Jerry Zarella wants to reinvigorate the Republican party, not just in the state but in the Town of New Shoreham.
As someone who hosted both President Clinton and Sen. Ted Kennedy at his home on Block Island, Zarella said he gradually found that the party he grew up in was no longer the same. He now calls himself a “Trump Democrat.”
“I became totally disaffiliated with them, especially in our state where the progressives have come in and that’s something I can’t support,” Zarella said. He cited the recent news about state lawyers failing to file an appeal of a lawsuit by almost 60 nursing homes against the Executive Office of Health and Human Services as one of the reasons why he feels the GOP should gain control in the state.
As he ramped up his political efforts for the GOP — he said he’s thrown his name into the ring to run the state campaign for President Donald Trump’s re-election effort in 2020 — Zarella also found the Republican Town Committee on Block Island had let its registration lapse.
“They’re not registered,” Zarella said. “They never filed their papers. I wanted to join the Republican party on Block Island.” He soon corrected this and has filed the necessary papers to reactivate the Committee.
Zarella, who ran for Town Council in 2016, said the newly reorganized town GOP Committee currently has six members, but he’s now actively recruiting new members. He also has some issues he’d like to address.
“As a person who lives on Block Island in the summer months — I’m not going to tell you I live there 365 days a year — but I’m offended the Town Council won’t lead with the Pledge of Allegiance,” he said. “This is one of the strong points of the Republican party: Country, family, religion, the flag. The Republicans should have been all over that. This is the stuff that people have to get active in.”
One of his other goals is to re-establish stronger relations with the state government, which he said Block Island used to have but doesn’t any longer.
Zarella said he’ll be looking at what role the Republican party should play in town politics, and is encouraging anyone interested in joining the Committee, or if they are thinking of running for office and want to seek an endorsement, to contact him at [email protected]
“My role is not to be a troublemaker, but to be active and viable,” said Zarella, “and to do something people can be proud of and be positive about.”