Portsmouth’s Linda Ujifusa running for vacated Senate seat

Council vice president hopes to succeed Jim Seveney, who’s retiring

Posted 6/14/22

PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Town Council Vice President Linda Ujifusa announced Tuesday she is running for the Rhode Island Senate District 11 (Portsmouth, Bristol) seat being vacated by retiring …

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Portsmouth’s Linda Ujifusa running for vacated Senate seat

Council vice president hopes to succeed Jim Seveney, who’s retiring

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Town Council Vice President Linda Ujifusa announced Tuesday she is running for the Rhode Island Senate District 11 (Portsmouth, Bristol) seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jim Seveney.

“I would like to thank R.I. State Senator Jim Seveney for serving District 11 so well for so many years,” Ujifusa said. “Jim encouraged me to run for office in 2016 and I hope to have the opportunity to continue his good work. I have served three terms on the Town Council and I know that some local challenges are best addressed at the state level.”

Ujifusa said she would focus on state legislation that addresses environmental protection, affordable healthcare and housing, innovative solutions to Rhode Island’s economic challenges, and greater government transparency.

Ujifusa said that during her tenure on the Town Council, the council implemented fiscally responsible management of town services, assets and schools. It also secured safety audits of East Main and West Main roads, as well as grants for climate change resiliency, including flood management in Common Fence Point and Island Park, and water system improvements on Prudence Island. The council also partnered with a non-profit to build a new senior center with affordable senior housing units, improved emergency management procedures, and expanded the parks and rec program, she said.

In the past few years, Ujifusa noted, the town effectively dealt with ever-changing COVID challenges. Among the town’s successful efforts was the establishment of new procedures that enabled Portsmouth to continue to conduct business and public meetings, she said. It also organized a food bank and vaccination clinics, and assisted local businesses.

“Having volunteered at the Portsmouth and Bristol COVID vaccination clinics, I saw firsthand how public employees and private individuals can work effectively in the best interests of our community. I believe that together we can overcome any challenges we face,” she said.

Ujifusa was formerly an attorney in the private sector and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She graduated from Harvard College and from NYU School of Law. She served as chair of the Aquidneck Land Trust and is chair of a non-profit organization that advocates for universal, affordable healthcare. Working with state legislators, she has also helped draft state legislation and has testified at State House hearings.

Ms. Ujifusa is married to J. Mark Ryan, MD, a primary care physician. Their three children, John, Katie and Jamie, attended Portsmouth public schools.

Senate District 11 currently includes part of Tiverton, but this year’s redistricting plan took that town out of the district effective this November.

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