Deborah Ruggiero (D) has served the residents of Jamestown and Middletown in District 74 since first being elected in November 2008. A Deputy Majority Leader, she is the chairwoman of the House Committee on Small Business. She serves as a member of the House Committee on Finance and is the chairwoman of the Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and Transportation. She is also the co-chair of the Special Legislative Commission on Defense Economy Planning.
Aside from her legislative duties, she is president of DR Communications Group, an advertising and marketing company. The native Rhode Islander is the creator and host of the award-winning radio show, “Amazing Women,” that highlights Rhode Island women that make a difference. She is also a member of Save the Bay and Jamestown Rotary.
Representative Ruggiero has championed legislation assisting the agricultural and seafood communities, improving home care patient rights, expanding renewable energy opportunities and supporting economic development at Rhode Island’s ports. She co-chaired the Joint Port Facilities Study Commission, which developed several recommendations to help the state’s economy.
As chairperson of the Small Business Renewable Energy Commission, she helped enact several comprehensive renewable energy laws to help reduce dependency on fossil fuels. She has been a leader in sponsoring numerous renewable energy laws, including several encouraging distributed generation, that promote good economic and environmental policy.
In 2014, she co-chaired the task force that studied the nexus of mental health laws and gun rights following the 2012 Newtown, Conn., school shooting and sponsored the resulting law requiring Rhode Island to submit more data to the national database used to screen gun purchases.
She was the sponsor of the Safe Schools Act, Rhode Island’s anti-bullying law. She also sponsored legislation to remove regulations on small businesses.
In 2012, the Rhode Island State Nurses Association named her “Legislator of the Year” for her approach to health care issues. In 2011, the YWCA Northern Rhode Island recognized her as “a rising political star.”
She was born on April 2, 1958. A resident of Jamestown, she holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. She’s an avid golfer and loves to cook.