public that here in Rhode Island the Democratic party stands up for our values and we’re going to protect them.” Ms. Caldwell also noted that Governor Raimondo has called for DeLorenzo’s resignation.

If Mr. DeLorenzo does not resign, the Women’s Caucus has called for his removal from party leadership. If he is not removed immediately, the statement from the Women’s Caucus expressed the need for an emergency state party vote on DeLorenzo’s termination. A party vote would need two thirds majority. Caldwell noted the importance of Rhode Island citizen action in this controversy, advising those interested in helping the Women’s Caucus remove DeLorenzo to call Democratic Party headquarters in Warwick. The calls are being tracked, in an effort to gauge the levels of support among citizens. Time will tell, as the Women’s Caucus continues to draw attention to the conflict.