Political Profiles: House Minority Whip Michael Chippendale

Raymond Baccari

News Editor

PROVIDENCE, R.I., — In an exclusive Raymond Baccari Political Profile, Rhode Island House Minority Whip Michael Chippendale (R-Dist. 40, Coventry, Foster and Glocester) weighed in on what he thought of this past legislative session, the House Republicans’ priorities heading into next year’s session and his plans for the 2022 election cycle.


When the session starts, the Democrat and Republican within their caucuses elect their majority and minority leader as well as their majority and minority whip. Chippendale’s role as the House Minority Whip has a number of responsibilities for the House Republican caucus which contains eight out of the 75 Rhode Island House of Representatives.


“I was elected to be the Minority Whip and my responsibilities are to support the Minority Leader. [Our] House Minority Leader, Representative [Blake] Filippi, he’s leading our efforts, he’s leading our caucus. I ensure that [the members of the caucus] are up to date on where we are on the issues, what’s on our calendars immediately [and] in the long term. [I] help them to navigate through issues that they may be dealing with in their district or in this building, and I count votes.”


Chippendale continued, “I work not only with Republicans, to ensure that we have this number of votes on any particular issue, but I will work with Democrats to find out if there’s a mutually-agreeable position on something — if there’s ways to work together, if there’s a need to work together. I’m sort of a coordinator if you will, I’m an assistant coach.”


Chippendale pointed positive and negative aspects out when reflecting on the last session. He mentioned how there is more professionalism under House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi’s tenure so far. However, he was not happy with there being giant pieces of legislation passed through without taxpayers being able to weigh in on those bills in person. He cited instances where those who had testified remotely were either cut short on time for their testimonies, or were never called by the system that was supposed to call them when it was time to testify.


Looking ahead to the next session that will start in January, Chippendale has a number of things he is looking forward to, “One of the primary things I want to see are people in the building. I want to see advocates, and I want to see taxpayers. I want to see the people who we listen to and who we hear from on these important issues — that’s something I’m looking forward to in the 2022 session.”


Chippendale spoke of a caucus focus saying, “Policy wise, I think we have a lot of issues that we have to address and we have to address them urgently because this health crisis has put off a lot of the priorities [for two years]. That’s two years lost. When I think of two years lost, I think of the Johns Hopkins report from Providence on the schools. I think we need to take bold action on the education front first and foremost.”


Chippendale continued, “I also think we need to focus on addressing some of the things that as Republicans, we saw as problematic during the health crisis which was frankly the wartime powers act that the Governor(s) have been using to invoke this state of emergency which we are still under. They are still running this state under wartime [and] emergency powers. I don’t know what the emergency is. We know where we are, we know what we’re doing — commerce is open, schools are open, businesses are open, people are out and walking on the street. What is the emergency? The emergency I think is they don’t want to let go of the power they have.”


Chippendale is optimistic about where the Republicans stand entering 2022, explaining the historical precedent that occurs in midterm elections, where the party not controlling the White House does better across the country.


“I suspect that we will have a lot of very full races across the state. More so than we typically do. In the areas where we can, I think we’re going to be tremendously competitive. I think we’re in a tremendous position to take seats in the General Assembly and maybe take some General Offices, which would be fantastic. And I would love to see a clean sweep in a lot of School Committees. I’m feeling good about 2022 for the GOP.”


For his plans in 2022, Chippendale said he will be running for re-election for District 40, thus ruling out a Gubernatorial bid or a campaign for any other higher office.


Additionally, Chippendale also spoke with Baccari about non-political topics such as what he thinks Rhode Island is best known for.


To view the full interview, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNHQ0df2Q9E.


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