PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island General Assembly will hit the ground running in 2013, opening its session on New Year’s Day and delving into issues such as taxes, economic development, same-sex marriage and gun control early in the year.
The perennially Democrat-heavy legislature will be even more so this year. Of the 75 member of the House of Representatives, 69 are Democrats and only six will have an R after their names. In the 38-member Senate, 32 are Democrats and just five are Republicans with one independent, Lincoln’s Sen. Edward O’Neill. Of the 24 members newly elected in November, just one, Rep.-elect Antonio Giarrusso, is a Republican, representing East Greenwich and West Greenwich.
Locally, newly-elected lawmakers, all Democrats, include Rep.-elect Mia A. Ackerman, who represents District 45, which includes northern sections of Cumberland and Lincoln, replacing former Rep. Rene Menard who she defeated in a primary election in September; Rep.-elect Gregg Amore from East Providence’s District 65, succeeding longtime Rep. John Savage, who did not seek re-election; Rep.-elect Stephen M. Casey from Woonsocket’s District 50, he replaces Rep. Jon Brien, who also lost a primary as well as a write-in campaign in November; Rep.-elect Gregory J. Costantino of District 44, which represents parts of Lincoln, Smithfield and Johnston, he replaces Rep. Peter Petrarca who he defeated in the primary. Rep.-elect Katherine S. Kazarian who will represent District 33, covering parts of Pawtucket and East Providence, she replaces Rep. Roberto DaSilva, who left the House to run an unsuccessful campaign for a state Senate seat; Sen.-elect Stephen R. Archambault from District 22, representing parts of North Smithfield and Smithfield, replacing Sen. John Tassoni, who did not seek re-election; Sen.-elect William J. Conley Jr. of East Providence’s District 18, succeeding Sen. Frank DeVall, who did not seek re-election, and Sen.-elect Ryan Pearson in District 19, covering most of Cumberland and Lincoln, he defeated Republican Sen. Bethany Moura in the November election.
Both House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed are expected to be re-elected to their respective leadership post at the start of each chamber’s session. Both have been nominated by large majorities of their Democratic caucuses.
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