2010-10-14 / News

Paiva Weed seeks tenth term in R.I. Senate

By Holly Benton

M. Teresa Paiva Weed M. Teresa Paiva Weed Current Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed says it’s been an honor to serve as Rhode Island’s first female Senate president during the time of one of the state’s most challenging budgets.

Paiva Weed — first elected to the R.I. Senate in 1992 — is currently seeking re-election to the seat that serves residents of Jamestown and Newport in District 13.

Elected in 2009 to serve as president of the Senate, Paiva Weed is also a former Senate Majority Leader, vice chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee and deputy chair of the Finance Subcommittee on Public Safety and the Environment. She also served as the Senate’s first woman chairperson of the Judiciary Committee.

“After two years [as president in the Senate], I believe I’ve demonstrated the ability to make the difficult decisions necessary,” Paiva Weed said. “As we go forward, I believe that it’s going to be very important to keep the momentum that we have right now in our state and continue to create jobs in the renewable energy sector and implement the small business reforms which we have enacted.”

Supporting the advancement of green technology, advocating for renewable energy, supporting small businesses and fostering job creation in Rhode Island have been focal points throughout Paiva Weed’s term as Senate president.

“When I was first elected and then re-elected, I made it a priority to make it easy to do business in Rhode Island,” she said.

She added that visiting with a number of local businesses to develop a package that involves legislation that cuts red tape and focuses on work force development has hopefully made doing business easier for the state’s residents.

“I anticipate, over the next two years, that we will develop those initiatives further, hopefully with a focus on the community college here in our state,” Paiva Weed said.

Bringing the Community College of Rhode Island to Newport has been a consistent effort from Paiva Weed, who created CCRI’s 21st Century Workforce Commission.

She has also ensured that training is accessible to workers, in an effort

to make sure they are equipped with the skills required to succeed. She has focused on the expansion of the CCRI campus in Newport and provided funding for the community college.

“I’ve worked hard to bring CCRI to Newport County,” Paiva Weed said. “I believe CCRI is going to play a very important role as we move forward and re-train — as well as train — individuals for employment opportunities. I really believe in CCRI.”

Opposed to the much-debated liquefied natural gas proposal and deeply invested in the protection of Jamestown and Newport’s environment, Paiva Weed said she believes that renewable energy projects and opportunities are important.

“I’ve been very committed to protecting our environment,” she said. “I’ve appointed a taskforce to hold a public hearing and raise awareness on the LNG proposal. I’ve opposed the LNG proposal. We have worked successfully to create a small business package and laid the groundwork for renewable energy opportunities within our state.”

A proponent of the state’s “Race to the Top” application — a federal program designed to encourage reforms in state and local K-12 education — and a supporter of Rhode Island schools, Paiva Weed said she has also passed legislation allowing for more charter schools and has supported afterschool programs to better the education of elementary school children.

With confidence in the successes that have resulted from her time spent as Senate president, Paiva Weed believes in what she has done for Newport and Jamestown.

“It’s been a real privilege to have the opportunity to be the first woman Senate President,” she said. “I have worked closely with the governor and the House of Representatives successfully over the past year to move our state forward. There are many challenges in these difficult economic times, but I believe that we’ve met those challenges. And yet, I think that balances with ensuring that Jamestown’s voice is heard.”

Paiva Weed’s aspiration to run for re-election stems from her belief in the success of her term as Senate president and her desire to prolong the momentum she’s gained.

“I chose to run again because I believe we have had the most successful year in the General Assembly since I was first elected,” she said. “I think that one of the hallmarks, one of the things that I’ve attempted to do, is bring people together. An example of that [is] the charter schools. We passed legislation, which was critical to our success in the Race to the Top application.”

A lifelong resident of Newport, Paiva Weed attended Providence College, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree. She later attended law school in Washington, D.C., where she earned a law degree. In her free time, Paiva Weed enjoys reading, walking and spending time at the beach.

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