STATE HOUSE — With the support of Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello and his colleagues in Tuesday’s Democratic caucus, Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton) has secured a new title: House majority whip.
He will join a new slate of lawmakers who have been cemented as part of the speaker’s leadership panel, including Rep. John J. DeSimone (D-Dist. 5, Providence) as majority leader and Rep. Joseph S. Almeida (D-Dist. 12, Providence) as deputy majority whip.
“It is truly a privilege to serve on the speaker’s newly assembled team,” Rep. Edwards said. “I am pleased that I will be able to use the leadership skills I have cultivated as senior deputy majority leader to serve at the behest of Speaker Mattiello and my colleagues in the House.
“I have a great deal of confidence that we will be able to bring creative and practical ideas to the forefront in order to rebuild what was once a thriving economy here in Rhode Island. More importantly, my constituents will continue to have a strong voice in the chamber. I have fought for their interests and the needs of all Rhode Islanders to the best of my ability since I was first elected in 2008. In that regard, nothing has changed.”
Rep. Edwards, 55, has been an active opponent of tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge and has introduced legislation this year to create a predictable statewide funding source for roads and bridges without the toll.
He has been a strong advocate for government transparency, tenants’ rights, and cracking down on industrial polluters, among other issues. He was also the lead sponsor for the 2012 bill that decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Prior to his 2008 victory in the District 70 race, Rep. Edwards served on the Tiverton Town Council. Since he became a state representative, he has served on the Labor, Small Business and Veterans’ Affairs committees.
He is a 1983 graduate of Northeastern University, graduated from St. George’s School in 1976, and is a 1975 graduate of Le Centre Scholaire St. Marc in Lyon, France.
He and his wife, Donna, have three children: John, Kelsey and Mae. A project manager for the construction firm H.V. Collins Company, he is past chairman of Associated Builders and Contractors Rhode Island, and has been active in the Tiverton Land Trust, Friends of the Tiverton Library, Caritas RI, the Tiverton Lions Club, the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, the National Eagle Scout Association, Save the Bay and Clean Water Action.