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49 Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island PAC-endorsed candidates win their General Assembly elections

(Providence, RI) — In Tuesday’s general election, voters once again demonstrated overwhelming support for sexual and reproductive health and rights in Rhode Island. The results are in: 49 of the 52 candidates endorsed by Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island Political Action Committee (PPV!RI PAC) won their races, representing 18 districts in the Senate and 31 in the House of Representatives. In both chambers, these wins reflect the largest number of PPV!RI PAC-endorsed General Assembly members in history. (Please note these outcomes are based on unofficial results as reported by RI Board of Elections.)

“This election, Rhode Islanders overwhelmingly elected champions who support sexual and reproductive health and rights — further affirming that these are important, critical issues for voters,” said Amanda Skinner, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island (PPV!RI) and a member of PPV!RI PAC. “Since 2016, Rhode Islanders have voted for candidates who will safeguard fundamental reproductive rights and ensure access to health care in record numbers. The outcome of the 2020 General Assembly election sends an undeniable message — the people of Rhode Island demand strong champions who will protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care and lead the fight to advance reproductive freedom.”

The 2016 and 2018 elections saw a surge of support for reproductive rights in Rhode Island and, as a result, 42 PPV!RI PAC-endorsed elected officials currently serve in the Rhode Island General Assembly. 2020 wins shatter this record with 49 endorsed candidates on their way to the State House next legislative session.

“A just society honors women’s rights and women’s experiences,” said PPV!RI PAC-endorsed candidate Meghan Kallman, who won her general election after succeeding in a three-way primary for the open Senate District 15 seat in Pawtucket and North Providence. “Being a strong proponent of sexual and reproductive health and rights was a cornerstone of my campaign, and being endorsed by PPV!RI PAC was key to my victory. The voters of Rhode Island clearly support champions of reproductive freedom. It’s also clear that, as we elect more women, we are seeing women’s needs and experiences reflected more consistently at the State House. These are all positive trends, as we move towards building a stronger and more inclusive state.”

Leonela Felix, a PPV!RI PAC-endorsed challenger who unseated incumbent Rep. Ray Johnston, who voted against the Reproductive Privacy Act of 2019, in Pawtucket’s House District 61 during the primary, added, “Women should have the right to make choices about their lives. Period. I was honored to have the support of the PPV!RI PAC because I know they share my commitment to removing barriers to health care and reproductive freedom for all women and particularly for women of color and women from low-income communities. We can see across our state that voters want to support candidates who will champion the rights of women, including reproductive rights.”

In 2019, our champions were crucial in passing the Reproductive Privacy Act of 2019 (RPA), codifying the right to safe, legal abortion in Rhode Island state law: 17 PAC-endorsed champions elected since 2016 helped secure the four-vote margin of victory in the Senate and the 16-vote margin of victory in the House. Next session, newly elected leaders and returning incumbents will be instrumental in enacting policies and legislation that will continue the progress we’ve made to advance reproductive freedom for all Rhode Islanders.

“Working with these newly elected and returning champions, we will move Rhode Island forward to tackle injustice in our health care system,” added Craig O’Connor, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for PPV!RI and a member of PPV!RI PAC. “Together, we can address health care disparities by passing legislation to ensure Medicaid coverage of doula services and abortion, protecting the essential benefits of the Affordable Care Act in Rhode Island state law, and increasing access to health care by expanding telehealth services.”

 Although the final results of national elections are still unclear, voters across America and here in Rhode Island are demanding increased access to sexual and reproductive health care. Ballots are still being counted – every voice and every vote matters. “While there is much to celebrate here in Rhode Island, it will take time to make sure every vote is counted across the country,” said Skinner. “We know that the demand for change was clear and powerful. Planned Parenthood advocacy organizations, including Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island, will continue fighting to ensure every voice is heard and every vote is counted.”

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2020 PPV!RI PAC-ENDORSED GENERAL ELECTION WINNERS:

Senate

Gayle Goldin* (District 3)
Samuel Bell* (District 5)
Tiara Mack (District 6)
Sandra Cano* (District 8)
James Seveney* (District 11)
Dawn Euer* (District 13)
Valarie Lawson* (District 14)
Meghan Kallman (District 15)
Jonathon Acosta (District 16)
Ryan Pearson* (District 19)
Melissa Murray* (District 24)
Hanna M. Gallo* (District 27)
Joshua Miller* (District 28)
Kendra Anderson (District 31)
Cynthia Armour Coyne* (District 32)
Bridget Valverde* (District 35)
Alana Dimario (District 36)
V. Susan Sosnowski* (District 37)

House of Representatives

Edith H. Ajello* (District 1)
Christopher Blazejewski* (District 2)
Rebecca Kislak* (District 4)
Marcia Ranglin-Vassell* (District 5)
David Morales (District 7)
John Lombardi* (District 8)
Anastasia Williams* (District 9)
Brandon Potter (District 16)
Arthur Handy* (District 18)
Joseph McNamara* (District 19)
David Bennett* (District 20)
Evan Shanley* (District 24)
Justine Caldwell* (District 30)
Julie Casimiro* (District 31)
Carol Hagan McEntee* (District 33)
Teresa Ann Tanzi* (District 34)
Kathleen Fogarty* (District 35)
Jean Philippe Barros* (District 59)
Karen Alzate* (District 60)
Leonela Felix (District 61)
Katherine Kazarian* (District 63)
Brianna Henries (District 64)
Liana Cassar* (District 66)
Jason Knight* (District 67)
June Speakman* (District 68)
Susan Donovan* (District 69)
John Edwards* (District 70)
Michelle McGaw (District 71)
Terri Cortvriend* (District 72)
Deborah Ruggiero* (District 74)
Lauren Carson* (District 75)

*indicates incumbent