From covering pivotal hearings and key votes to fund-raisers and political maneuvering, the Globe wants to keep a close eye on what Rhode Island’s congressional delegation is doing here and in Washington.

We’ve launched a weekly feature that will hold our leaders accountable and highlight the work of US Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and US Representatives James Langevin and David Cicilline. We’ll also ask each of them to answer a different policy-related question every week.

Do you have a question for Rhode Island’s congressional delegation? E-mail it to Dan.McGowan@globe.com and we’ll consider it in future editions.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse


We’ll get to impeachment in a second, but Senator Whitehouse used a Senate Finance Committee last week to question whether the US Treasury is taking climate change seriously. As expect, he voted to convict President Trump on both articles of impeachment, and then took to Twitter to ask followers to keep Senator Mitt Romney’s family in their prayers based on the reaction to the Republican’s vote to convict Trump of abusing his power (Romney voted against the article that accused Trump of obstruction of Congress).

Question of the week: Do you support getting rid of the Electoral College in favor of a national popular vote?

“I’d love to get rid of the Electoral College, which has twice in recent years resulted in the election of a president who did not win the majority of the popular vote, and which causes Rhode Island to be overlooked for ‘battleground states,’” Whitehouse said. “Every state should be a battleground in a fair election.”

Senator Jack Reed

Senator Reed expressed deep concern about Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, being ousted from their posts shortly after President Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial. (Both Vindman and Sondland testified during the investigation.) Reed also praised the US House of Representatives for adding his proposal to invest in school building repairs as part of its infrastructure bill. As for the president’s State of the Union address, Reed took to Facebook to call it “misleading, polarizing, and divisive.”


Question of the week: Do you support getting rid of the Electoral College in favor of a national popular vote?

“Yes. One of the historical precedents for this type of change is the direct election of US Senators in 1913 - prior to that they were chosen by state legislatures instead of directly by voters,” spokesperson Chip Unruh wrote in an email. “A popular vote might also mean presidential candidates will make an appeal to all Americans rather than focus their message on a few states.”

Representative James Langevin

Congressman Langevin had a busy week. He gave a speech during the US Naval Academy’s cyber lecture series and served as a guest instructor for two classes on cyber law and ethics. He also delivered a keynote address at a reception for the National Council for Languages, which recognized him for his work on English learner teacher preparation programs. The State Police superintendent, Colonel James Manni, also traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Langevin on the Regional Information Sharing Systems program, which is designed to connect databases between local and regional law enforcement.

Question of the week: Do you support getting rid of the Electoral College in favor of a national popular vote?


“Making changes to the United States Constitution should never be done lightly and requires careful assessment of potential unintended consequence,” Langevin said. “However, since two of the last five presidential contests have gone to the individual who did not win the popular vote, the issue does merit serious study and consideration for change.”

Representative David Cicilline

Representative Cicilline voted in favor of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, a bill that would strengthen workers’ ability to unionize and weaken “right-to-work” laws. It also gives the National Labor Relations Board the ability to fine companies that break laws related to unionization – a power it does not currently have – but the bill is unlikely to win support in the Senate. Cicilline also traveled to the New Hampshire for Friday’s Democratic presidential debate, although he has not endorsed a candidate in the race.

Question of the week: Do you support getting rid of the Electoral College in favor of a national popular vote?

“Yes. He co-sponsored legislation last Congress to do this,” spokesperson Richard Luchette wrote in an email.

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.