Operation Clean Government's "Candidate School 2012" program and faculty have now been finalized, according to Chairman Marie Sorman of Cranston. The event is a day-long, non-partisan educational seminar on how to run for political office. It is scheduled to take place in the Rhode Island College Student Union on April 28.
Justice Robert Flanders will be the featured luncheon speaker, and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo will close out the day. Other faculty members are described below. Tuition for the day-long training session is $95, payable via PayPal on OCG's web site, www.ocgri.org or by check to: Box 8683, Warwick, R.I. 02888.
According to Margaret Kane, president of Operation Clean Government, "This is an ideal chance for candidates new to the political scene to get a complete briefing on the campaigning process."
This is OCG's sixth Candidate School, continuing an election-year tradition that started in 2002. It will be hosted by the Political Science Department of Rhode Island College and is supported by LOOKOUT RI, John Hazen White, Jr.'s non-partisan foundation.
"Rhode Island College's participation will greatly expands our impact on the community-especially the educational community," said Sorman.
"The political science department is pleased to support OCG's work in encouraging broader participation in the democratic process, and happy that our students will have an opportunity to see democracy in action," said Dr. Thomas Schmeling.
It's a long day, starting with breakfast at 7 a.m. After welcoming speeches the seminar begins at 8 a.m. The first session, entitled "The Five Most Important Things to Know To Run," features presentations by Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis and by Ethics Commission attorney Jason Gramitt. Secretary Mollis will explain the deadlines and procedures to establish candidacy and Gramitt will present Ethics Commission regulations and recommendations.
The second session, entitled "Choosing Your Team, Research and Polling," is presented by URI Professor Victor Profughi, who now heads the group Quest Research.
The third session, following a 15 minute break, is entitled "Fundraising." It is taught by Seth Klaiman, an experienced campaign fund raiser who heads SMK Associates.
The final morning presentation, "Media and Public Relations," will be a panel presentation moderated by local public relations professional Dave Layman. Panel members include: John Howell, publisher of Beacon Publications; Ted Nesi of WPRI television; and Dave Preston of the New Harbor Group public relations firm.
The luncheon speaker will be the Honorable Robert Flanders, Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court from 1996 to 2004. Justice Flanders served as Chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education from 2008-2011, and in 2011, he was appointed by Governor Lincoln Chafee as receiver for Central Falls.
The afternoon program consists of seven breakout sessions on specialized campaigning topics, to include:
* "Door to Door Campaigning" with moderator Carol Mumford and panelists Chris Beauchamp and Larry Valencia. Mumford is a former state representative, and Beauchamp is a member of the Woonsocket City Council. Valencia, former president of Operation Clean Government, is a recently elected state representative.
* "Negative Campaigning", moderated by Sue Stenhouse, features panelists Michelle Brophy-Baermann and Victor Profughi. A former representative, Stenhouse is now with the Providence Chamber of Commerce; Brophy-Baermann teaches at Rhode Island College while Profughi teaches at URI.
* "The Importance/Benefit of Party Affiliation" moderated by Professor Thomas Schmeling of RIC, with panelists Mark Zaccaria, Edwin Pacheco and Ken Block. Zaccaria, Pacheco and Block head up the Republican, Democrat and Moderate parties.
* "Opposition Research: Dealing with Rumors, Realities," with moderator Dave Layman and panelists Jeff Deckman, Vic Pichette and Frank Ferri. Deckman and Pichette are campaign managers and Ferri is a recently elected representative.
* "Campaigning Against an Incumbent" will be moderated by OCG Vice President Frank Lennon and will feature two recently-elected state representatives as panelists: Doreen Costa and Teresa Tanzi.
* "Websites and Social Media" will be presented by Alex Moore, Executive Director of the Providence Democratic Committee.
* "Municipal & School Committee Finances" will be moderated by Ernest Almonte, former Auditor General of Rhode Island. The panelists are Mayor Angel Taveras of Providence and Robert Walsh, Executive Director of the National Education Association Rhode Island. The closing speaker of the day is Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who has been the subject recently of much national news coverage due to her groundbreaking efforts in the area of pension reform.