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Rhode Island Has a New House Speaker

Nicholas Mattiello replaced Gordon Fox.

New Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. Credit: Rhode Island General Assembly
New Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. Credit: Rhode Island General Assembly

State Rep. Nicholas Mattiello, D-Cranston, is Rhode Island's new House speaker.

Mattiello was elected Tuesday as the replacement for Gordon Fox,  who resigned over the weekend following a criminal probe.

Below is a news release announcing Mattiello's election:

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The House of Representatives today elected Rep. Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) its Speaker.

During a caucus today, Democratic representatives also elected a new slate of leaders: Rep. John J. DeSimone (D-Dist. 5, Providence) as Majority Leader, Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton Portsmouth) as Majority Whip, and Rep. Joseph S. Almeida (D-Dist. 12, Providence) as Deputy Majority Whip.

“I have only been a representative for seven-plus years, and I was never involved in politics before that. I have no long allegiances or political ties to anyone,” Speaker Mattiello told his fellow representatives after he accepted their approval. “I have a different style. There will be a much greater emphasis on collaboration in the decision-making process among everyone in this room, Democrats and Republicans alike. There is no shortage of good ideas, whether they come from freshmen or members with more than 20 years experience.”

In his remarks, Speaker Mattiello thanked former speaker Gordon D. Fox for his leadership, and said he accepted the mantel of speaker with a heavy heart after the former speaker’s resignation Saturday. He promised to get to work immediately with his fellow legislators on their “No. 1 issue: jobs and the economy.”

“People want to work, and I am committed to collaborating with businesses to grow jobs and put people back to work. I believe there are policies and legislative opportunities that will support these goals,” he said. “There needs to be better balance with our financial policies and the impact on the business community. We want Rhode Island to be an attractive business destination and we must improve our regional competitiveness… We must make it easier to do business and remove so much bureaucracy.”

Sixty-one representatives voted in favor of electing Speaker Mattiello, who had previously served as the Majority Leader, the House’s second-in-command, since February 2010. He was first elected to the House in 2006, and has served on the Finance, Judiciary and Rules committees.

A self-employed attorney concentrating in personal injury and family law, Speaker Mattiello, 50, is a 1988 graduate of Suffolk University School of Law and is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association. He earned his undergraduate degree from Boston Collegein 1985 and is a 1981 graduate of La Salle Academy. He and his wife, Mary Ann, have two sons, Nicholas, a 21-year-old University of Rhode Island student; and Anthony, who is 19 and attends Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire.

Cranston resident since he was 7, his law office is on Park Avenue and he still attends his childhood church, Immaculate Conception Church in Garden Hills, and is a member of the St. Mary’s Feast Society and Oaklawn Grange.

Speaker Mattiello was a cosponsor of landmark 2011 pension reform legislation and worked closely with General Treasurer Gina Raimondo in crafting the legislation and working out compromises to make the bill fairer to taxpayers, state employees and retirees.  

He was also a cosponsor of the state’s education funding formula, which was enacted in 2010 after the state went 15 years without one. He has been a committed advocate for elderly, community hospitals, schools and business, among others.

Below is a statement from Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed:

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“I am pleased to offer congratulations on behalf of the Senate to Speaker Mattiello. I have enjoyed a good working relationship with him during his tenure as majority leader, and I look forward to working with him and his leadership team to address the serious challenges facing Rhode Island.”

Bruce Zarembka March 26, 2014 at 02:44 PM
Two Words: Term Limits
george goncalo March 26, 2014 at 04:18 PM
Speaker of a house of idiots. Wow, what an honor.
Einstein March 26, 2014 at 05:19 PM
Wonderfull! I Wonder hope long it will be before he and his Stooges will be arrested. He was hand-picked by Gordon Fox... That, in itself, speaks volumes.
Lotta Krapp March 26, 2014 at 09:19 PM
: Leo Skenyon, has had a long career as an administrator in the state court system. His last reported salary: $109,204.81" Wasn't Skenyon the "Administrator" who somehow couldn't account for MILLIONS at the Traffic Tribunal.... What a joke!!!! Yup, Mattiello is going to broker "change"... ROFLMAO
Tom Badger May 07, 2014 at 07:19 PM
one wiggled his fanny with glee and this one will wiggle his forehead with glee . Same thing , different place .

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