Op-ed: Why not send someone to Washington who can actually do the job?


Reflecting on the last three debates of candidates vying for retiring Congressman Jim Langevin’s seat, I worry that we’ve lost the forest among a slew of irrelevant trees. Let us not forget the future of our democracy remains in question, and key freedoms such as the right to choose, same-sex marriage and access to contraception, are all at risk. These are emotional issues on both sides of the aisle. No matter what any candidate tells you, it is going to be very hard to influence, particularly as a new member of Congress. With numbers in the U.S. House so close, getting a Democrat elected is not enough, we need one who can influence on day one.

Sarah Morgenthau has served her country in Washington in both the Obama and Biden Administrations. She has first-hand experience navigating a divisive Washington in actual policy-making roles. In the Peace Corps, she worked on food and health security, in the Department of Homeland Security, she focused on cybersecurity and domestic terrorism, and most recently, she led the nation’s Travel and Tourism office, helping to reopen America to foreign tourists — an industry so critical to Rhode Island’s GDP. Morgenthau also has extensive relationships with existing members of Congress. Like any job, building consensus is critical to getting things done. Beyond her Washington experience, she also has deep global perspective. Sarah weighs all decisions based on potential implications, both here and abroad. 

While Morgenthau’s opponents have served Rhode Island in various ways, the truth about the accomplishments of some has been stretched to create more experienced images in the minds of voters. This includes statements of working in Washington versus a congressman’s field office, and countless TV ads where a current state official claims to solving almost everything, except world hunger.

Beyond truth stretching, there also has been deception: using someone else’s house in a TV ad, not taking a stance on issues, and dodging questions about Kevin McCarthy campaigning for you. And of course, there has been the fabrication of issues, made to appear larger than life, that are not relevant indicators of someone’s ability to bring home key wins from Congress. (We are, after all, electing a congressperson, not the mayor of the district.)

In the private sector, we strive to hire people who possess experience most relevant to the job. With so much on the line in our country, why wouldn’t we do the same? These issues are just too important to wait for a leader to build new relationships and to complete on-the-job training.

I ask my fellow Rhode Islanders, on September 13, don’t vote based on name recognition or how long a candidate has lived in the district. Vote based on what matters most: a candidate’s skills and relevant experiences that will translate into important wins for all of us. 

Jodi Kennedy Gaffey is a former WJAR-TV reporter and corporate communications executive at several global corporations. 

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  1. Sorry had to much democrats and there policy’s there lies about covid 19 virus forcing people to get vaccine that don’t work fact. If you can’t find anything better than working with Obama and Biden. I feel sorry for all if us

    • I feel sorry for those who cannot differentiate the simple words there, their, and they’re (contraction of they are.) As a result, your comment was not the readable.

  2. Well said. As the author noted, Morgenthau has the relevant experience to hit the ground running on day one. Personally, I would vote for anyone other than the smarmier-than-a-used-car-salesman and tRump acolyte Fung, but she has the goods to get the job done, and would be an improvement over Langevin. Vote blue like your rights (especially women’s rights) depend on it…because they do!


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