Paiva Weed re-elected president
Rhode Island District Court Associate Judge Colleen Hastings administered the oath of office to Paiva Weed, who then addressed the chamber.
“I am deeply humbled by the honor you have bestowed upon me, and I will continue to do all I can to live up to the trust you have placed in me,” she said.
Paiva Weed, a Democrat, was re-elected president by an overwhelming 37-1 vote. The only state senator to vote against her was Republican Dawson Hodgson. Middletown Sen. Lou DiPalma nominated Paiva Weed.
Paiva Weed, who represents Newport and Jamestown, served as Senate majority leader from 2004 through 2008. First elected in 1992, she previously served as chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, vice chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee, and chairwoman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Pubic Safety and the Environment.
Paiva Weed is the first woman to serve as presiding officer in either chamber in Rhode Island history. She is also the first woman to serve as majority leader in either chamber, and the first woman to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee.
During her tenure as president of the Senate, which began during the most severe economic recession in the nation since the Great Depression, Paiva Weed has presided over many historic reforms, including enactment of the education funding formula, a restructure of the income tax to bring the top marginal rate from 10 percent to 6 percent, and passage of the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act.
In 2013, Paiva Weed says the Senate will address the factors that cause Rhode Island to rank poorly in national rankings for business friendliness.
“Working together, with our partners in the public and private sectors, we will focus on economic development with a renewed sense of urgency to ensure families financial security and prosperity,” she said. “We will take steps this session to develop a long-term vision for economic success.”
On the House side, Providence Rep. Gordon Fox was re-elected speaker of the House of Representatives by a 66-6 vote.
Following re-election, Fox recited Abraham Lincoln: “The struggle of today is not altogether for today. It is for a vast future also. With a reliance on Providence all the more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task which events have devolved upon us.”
Said Fox, “This was his first address to Congress. He was elected in 1860, and he was quite literally trying to keep a country preserved. We don’t have such a daunting task ahead of us on New Year’s Day in 2013. But much like Congress in 1861, what we do today is for the long term. We have a long, festering problem that was triggered by the great recession of 2008, and we’ve had a slow moving economy ever since.
“We must make the right decisions in this session to pave the way for a brighter future. We have to believe it, and we have to fight for it. There is nothing more important in our state than turning this economy around after a national recession that has impacted us so strongly for several years.”