NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — For the first time in 20 years, District 36 will have a new state senator and her name is Alana DiMario.
The Narragansett Democrat, who was endorsed by fellow Democrat and outgoing State Sen. Jim Sheehan – who announced in May he would not be seeking reelection – defeated North Kingstown Republican and former State Rep. Doreen Costa and Narragansett Town Council President and independent Matthew Mannix 8068 (49.2 percent) to 6598 (40.3 percent) to 1703 (10.4 percent) for the district that includes parts of Narragansett and North Kingstown.
“I am excited to leverage data, experts, and evidence-based research to pass public policy that will make a difference in the lives of Rhode Islanders,” DiMario said.
A Licensed Mental Health Therapist working out of her own practice in North Kingstown, DiMario ran on a progressive platform supporting such issues as universal health care, addressing racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism, closing the gender wage gap, improving access to essential services for seniors, raising the minimum wage, expanding vocational and professional training, incentivizing renewable energy, addressing educational inequalities, reworking the foster care system, supporting the Red Flag bill and Bump Stock Ban, expanding background checks for buying firearms, gun safety, expanding mental health services and access to them, improving infrastructure, supporting immigrants, backing evidence-based policy for all issues and expanding access to voting, both in-person and by mail.
She earned the endorsement of multiple progressive groups, such as the Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus, Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, Planned Parenthood, the Working Families Party, Moms Demand Action, Sunrise Movement and the RI AFL-CIO among other groups, as well as the endorsement of Sheehan, who she challenged in the 2018 primary.
“Since the start of my campaign, I have been so appreciative of the support I have received from my neighbors, friends and voters in Senate District 36,” DiMario said. “I cannot thank enough the many volunteers and supporters who have made my campaign for State Senate truly a grassroots effort. It has been amazing and uplifting to have so many people get civically engaged in local politics through my campaign and knowing what we can achieve at the State House working together.”
In District 35, which includes parts of East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown and Narragansett, incumbent State Sen. Bridget Valverde has been elected to a second term, defeating Republican challenger Charles Callahan by 8926 votes (55 percent) to 7272 (44.8 percent).
The North Kingstown Democrat also ran on a progressive platform and was endorsed by many of the same organizations as DiMario, including the Rhode Island Democratic Womens’ Caucus, Planned Parenthood, the Working Families Party and Moms Demand Action, as well as the Young Democrats of Rhode Island and East Greenwich Town Democratic Committee. In her platform, she laid out her support for affordable, effective and equitable public education, gun safety reform, on which she points to her co-sponsoring of legislation limiting magazine capacity and banning 3D and ghost guns, fighting climate change, a $15 minimum wage, protecting reproductive rights, supporting a line item veto, increasing support for senior citizens, universal healthcare, LGBTQ+ rights and equal pay regardless of gender.
In the Senate, Valverde currently serves on the Committee on Health and Human Services and the Committee on Environment and Agriculture as well as the Senate Task Force on Fisheries.
As for the local state representatives, all will return to Smith Hill for the next two years, as all six incumbents ran unopposed in the general election. In District 31, which covers parts of North Kingstown and Exeter, Democrat Julie Casimiro won with 6016 votes. In District 32, which covers most of North Kingstown, Democrat Robert Craven won with 6457 votes. In District 33, which includes parts of Narragansett and South Kingstown, Democrat Carol McEntee won with 5832 votes. In District 34, which covers other parts of Narragansett and South Kingstown, Democrat Teresa Tanzi won with 5264 votes. In District 35, which covers parts of South Kingstown, Democrat Kathleen Fogarty won with 4235 votes.
House Minority Leader Blake Filippi, who represents part of South Kingstown as well as Charlestown, New Shoreham and Westerly, won with 6392 votes and will remain the area’s lone GOP representative at the State House.
All results listed are correct as of publication and could be subject to change as more votes are tallied. Final numbers will be listed in next week’s edition of The Independent.