Senator M. Teresa Paiva Weed
M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D – District 13, Jamestown, Newport) was first elected to the Rhode Island Senate in 1992. In January 2009, Senator Paiva Weed was first elected by her colleagues to serve as President of the Senate. Senator Paiva Weed is the first woman in Rhode Island’s history to serve in this capacity. Senator Paiva Weed was re-elected President in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017. She stepped down from the post on March 22, 2017 in order to accept the position of president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island.
Before becoming Senate President, Senator Paiva Weed served as Rhode Island's first female Senate Majority Leader, a position she held for five years. She had previously served as Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee from 2002 through January 2004. From 2000 to 2002, she served as Deputy Chair of the Finance Subcommittee on Public Safety and the Environment. From 1997 through 2000, she served as the Senate's first woman Chair of the Judiciary Committee. Prior to her election to the Senate, Ms. Paiva Weed was Chairwoman of the Newport Affordable Housing Commission, and she has served as a member of the Newport Democratic City Committee since 1988.
In her second Senate term, Senator Paiva Weed led the legislative effort to reform the Rhode Island welfare system. During her tenure as Chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee, she was instrumental in the passage of legislation that changed the manner in which judges are selected to a merit-based process. As Vice Chairwoman of the Finance Committee, she was involved in sensitive state budget negotiations. In addition, she has won passage of many landmark bills, such as the Family Independence Act, and legislation restructuring the Victim's Compensation Fund.
President Paiva Weed has served on the Senate Commission on Judicial Selection, the Senate Oil Spill Commission, the Rhode Island Trust and Investment Commission, the Rhode Island Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Rhode Island Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline, the Supreme Task Force to Examine the Administrative Adjudication Court, the Governor's Juvenile Justice Task Force, and the Senate Select Commission on Quasi Public Agencies.
Senate President Paiva Weed has been recognized by the Governor's Council on Disabilities, the Governor's Council on Tourism, the National Association of Social Workers, the Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy, the Newport County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), United Way, the Rhode Island Council of Community Mental Health Centers, the Rhode Island Ambassador of Hospitality and Tourism, and the Newport and Jamestown Business and Professional Women's Club.
Senate President Paiva Weed is an attorney from Newport.