7 29 14 Women's Campaign Fund Deeply Disappointed by Comments Made in Rhode Island Secretary of State Candidate Debate



July 29, 2014

CONTACT: Tessa Tran Ross

Women's Campaign Fund Deeply Disappointed by Comments Made in Rhode Island Secretary of State Candidate Debate

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Women's Campaign Fund's President and CEO expressed disappointment with the offensive comments made by Guillaume de Ramel, the opponent of Rhode Island Secretary of State candidate Nellie Gorbea. In their recently televised debate, de Ramel dismissed Gorbea's successful four year tenure as Deputy Secretary of State by equating her work experience to "roam[ing] the halls of the State House" and "know[ing] where the bathrooms are." 

"Mr. de Ramel's recent comments, which equate Nellie Gorbea's political experience to frivolous tasks, trivialize her incredible contributions to the state of Rhode Island," said WCF President and CEO Betsy Mullins. "This is not the first time a woman candidate's professional experience has been downplayed and turned into the punch line of a joke. Nellie Gorbea's background includes serving as Executive Director of HousingWorks Rhode Island, serving as Rhode Island’s Deputy Secretary of State, and decade long involvement in the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island. It is a disservice to not only Gorbea, but to Rhode Island constituents, to misrepresent those facts so inaccurately and condescendingly."

Mullins praised Gorbea for immediately calling out her opponent’s remarks, and is encouraging the constituents of Rhode Island to continue to watch this race closely for any further inappropriate remarks from de Ramel and his supporters.

"We applaud Nellie's courage for calling out this incident," Mullins continued. "The voters of Rhode Island care about the issues. Research shows that when voters learn of sexist attacks, it only hurts the person who made the attack. The best way to stop sexist attacks—whether they are subtle or overt—is to call it out right away. Nellie Gorbea reacted perfectly, and it's up to all of us to stand with her and continue calling out sexism every time we see it."

WCF is the first national, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing the political participation of qualified women leaders who support reproductive health choices and options at all levels of office, throughout the country, and regardless of political party. WCF has endorsed Nellie Gorbea and named her as one of its 40 Game Changers.


  • ★ 50/50 Representation

    Why should good government depend on only half of the nation’s human capital? WCF commits to 50/50 representation of women and men in elected office by 2028.

  • ★ Common Ground

    Common ground just means problems get solved more collaboratively, for the good of more people. It’s the bedrock of our leadership at home and abroad.

  • ★ Viability for Election

    It takes more than money to make a candidate worth electing. WCF looks for guts, street sense, situational awareness, resilience -- the full range of gifts a woman brings to the race.

  • ★ Non-Partisan

    A woman’s place is in every party, every elected office, at every level. Period.