The late Buddy Cianci once described the RI Speaker of the House "The Captain of a Pirate Ship" meaning he has the omnipotent power to do whatever he wants. The seas have been stormy for House Speaker Mattiello lately. Mattiello did manage to top challenger Steven Frias in his Cranston district in Tuesday's election and at a private caucus held at the Chapelle Hill restaurant Thursday night apparently was promised the votes he needs to return as speaker. The informal vote was 44-21 in favor of his remaining in power. Fifteen of those 21 in opposition are women. That amounts to about two thirds of the chamber's female Democrats and most of them weren't bashful when reporters caught up with them after the closed door two hour meeting. Democrat Representative Kathleen Fogarty of South Kingstown said "every member returning to this chamber knows about the vindictive culture that exists there, and the practice of retribution against those who dissent." Mattiello denies he punishes members who disagree with him, telling reporters that sometimes bills don't get a vote because they aren't ready rather than out of retaliation. He'll have to wait until January when the House reconvenes to be officially re-elected. We'll see if more than 21 turn before then.
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