PROVIDENCE – Dispensing a combination of practical advice and legislative philosophy, House employees and elected leaders welcomed freshmen representatives to the Statehouse Thursday in an orientation.
House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, D-Cranston, promised his door would be open. He suggested they learn to collaborate with other legislators and accept that not all of their bills would pass in their inaugural session, and that those that do pass would probably change.
Do not take things personally, he said, and listen and learn from colleagues. The House has 75 members, he noted.
By design, the legislative process – moving from idea to law – is slow and deliberate.
“We all have ideas. All of our ideas are important,” Mattiello said. “You have to build consensus.”
Although elected from local communities, the state representatives are called on to pass state policy and approve the state budget. That requires more than a local viewpoint, he said.
“Collaboration is the best word for today. Learn to work with your colleagues.”
Fourteen of the 15 newly elected representatives attended the session, which also included welcoming addresses from House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi, D-Warwick, and House Minority Leader Blake A. Filippi, R-New Shoreham.
Five of the newly elected representatives are women, several are in their 20s and new to public office and several are first-generation Americans or veterans of U.S. military service, according to their online profiles.
They include: Rep.-elect Rebecca Kislak, D-Providence, an attorney and the former president of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women; Rep.-elect Mario Mendes, D-Johnston, a graduate of Rhode Island College with a business degree; Rep.-elect Chris Millea, D-Cranston, an assistant city solicitor; Rep.-elect Thomas Noret, D-Coventry, a retired Coventry police officer; Rep.-elect James Jackson, D-West Warwick, a Vietnam and U.S. Navy veteran; Rep.-elect Geoge Nardone, R-Coventry, who owns an upholstery business;
Rep.-elect Justine Caldwell, D-East Greenwich, a community advocate; Rep.-elect John Lyle, R-Lincoln, a former school superintendent; Rep.-elect David Place, R-Burrillville; a Burrillville town councilman; Rep.-elect Bernard Hawkins, D-Smithfield, an employee of Providence Water; Rep.-elect Karen Alzate, D-Pawtucket, a case manager at the Providence Center; Rep.-elect Jose Serodio, D-East Providence, owner of America Travel Co.; Rep.-elect Liana Cassar, D-Barrington, a consultant with Global Health Media Project and a former Peace Corps member; Rep.-elect Laufton Ascencao, D-Bristol, founder of Resist Hate RI; and Rep.-elect Terri Cortvriend, D-Portsmouth, owner of Ocean Link, a marine plumbing business.
Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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