FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.