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These former R.I. Democratic Party leaders are now shaping the national party’s strategy for 2022

Cyd McKenna and Tolulope Kevin Olasanoye work for the Collective PAC, which has emerged as one of the most influential organizations in the country when it comes to helping Black candidates win elected office

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Happy Wednesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I say Kevin Durant is too good at basketball. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 152,306 confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, after adding 23 new cases. The most-recent overall daily test-positive rate was 0.5 percent. The state announced one new deaths, bringing the total to 2,723. There were 38 people in the hospital, and 600,374 residents were fully vaccinated.


There was a lot of buzz in national Democratic Party circles last week about a new report that outlined how Democrats were able to take back the White House and US Senate. One key takeaway was that the party might not be able to repeat its success if it doesn’t make some changes.

The report was prepared by think tank Third Way, the Latino Victory Fund, and the Collective PAC, three organizations that represent key constituencies within the party.

And it turns out there’s some Rhode Island flavor in one of the groups.

Former Rhode Island Democratic Party executive directors Cyd McKenna and Tolulope Kevin Olasanoye work for the Collective PAC, which has emerged as one of the most influential organizations in the country when it comes to helping Black candidates win elected office.

McKenna is the organization’s chief of staff and Olasanoye is its national organizing director.

The Collective PAC backed more than 150 candidates across the country during the last election cycle, but its most notable win came in Georgia, where it ran a program that helped give 77,000 voters rides to the polls during the six weeks leading up to the Senate run-off election.


”I’m not sure that there were any organizations that were actually picking voters up and transporting them to the polls the way the Collective was,” Olasanoye said. “We were doing it for Raphael Warnock, but it helped Jon Ossoff, too.”

Olasanoye ran the Rhode Island Democratic Party between 2017 and 2019 before leaving for the same job with the New Jersey Democratic Party. McKenna took over the Rhode Island party in 2019, and joined Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign in February 2020.

McKenna joined on with the Collective PAC after Bloomberg’s campaign dissolved, and she recruited Olasanoye to join the team earlier this year.

The Collective PAC was founded in 2016 by Quentin James and Stefanie Brown James, and has helped Black candidates raise tens of millions of dollars ever since. It counts US Representative Val Demings and Vice President Kamala Harris (during her run for the US Senate) as two of its biggest early victories.

Olasanoye said the report published last week is the “most comprehensive lookback of 2020 that is in the ecosystem,” but he said that it wasn’t meant to be prescriptive of the party’s plan for next year. Instead, he said it was meant to highlight successful strategies and expose flaws that could be damaging going forward.

One of the top findings in the report: “Our approach to voters of color significantly hurt our outcomes.” Olasanoye said the report shows that Democrats need to stop thinking of Black and Latino voters as get-out-the-vote targets, and improve messaging and outreach to them.


”We have learned that the way the Democratic party goes about talking to core constituencies has to change,” Olasanoye said.

You can read the full report here.


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⚓ The Rhode Island Senate on Tuesday voted unanimously to allow criminal charges to be brought when a person is raped by their spouse while the victim is incapacitated. Read more.

⚓ The owner of four medical offices in Rhode Island faces a proposed $136,532 fine for willfully exposing workers to COVID-19 and working while sick with the virus last fall. Read more.

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Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

BIRTHDAYS: Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Thursday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.

⚓ Governor Dan McKee, Attorney General Peter Neronha, House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi, and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio are holding a 10 a.m. press conference to announce a statewide police body camera program.

⚓ The House Education Committee will consider a bill that would require district and independent charter schools to use a random selection process to determine which eligible public school students would be invited to attend the charter school and allow for parents to decline the invitation.

⚓ The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission meets at 5 p.m. to discuss proposals for Parcel 9 on the former highway land.

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