House Speaker, Senate President appoint panel for General Assembly, congressional district reapportionment

STATE HOUSE — Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) have announced their appointments of members of the state’s special reapportionment commission.

The state constitution calls for the General Assembly to reapportion its districts as well as the two congressional districts after each 10-year federal census. The last census took place in 2020.

“Redistricting is an important and often challenging task that needs to be done in a fair and transparent way,” said Speaker Shekarchi. “I’m confident that the pool of talent, experience and professionalism that we’ve gathered together on this commission will come up with a fair and equitable process based on the census data.”

The Assembly adopted legislation (2021-S 0852A, 2021-H 6222A) this session to establish an 18-member special commission on reapportionment whose purpose would be to draft and to report to the General Assembly an act to reapportion the districts.

“It’s time once again to reapportion our General Assembly and congressional districts, and we went to great lengths to ensure it’s done in the most transparent way possible,” said President Ruggerio. “This commission will conduct public hearings and give members of the public access to the technical software used for district mapping.”

The commission consists of 18 members — six from the Senate, six from the House of Representatives, three from the general public that are appointed by the Speaker of the House, and three from the general public that are appointed by the President of the Senate.

Speaker Shekarchi has appointed Representatives Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence), Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence), Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence), Brian C. Newberry (R-Dist. 48, North Smithfield, Burrillville), Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and David J. Place (R-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester). From the general public, he has appointed Antonio Lopes, the CEO and founder of TILT Communications; Kaprece Ransaw, a real estate agent; and former State Rep. Stephen Ucci, who co-chaired the reapportionment commission 10 years ago.

President Ruggerio has appointed Senators Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston), Walter S. Felag, Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton), Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence), V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham), Jessica de la Cruz (R-Dist. 23, Burrillville, Glocester, North Smithfield), and Gordon E. Rogers (R-Dist. 21, Foster, Coventry, Scituate, West Greenwich). From the general public, he has appointed Maria Bucci, a former Cranston City Council member; Alvin Reyes, an organizer with IBEW Local 99; and Harold M. Metts, a former state senator, retired school administrator, and community leader. Mr. Metts was the lead plaintiff in a 2002 lawsuit which led to the doubling of minority representation in the Senate.

The commission is tasked with making its recommendations to the General Assembly by Jan. 15, 2022.