Read Representative Ruggiero’s letter to Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin calling for the release of 38 Studios records:
August 15, 2016
Read Representative Ruggiero’s letter to Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin calling for the release of 38 Studios records:
August 15, 2016
November 2013, Bridges Inc. opened Hammett Court in Jamestown providing affordable housing for 8 people with developmental disabilities. Nick, is one of 8 people (see photo) who will be living at Hammett Court. Rep. Deb Ruggiero attended the ribbon cutting at HAMMETT COURT in Jamestown which is providing affordable housing as well employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
December 10, 2013
Download and read Representative Ruggiero’s 2013 Newsletter!
November 25, 2013
Press Contact: Cindy Butler
SPHR, Government Affairs Director:
March 28, 2011
Representative Deborah Ruggiero to Receive Outstanding Public Servant Award
(Providence, RI 3/28/2011) The RI State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) will present their 2011 Outstanding Public Servant Award to Representative Deborah Ruggiero on April 6, 2011 at their a at the Providence Marriott. This award acknowledges the remarkable contributions of Representative Ruggiero for advocating for legislation that affects positive changes in the workplace and promoting open and transparent government.
The RISC SHRM Outstanding Public Service Award recognizes the contributions of a public servant who has promoted, sponsored, or initiated beneficial workplace legislation and has an awareness of the value of human resource professionals in the legislative process. In 2009, as a freshman representative, Ruggiero assumed a lead role opposing bill (2009-H 5983A) that proposed to eliminate the Office of the RI Health Insurance Commissioner in the state budget. Created in 2004, the OHIC is an agency that was established to protect consumers, encourage fair treatment for medical service providers, ensure the solvency of health insurers and improve the health care system’s quality, accessibility and affordability. As the only watchdog agency in the state overseeing the insurers, the OHIC plays a critical role and is an invaluable resource for employers and employees, ensuring transparency in the rate increase process and promoting dialogue with all stakeholders. RI SHRM joined a business coalition to retain the OHIC and Representative Ruggiero presented an amendment to reinstate the office. Ultimately legislative leaders agreed to do so in a budget amendment.
During her tenure as State Representative, Ruggiero has been a champion for small business, economic development and job growth in the state and has sponsored legislation in support of business, recognizing the challenges HR professionals face in hiring and retaining a qualified workforce. initiatives include sponsoring legislation for open government and transparency to put General Assembly votes on line (2010-H 7202), urging Health Insurance Commissioner Koller to reject Blue Cross & Blue Shield of application for a rate increase for small and large group plans and sponsoring H. Bill 5184 which would allow employers to pay employee’s wages on a bi-weekly or semi-monthly basis.
RI SHRM’s Government Affairs Director, Cindy Butler stated . “Representative Ruggiero is a true advocate advocate for business; she has encouraged Human Resource’s involvement in shaping public policy. It is refreshing to have a legislator that welcomes our opinion and is responsive to acting on key issues that are facing RI employers in this difficult business climate, including those impacted by healthcare reform. We are truly pleased to honor her with our 2011 Outstanding Public Servant Award.”
Download PDF: Ruggiero Public Servant Award
March 29, 2011
By Tim Riel
Now in her second term, state Rep. Deb Ruggiero continues to get more confident on Capitol Hill in Providence. As the District 74 representative serving Jamestown and Middletown, the island resident has been active in legislation lately to do her part to improve the condition of Rhode Island.
“It’s been great,” said Ruggiero, who was re-elected in November by comfortably winning 53 percent of the vote in a three-way race. “I’m really honored to serve. It’s remarkable to be a steward of the state.”
Most recently, Ruggiero has focused her attentions on two bills – the “Safe Schools Act” and legislation that would establish a tax holiday on the second or third August of each year. Read the full Story…
March 21, 2011
If there’s a new issue that comes up, you can be sure Ruggerio has been hard at work researching it, one Democrat Party activist says. Ruggerio has only been in the House for two years, but she’s already established herself as a leader on the environment, economic development, and small business. She’s also regarded as a great communicator and a lawmaker who balances constituent interests with what’s good for the state as a whole. We hear that Speaker Gordon Fox could make her the co-chair of the Joint Commission to Study Economic Development of Port Facilities in RI. This host of the “Amazing Women” radio show seems to have certainly earned that title for herself.Read the whole story….
January 24, 2011
“State Rep Deb Ruggiero – In a district that had been represented by a Republican for more than 25 years before her 2008 victory, Ruggiero cruised to a convincing win in 2010, more than 15 points ahead of her GOP opponent and winning more than 51 percent in a three-way race in a district that likely did not give that high a vote total to any statewide Democrat except Raimondo, proving that aggressive campaigning and personal contact is the key to state legislative campaigns.”
Republished from GoLocalProv.com
Friday, November 05, 2010
What was the best election campaign? The worst? GoLocalProv asked its MINDSETTERS™—Republicans, Democrats, and independents—to weigh in. Here is what they had to say.
Gina Raimondo – No one ever was even close to providing a serious challenge to her in either a primary or general election, which is impressive given that she was a first-time candidate and had some liabilities as a venture capitalist. She basically cleared the field from the start as an inspiring woman candidate with amazing fundraising prowess. Her campaign worked hard—and it paid off, with Raimondo getting a higher percentage and a greater number of votes than any other statewide Democratic candidate. A rising star in the Democratic Party, she has a bright future ahead of her.
Best Campaign and Best Rookie – John Loughlin He had the perfect blend of grassroots on the ground accessibility in his district combined with effective multi-media exposure. He was well versed in the issues and never tripped up in the debates. He was responsive, organized and flexible. He stood his ground and appeared confident in his humorous, yet direct retorts to some of his opponent’s accusations. His only real mistake: being slow out of the box after the primary and going socially conservative. Why? Were Tea Party folks really going to vote for Cicilline?
Best campaign that wasn’t a campaign – Bob Healey Charmed the GOP into embracing his historic stance on the Lieutenant Governor position and made it part of the fiscal fitness mantra that the GOP extols. He received more votes than Chafee and he was effective in his media appearances—especially when he exposed Roberts’ chief of staff as making $165,000. Ended up winning more votes than Chafee and gave Roberts a run for her money. Not too bad for a guy who spent only $10,000 and didn’t have a staff.
Lincoln Chafee – Surprisingly gaffe-free for a candidate known for his misstatements and off-the-cuff style. He somehow even managed to turn the J.R. Pagliarini story against the Caprio camp by turning the focus onto the leaking of J.R.’s personal information. Overcame some silly Schilling statements about the sock and turned it on Caprio—may be the key to the momentum shift.
State Rep Deb Ruggiero – In a district that had been represented by a Republican for more than 25 years before her 2008 victory, Ruggiero cruised to a convincing win in 2010, more than 15 points ahead of her GOP opponent and winning more than 51 percent in a three-way race in a district that likely did not give that high a vote total to any statewide Democrat except Raimondo, proving that aggressive campaigning and personal contact is the key to state legislative campaigns.
Catherine Taylor – No one knew her. Convinced everyone she was smart, tough, and energetic. With a break here or there would have won by 5 points. Likely threat for Congress or Governor in 2012 or 2014 respectively. Watch out boys.
Peter Kilmartin – One of the few legislative leaders ever to break out and win statewide. Not since Bob Weygand ran as a committee chair for Congress has someone gone from a leadership position and won (Kennedy and Langevin were both “outsiders” in the power structure). Ran the perfect primary and then benefited from Little and McKenna sucking votes away from Wallin.
Honorable Mention – David Cicilline Stayed on message, escaped the Providence chaos, and held on against Loughlin’s late push.
Absolute Worst – Kerry King It’s a tie with the other worst campaign in recent Rhode Island history—King’s campaign for lieutenant governor in 2006. King played golf all summer and did nothing on his campaign. On second thought, maybe it wasn’t the worst campaign because there was no campaign. Bright side—he won every vote at Point Judith and the Dunes Club.
Frank Caprio – How the heck can the best-funded, no primary contest, statewide name recognition candidate lose this race? He was the leader, but didn’t act like the leader. He was reactive when he should have scoffed off the competition and held the high ground. He should have said “SHOVEL IT” as he was the one who dug the hole. If he had acted like the Governor, he would have won.
RI Clean Slate – The whole GOP effort to “throw the bums out” was a flop. They toppled a grand total of four General Assembly incumbents—Carter, Rice, and Pollard in the House, and Levesque in the senate—and have fewer seats in the upcoming term than they did even from 2007 to 2008. Guess those obscure bus signs were a waste of $100,000. Compare that to the nine Democratic House incumbents who lost their seats in primaries. By the way, not a single one of those nine seats went to Republicans in November.
The Three Write-in Stooges – Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, Doug Gablinske, and Al Gemma. Memorable? Apparently not enough for voters in their district to write in the names of these three sore Democratic primary losers.
Honorable Mention – Moderate Party Candidates Ran on change, but de facto sucked the votes away from challengers and helped the Democratic AG candidate and the Chafee campaign.
Most Boring Campaign – Liz Roberts In a race that drew a cast of colorful characters – Cool Moose Bob Healey, cable show host Bob Venturini, and Red Sox executive Jeremy Kapstein – Roberts kept things ho-hum. But that ad with the “Jaws” music did spice things up a little bit near the end of her campaign.
November 8, 2010
From the Oct 18, 2010 edition
By Chris Barrett
PBN Staff Writer
Rhode Island lawmakers face a barrage of advice on renewable energy. Suggestions come from the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management, the R.I. Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council, the R.I. Office of Energy Resources, the governor’s office, industry groups and individual companies.
Rep. Deborah Ruggiero, D-Jamestown, says all that advice is nice, but it rarely translates into legislative action. On Oct. 21 she was scheduled to convene a committee of lawmakers, state officials, business executives and academics to discuss legislative ways to advance the adoption and development of renewable energy in the state, particularly by small businesses.
“A lot of the state agencies come out with great ideas, great white papers, but you have to put it into policy,” Ruggiero said.
The freshman Democrat sponsored a House resolution earlier this year to establish the R.I. Small Business Renewable Energy Task Force. The 13-member group includes Ruggiero, Rep. Laurence Ehrhardt – a Republican representing North Kingstown – and officials from the EDC, DEM, and Office of Energy Resources joined by business leaders and academics.
Ruggiero said she’s intentionally putting few boundaries on topics to leave the floor open for discussion. Broadly, Ruggiero said she wants the task force to listen to the hurdles small businesses face when attempting to install a renewable energy system like solar panels. She also wants to know if small companies can meet energy-efficiency standards required by an increasing number of companies and government agencies, including Wal-Mart and the U.S. Department of Defense.
And she broached the idea of crafting a law modeled after the Massachusetts Green Communities Act. That law, passed in 2008, requires utilities to purchase some of their electricity from renewable energy projects, something Rhode Island also has on the books. But unlike Rhode Island, the Bay State law created a grant program to pay cash to communities that took steps to reduce their community’s energy consumption and encourage renewable energy installations.
Ruggiero said she expected some type of draft legislation to emerge from her committee. The resolution creating the task force requires a report by March 1, 2011. Ruggiero insists the report will come and she’ll do her part to ensure it won’t end up buried or ignored like so many legislative task force reports.
“I’m a doer,” she said. “I don’t just want to talk about things. I want to do it.”
To help her, she recruited Eric Offenberg, the CEO of Middletown-based renewable energy company rTerra Renewable Energy Partners, along with Mike Ryan, an executive vice president at National Grid and Bruce Dawson, vice president at Cranston-based Central Tools Co.
“It feels very much a step in the right direction that the legislature is looking more to involve and attract and listen to the small-business community,” Dawson said.
Dawson said Central Tools may not pay the same eye-popping energy bills as some of the state’s largest employers, but energy represents a significant cost for businesses like his. Dawson said he is hopeful the task force will provide a platform for small businesses to express their concerns directly to lawmakers. Possible topics he envisions being tackled include discussing a statewide regulation governing the placement of technologies like solar panels and wind turbines. Also potentially on the docket is a discussion of how that state can encourage energy conservation by small businesses or reduce the costs for undertaking conservation projects. Or perhaps the state can find a way to let small-business owners band together and purchase electricity to take advantage of large-customer discounts.
Mostly, Dawson wants small-business people such as himself to come to the task force meetings and push lawmakers to do more than talk.
“For years we’ve complained,” he said. “Now it’s time to participate or shut up.”
October 22, 2010
78 Columbia Avenue – Jamestown, RI 02835 – 401-423-0444
Sept 18, 2010
A year and a half ago, when I knocked on your door and asked for your vote, I promised to be accessible, responsive, and accountable.
I am writing today to tell you about my first term in office, and how I believe I have fulfilled those promises.
I am honored to serve as your State Representative in Jamestown and Middletown.
As I thank you for your support and confidence, I want to share some of the most important things I’ve learned over nearly two years and— with hopes that I can count on your vote again—what I would like to accomplish in my second term.
I came into office committed to listening, being responsive, and working hard. It has helped me do a great deal in my first two years in office.
As a freshman legislator, my top priority was making sure that the voices of Middletown and Jamestown were heard on Smith Hill.
That’s why I worked with the Jamestown Town Council and Town Administrator to pass into law a Juvenile Hearing Board in Jamestown. I worked with the Middletown Town Council and Town Administrator to pass into law a property tax exemption for Middletown residents over 65 with income limitations.
It’s why I’ve worked with community stakeholders to oppose the HESS/LNG offshore facility in Mt. Hope Bay. It’s clear that this ill advised plan will be detrimental to our local economy and environment.
And it’s why I made it a priority to meet with, listen to, and work with local business owners about jump starting the economy and creating more jobs, especially within the key economic engines in Jamestown— tourism, retail, and the marine industry.
Over the past 2 years, I’ve been focusing on ensuring that the development of the Navy’s 225 acres of surplus property achieves the greatest possible economic opportunity for Aquidneck Island. This reuse project is the most significant disposition of federal land since Quonset Point. How this land is developed is critical to Jamestown’s economy as well economic development for Aquidneck Island and all of Rhode Island.
Finally, education is fundamental to economic development. Young people need to know that we care about their future. It’s why I make sure to take the time to work with young people. I speak with students at the Lawn Avenue School and at North Kingstown High School about the importance of education, career choices, civics, mentoring, and the value of public service.
I am honored to serve. I take the time to read every bill asking myself three key questions which guide my analysis: “Who will this bill benefit? What will it cost my neighbors in Jamestown or the state of Rhode Island? And who, if anyone, will this hurt?” And I so appreciate hearing from my constituents on a regular basis so that I know where you stand on these important issues.
I know that the most important task I have as a legislator is to make sure that Rhode Islanders can get back to work. For the past two years, I’ve been working with the Small Business Association of New England so we can make it easier to do business in this state. We don’t need more taxes, we need more taxpayers. And that means we need more jobs.
I’m a native Rhode Islander, a businesswoman, and a community leader, and I love this state. That’s why I see my role in government as creating policies that help business—especially small business— create jobs.
Because small business employs 60% of our Rhode Island workforce, I am honored to serve on the House Committee for Small Business. My role is to be a voice at the table for these critical economic generators and to make sure that we are best positioned for growth when we come out of this recession—and we will indeed come out into better economic times.
We can make economic strides using good common sense. For example, when I attended the Small Business Expo. I learned in one of the workshops that two Rhode Island companies had always competed for a state contract and one of them always won. But last year the bid went to a Massachusetts company. This angered me. How could the State of Rhode Island give a project with a large number of jobs to another state?
As a result, I sponsored legislation that requires the state purchasing office to select a Rhode Island business when it considers state contracts, all things being equal, when the company is headquartered in Rhode Island, paying taxes, and employing our neighbors. The bill is now Rhode Island law, and now our residents will have more job opportunities.
I must tell you that this job is about tough challenges and making very hard decisions. These are unprecedented economic times.
For over 40 years, people talked about Rhode Island’s 9.9% income tax being a deterrent for businesses to relocate here. I am proud to have voted to reduce the 9.9% to 5.9% putting Rhode Island in line with Massachusetts (5.3%) and Connecticut (6.5%), and improving our national rank and competitiveness. It means new jobs for our families, and new college graduates who want to stay here and make Rhode Island their home.
And there are other things that government can do to help businesses get access to the capital they need to grow. That’s why I supported the Industrial Recreational Building Authority (IRBA), which allows the state to guarantee up to $60 million dollars in loans to help companies get the money they need to expand and grow business. And I co-sponsored the business bill that increased the Economic Development Corporation’s board to include four small business members instead of just one.
Besides the importance of creating jobs, the state also has a role in ensuring that all Rhode Islanders get the health coverage that we need. This year, I played a key role in re-instituting the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner when it was cut from the 2010 budget. The Health Insurance Commission is the only office to truly scrutinize rate increases from health insurers and hold the insurers accountable— before we get charged more.
And of course, my other top priority is “Environmental Economics,” putting renewable energy, biofuel, and wind energy at the forefront of economic development. This creates green energy jobs in emerging new industries, and makes us less dependent on fossil fuels.
I am pleased to have co-sponsored the net metering law in Rhode Island. When a town has a surplus of wind energy they can use the credits to cover other accounts or sell it back to the grid for a profit. Using wind energy is the future because we can’t continue to deplete our precious natural resources with irresponsible behavior.
Just like the rivers helped Rhode Island lead the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, the wind off of our cost can help our great state lead in the 21st century. Rhode Island has an opportunity to be a leader in the wind power industry. I will do whatever I can to help those manufacturers who are eyeing Quonset as a prime area for staging and manufacturing for turbine parts to create over 800 jobs in skilled manufacturing.
This job is also about helping people like you— my neighbors. I respond to your calls, emails, and concerns. That’s why I worked hard helping over 25 constituents (perhaps your neighbor or family member), navigate the Department of Labor and Training to help them secure their unemployment insurance so they can pay their bills. It’s about helping an elderly woman secure her handicapped parking sticker from the DMV; and working with the DOT so the damaged stone wall along Helm Street could be repaired because it was a priority for a Jamestown constituent. Your concerns are my concerns.
Finally, all of these efforts need open and transparent government to help them succeed. To that end, I sponsored a bill to put all committee votes online at the General Assembly so that you can know how I vote. While House Leadership did not support my bill, I will keep fighting until we have the open government we deserve.
My parents and grandparents worked hard, saved, and sacrificed their ‘today’ for my ‘tomorrow.’ I’m sure it’s true in your family, too. I am proud to be guided by the values of hard work, honesty, integrity, and perseverance. I promise I will do my part to lead our state and help us get out of our economic crisis.
I am honored to serve as your State Representative. It’s a remarkable experience to be a steward of our great state’s history. I’ve worked hard my first term in office so your voice could be heard.
As the campaign season moves forward and I continue to visit door to door, I look forward to seeing you again, or meeting you for the first time.
I also respectfully ask for your vote on November 2nd. Until then, please call me at
423-0444 with any ideas, questions, or suggestions. You may also visit my website at www.debruggiero.com. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
P.S. Please remember to call me at 423-0444 with any questions, or to get involved in our campaign to create a better Rhode Island.
September 28, 2010
By Phil Zahodiakin
Deborah Ruggiero (D), a Jamestown resident seeking a second term in the R.I. House of Representatives, has accomplished a great deal during her first 18 months as a lawmaker – and she wants to do much more.
Ruggiero, 51, holds the 74th District seat, which encompasses Conanicut Island and a portion of Middletown. In an interview with the Press, she acknowledged that much of her initiation as a state lawmaker involved “learning which knobs to push and levers to pull.”
Nevertheless, Ruggiero – who was born in Providence and raised in Lincoln – quickly engaged in the legislative process, playing an instrumental role in re-instituting the office of health insurance comm issioner after only a few months as a House member.
A former CBS reporter who has managed radio and TV stations, Ruggiero is the director of community development at Citadel Broadcasting. She also hosts a Sunday morning radio program – “Amazing Women” – and she serves on the philanthropic committee of the R.I. Foundation.
But Ruggiero doesn’t allow her personal and professional obligations to distract her from the demands of public service. In fact, so far in 2010, she has sponsored or co-sponsored 61 bills.
Ruggiero hastens to note, however, that she studies every bill she is offered for co-sponsorship, asking three key questions to guide her analysis: “Who will benefit? What will it cost? And, who, if anyone, will be hurt?”
One of the bills she has authored – a measure requiring the state purchasing office to select R.I. businesses (“all things being equal,” she said) for state contracts – was signed into law this year.
“In Rhode Island, small businesses employ 60% of our workforce, and it’s vital that we help them,” she said.
Ruggiero serves on three House committees, including the small business committee. This year, she co-sponsored a bill that expanded to four – from only one – the number of small business owners on the Economic Development Corporation Board.
The EDC bill was enacted on June 29. However, while enjoying several victories on the small business front, one of the bills Ruggiero authored this year – a measure to require committee vote postings on the General Assembly website – died before reaching a floor vote.
“I was very disappointed by that,” Ruggiero said, “but open government is a very important issue, and I absolutely intend to re-introduce that bill.”
During her first run for the 74th district, Ruggiero touted “environmental economics” as one of her key priorities. True to her platform, she last year supported a “net-metering” bill (enacted in June 2009) that enables towns and cities to sell surplus electricity from municipally owned wind turbines – which is the leading argument in support of the turbine proposed for Jamestown.
Ruggiero also co-sponsored a bill requiring companies transporting liquefied natural gas in R.I. waters to provide bond and liability insurance. Moreover, she authored a bill directing the state to establish a renewable energy task force with government, academic and small business representation. Both of those bills have passed the House.
In the arena of business development, Ruggiero is pursuing a wide range of goals. One of them, she says, is “incubating the wealth of talent we have in our state – our life sciences experts, our entrepreneurs and our professionals in many different fields. We have the ‘best and the brightest’ in Rhode Island, and I will advance ideas to help keep them here.”
Ruggiero was herself a rising star when, after graduating Boston College, she went directly to a broadcasting job at CBS radio in Boston.
“I was hired as a ‘morning drive time’ newsperson, and I did that for 10 years,” she said. “I then went into TV [advertising] sales and management [in Providence], and from there, I became the sales manager at a Washington, D.C. TV station. But I missed my family – and Rhode Island – and I came back after a year.”
Ruggiero said that her work in media management has reinforced her emphasis on the value of networking.
“I network in my business,” Ruggiero said, “and I intend to network as a legislator.”
“In fact, I’ve just returned from the Emerging Political Leaders symposium at the University of Virginia,” Ruggiero said, pointing out that her selection to represent Rhode Island was bi-partisan.
Adding that the Virginia trip wasn’t funded with any state money, Ruggiero said that she was “privileged to participate in three days of reflection and critical conversations on government, business, leadership and ethics with leaders from all around the country.”
Ruggiero noted that the ethics piece of those discussions was particularly important to her because “your ethics reflect your values, and the values that ground me in my work are honesty, integrity, respect and kindness – the very same values you would want to teach your children.”
Ruggiero – who has just one assistant at the state House – makes a point of applying those values to the people she represents.
“I respond to every letter, email and voicemail from my constituents,” Ruggiero said. “I don’t always have an answer for them, but it’s very important for the people to be heard. I am honored to serve my constituents, and I have worked very hard on their behalf during these past 18 months, but there is so much more to be done. It never ends.”
The Jamestown Press July 22, 2010.
August 23, 2010
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