Cienki Wins State GOP Chairmanship

by | Mar 31, 2019

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

East Greenwich’s Sue Cienki won a four-way contest for chair of the state Republican Party Saturday, in the second ballot, taking over for two-term chair Brandon Bell, who did not run for a third term. Cienki lost her bid for re-election to the EG Town Council in November, after a tumultuous two years as president.

Across the board in November, Republicans lost in East Greenwich. In addition to Cienki, Andrew Deutsch lost his re-election bid and newcomer Charles Callanan also lost. For the first time, East Greenwich elected five Democrats to the Town Council. On the state level, Republican Anthony Giarrusso lost his bid for re-election to House Dist. 30 to newcomer Democrat Justine Caldwell. In the race for the open Senate Dist. 35 seat, Democrat Bridget Valverde defeated Republican Dana Gee.

Things aren’t quite that bad for the GOP on the state level, but they are grim. Republicans have been a small minority in state government for years but they lost more General Assembly seats in November, with only 5 state senators out of 38 and 9 state representatives out of 75. All state officeholders are Democrats.

Cienki, who declined to answer questions, defeated Rebecca Schiff, Michael Veri and Robert Lancia for the chairmanship.

Cienki spent much of her time as council president arguing that collective bargaining agreements were bankrupting the town. Under her tenure, East Greenwich property owners got a tax cut in fiscal year 2018 and the tax rate held steady in 2019. To get that flat tax rate, the 2019 budget relied on using $1 million in surplus, keeping vacant jobs unfilled, and continuing to underfund capital maintenance.

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  1. Sean Todd

    You ‘journalism’ as a blogger is hysterical. Your a spin doctor for the progressives. Here’s the truth: ‘*Small* tax cut in 2018’, AKA: ‘1st tax cut in 30 years.’ ‘Relied on 1M on surplus’ AKA: Was renegotiating the fire contract to elivate the $1M in OT. ‘keeping vacant jobs unfilled’ AKA: eliminating postitions to save money. #walkaway #itsyourmoney

    • Blue

      Elivate AKA alleviate #spellcheck #useadictionary #soreloser

      • Sean Todd

        Heya Blue! Thanks for participating with another liberal fake account hiding behind a keyboard. Sore loser? What did I lose? I’m 2 for 2. You are ? #siri

        • Blue

          Sorry missed this one.. “Your” AKA.. “You’re”. l stand corrected.. you didn’t lose a campaign but the epic flipping of the Council was a definitive blow against the Republican Agenda. For the record, I am a resident. I am a conservative. I am not affiliated with any union. My vote was not bought and paid for by the “Democratic machine”. Just because I don’t want to publish my name doesn’t make my comment less credible.

        • Tracie Truesdell

          Elizabeth, I truly admire you. You are clearly the bigger person on this thread. You are demonstrating, class, grace and RESTRAINT, as usual.

    • Mary Ward

      Congratulations to Sue! I would say that normally a tax cut given once, let alone twice by a Republican, no matter how small, given that it was the first in 30 years as you say, should have secured a Republican landslide at the ballot box. So one (who hasn’t lived in EG for the past 3 years) would have to ponder on why a town that has voted majority for Republicans for literally decades despite increased taxes would mysteriously turn their backs on ALL Republicans after getting a tax decrease two years in a row? The answer isn’t what Sue and you puport…that the unions controlled the ‘narrative’ and bought the voters or the Democrats with donations. That is a very naive take on the experience and an insult to the intelligence of the electorate. Ponder!

    • Elizabeth McNamara

      Sean, you are right to call me out on use of the word “small” to describe the tax cut. It was a tax cut, plain and simple. It is true that the Town Council under Sue’s leadership voted to approve using $1 million out of surplus to balance the FY2019 budget. Any contract savings you may have negotiated would have been for FY2020. Finally, two police positions were kept (and remain) vacant as was the building official position at DPW, all to help with the FY2019 budget. Both Chief Brown and DPW’s Joe Duarte said during the public hearing on the budget that they would need those positions filled at some point. Thanks for reading.

    • Joe

      Sean Todd, aka Mr. “Coulda Shoulda Woulda”.

  2. Mallory Walsh

    By my tax bill it was a VERY small tax cut. One of your fellow town council members stated in public that the raid of the rainy day fund was meant to put the town in a bad position prior to bargaining with unions, which some would consider bad faith and ultimately detrimental to tax payers. And cutting/not filling jobs led to things left undone/serious issues. Good luck to the state GOP, they will need it.


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