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5/11/2017 Goldin, Ranglin-Vassell honored by YWCA
STATE HOUSE – YWCA Rhode Island has honored Sen. Gayle L. Goldin and Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell with its Isabelle Ahearn O’Neill Award for outstanding female elected leaders in Rhode Island.

The two were selected for their courage, vision and leadership.

“They are tackling challenging issues, issues that are not always easy to address. They are challenging the status quo in order to bring about change that is important to women and women’s lives,” said Deborah L. Perry, CEO, YWCA Rhode Island.

Senator Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), first elected in 2012, sponsored the law that created Rhode Island’s groundbreaking Temporary Caregiver Insurance program, which provides workers up to four paid weeks of leave to care for a loved one or bond with a new child. She has also strengthened Rhode Island’s gun laws, led a successful initiative to provide child care to low-income parents training for work, and was a strong supporter of Rhode Island’s marriage equality law. She has been a leader in legislative efforts to protect and enhance affordable health care, reproductive rights, fair elections, public transportation, the safety of children in state care and more.

“It is particularly moving to receive this award at a time when women’s activism is so organized, so strong, and on the front page of our newspapers almost every day,” said Senator Goldin. “When women stand together for affordable child care, safer communities, just immigration laws and strong protections for LGBTQ communities, when we work together to protect health care and reproductive rights, when we fight for raising the minimum wage, ensuring equal pay, and paid family leave and sick time, we all do better. There’s a reason these are sometimes called ‘pocketbook issues’: they have a profound impact on women’s economic security. But they also elevate our whole society. They enable the success of families, of communities, of our economy and of future generations.”

Representative Ranglin-Vassell is a freshman in the House of Representatives, having won election over a 24-year incumbent and House majority leader. A Providence public school teacher who was born in Jamaica, she fights for the middle class, those trying to get into the middle class and the poor. She is sponsoring legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2022, to provide more young Rhode Islanders with Department of Children, Youth and Families protections, to better protect breastfeeding/lactation rights, to provide universal free school lunch to make sure all students are well-fed and ready to learn and to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by reducing the number of out-of-school suspensions.

“I am so grateful to stand alongside the many allies, and upon the hard work of the many who have come before us, in the effort to push our community, our cities, our state and our nation toward the ideals of equality, justice and opportunity for all. There is a lot of support in our communities for efforts that lift people up and make it possible for them to succeed, and we need to speak up together to make sure our voices are heard. Democracy can create the healthy, safe, compassionate society we need, as long as ordinary people are engaged and keep fighting,” said Representative Ranglin-Vassell.

The award, which was presented May 8 at the YWCA’s eighth annual Women Holding Office celebration, is named for Rhode Island’s first female state legislator, elected in 1922, just two years after women were granted the right to vote in the United States. She served eight years in the House, where she rose to deputy Democratic floor leader, and two in the Senate, and was also a Democratic national committeewoman.

The award was also given to Providence City Councilwoman Sabina Matos.

The YWCA has posted a mini-documentary on the three award-winners on its YouTube channel, YWCA Rhode Island.

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923