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June Huddle Meeting - How to get into politics

  • Amigos 2 Canal St Westerly, RI USA (map)

Join us for our June meeting where we will (tentatively) host a panel of local political players.

Panel Questions/Outline
How to get into politics as a candidate, a campaign manager, a candidate supporter, a legislation activist
What does politics look like from the inside looking out
What does it really take to run as a candidate, manager or push legislation
Discuss new avenues for change
Action: How can you get involved with campaigns - special elections for 2017 and 2018

 Panel Member Bios

Gabrielle, better known as Abby, is a native of Narragansett and a 2011 graduate of the University of Rhode Island. She credits a lot of volunteering and internships with getting her on the path to political activism. After interning with Senator Jack Reed, she went to DC and interned with EMILY's List, a PAC that recruits, trains and supports progressive, pro-choice women running for office. Soon after, she became an organizer with the Service Employees International Union and the skills of building power to win campaigns stuck. Currently, she is the state organizer for the Rhode Island Working Families Party. She serves on the board of the Young Democrats of Rhode Island, RI Jobs with Justice and RI National Organization of Women PAC

Donna, a native of Barrington, is married to a State of RI, DEM Environmental Scientist and has two children, her son a soon to be senior at Barrington High School and her daughter a senior at the University of New Hampshire. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. She is a current business owner of red door media [+content] for more than twenty years and has volunteered her time for multiple non profit organizations including serving on the Boards of Art Night Bristol Warren, Bristol Art Museum and Arts in Common. Currently Donna is holds the position of Executive Director of the Thayer Street District Management Authority, working at the pleasure of the Thayer Street property owners and Brown University. 

On November 8, 2016 everything changed. Having prided herself for voting in every election, including off-year elections, reality hit. Donna found herself angry, frustrated and feeling like she had not done enough. Donna will tell you honestly, sadly she realized she had only been an "On the Couch Voter". 

On November 9, 2016 she became "activated". In December 2016, she co-founded the Emerge RI Organizing Committee working to bring an Emerge affiliate (Emerge trains Democratic Women for political office) to RI with Tracey LeBeau. In the past 7 months, Donna has been on a political learning curve, learning how to fundraise (raising $12,000 in 5 months), attending Indivisible, Stronger Together, Resist Hate RI, Moms Demand, and Progressive Democrats and many other political organization meetings. She has canvassed for two Democratic women 2017 special election candidates, participated in phone banks, participated in lobby days and committee hearing at the State House. She is now an active voting member of both the Barrington Democratic Committee and the RI Democratic Women Caucus. She has meet with each of her local Senate and House representatives, Nellie Gorbea, staff of Senator Whitehouse and Rep Cicilline and attended Senator Reed's May fundraiser. She has her local district State and US national representatives on speed dial and she is currently being mentored by a local political strategist on campaign management and candidate recruiting as well as opposing candidate recon.

In June 2016, Donna and Tracey moved on from Emerge to co-found "Rhode Island Democratic Women for Leadership" Their new mission is to Recruit, Activate, Empower & Support Rhode Island Democratic Women in Leadership. They are investing in the Female Future of Rhode Island.

Lammis currently works for the state of Rhode Island Office of the RI General Treasurer Seth Magaziner as the Director of Unclaimed Property where she responsible in assisting the Treasurer return over $300 million to Rhode Islander. 

Most recently she worked at Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy as the Dean of School – Based Operations where she was responsible for the non-instructional management school staff, supported the needs of the head of the school to effectively manage school relations, provided stream-lined student and staff reporting to RID, supported staff selection procedures at the school and was overall responsible for the building of strong family communication practices. 

Lammis' work in public service is not freshly new, she also worked for Mayor Donald R. Grebien, City of Pawtucket as the Mayor’s Liaison where she oversaw the day to day operations, developed and managed the Mayors daily activities, handled constituent affairs and assisted in the implementation of policies and its development. Alongside of the mayor she assisted with the boards and commissions for the city where her role was to diversify and engage city residents to be involved and continue to move the city forward with the administration. 

Not only has Lammis worked for a municipality, but she also worked for the distinguished Governor Lincoln D. Chafee under his United States Senate Administration where she provided support to the legislative staff with various duties including policy research, event planning, incoming constituent’s cases, scheduling, and office management and up to that time worked for the State of Rhode Island Family Court in the Juvenile Clerk’s Office. 

She has worked and volunteered for state wide political campaigns and grass roots efforts. 

Lammis was a Democratic Candidate for Cranston city-wide council in 2016. Though she was unsuccessful she continues to be very passionate and truthfully believes in giving back to the community, it is due to this why she volunteers countless hours of her time as member of various boards and commissions such as: Cranston YMCA Board of Directors, Progreso Latino, her children’s school Parent Teacher Association, Rhode Island College Alumni Board Association, Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund where she served as Vice-President and current board member. She previously served as a board member to the Cranston Housing Authority, City of Pawtucket Juvenile Hearing Board, Mayor James Diossa Central Falls Transition Team, City of Pawtucket Arts and Advisory Sub-Committee, Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee, the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island and the United States Selective Service System. 

Lammis J. Vargas, age 35, residents of Cranston, RI is of Colombian descent, was born in Providence and raised in Central Falls, RI. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies from Rhode Island College and working on her master’s degree. She’s a Hermana of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/ Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc., Graduate Chapter. She enjoys reading, listening to music, volunteering for her community and spending time with her family and friends. Vargas is happily married to Christian W. Vargas a Warwick Police Officer and is a mother of two.

  • Only 37 women have ever served as governor across the United States.
  • Only 27 states have ever had a woman governor.
  • Women make up just 19.4% of the U.S. Congress and 24.8% of state legislatures.
  • Women make up only 18.8% of mayors in cities with more than 30,000 population.
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