Representative Marvin L. Abney
Chairman, House Finance Committee
Member, House Veterans' Affairs Committee
Marvin L. Abney (D) has served the residents of Newport and Middletown in District 73 since his first being elected in November 2012. In May 2016, he was named chairman of the House Finance Committee. He also serves on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
He was the sponsor of the state budget signed into law in June 2016 that included no broad-based tax increases, provided tax relief to retirees, enhanced the state’s economic development tools, fully funded education, and rolled back parking fees at state beaches.
During the 2016 session, Representative Abney sponsored legislation that became law that requires the reporting of any sexual abuse of a child by an employee, agent, contractor or volunteer of an educational program. The new law was a response to the Saint George’s scandal and closed the legal loophole that allowed years of abuse as the school to go unreported.
In 2015, Representative Abney sponsored legislation that became law allowing qualifying veterans, their spouses and children under the age of 25 years old to pay in-state tuition and fees at state colleges upon filing a letter of intent to reside in the state. He was also selected to sit on the Governor’s working group reviewing the state’s criminal justice system in order to improve public safety and reduce costs.
During the 2013-14 session, Representative Abney sponsored a law to make it a misdemeanor for any person to confine an animal in a motor vehicle if doing so jeopardizes the animal’s life or health. Several bills sponsored by Representative Abney affecting Rhode Island veterans were also adopted, including one establishing a commission to study erection of a Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial at the Veterans’ Cemetery in Exeter. He also authored legislation, now law, that increases the penalty for committing a violent crime with a stolen firearm.
Born on Nov. 10, 1949, he attended Dunbar High School in Texarkana, Texas, before completing his bachelor’s degree in public administration at Stephen F. Austin State University in 1975. Representative Abney earned a master’s of management degree from Webster University in 1982; a master’s of business administration from the University of Rhode Island in 2000. and a certificate of advanced graduate study in educational leadership from Johnson and Wales University in 2005. He also attended the Command and General Staff College in Munich, Germany in the late 1980s.
In addition to his duties as a legislator, Representative Abney also serves on the Board of Governors for the Newport Health Care Corporation, the Board of Corporators for BankNewport, the Vestry & Finance Committee at St. John’s Church and the Executive Board for the Narragansett Boy Scouts Council.
Representative Abney has a long history of involvement in community organizations and board, including the Newport Zoning Board of Review, Coggeshall Elementary School Improvement Committee, Salve Regina University’s Internal Review Board, First Night Newport and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, among others.
The representative is a retired Major of the United States Army after a 20-year Army career, including a stint as the company commander at NATO Headquarters in Belgium. He also retired from the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, where he held the position of executive assistant to the commissioner.
He lives in Newport with his wife, Cheryl Lynn (Amado). He is the father of Marvin L. Abney II, U.S. Army Capt. Christian A. Abney and Tess A. Abney. He is the grandfather of three: Sierra, Jade and Mia.
12 Summer St.
Newport, RI 02840