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4/6/2023 Rhode Island House Republicans launch interactive online timeline of member public service since 1854
Created in collaboration with the State House Library, this resource is presented to the Secretary of State in Honor of the 250th Celebration Activities
State House, Providence – The Rhode Island House Republican Caucus is pleased to announce the creation of a chronological service record of active Republicans who were elected to serve the people of Rhode Island in the House of Representatives. The comprehensive timeline starts in 1854 with the formation of the Republican Party (March 20, 1854) and continues through to present day. In total, 869 individuals are highlighted in this interactive online resource.

The timeline ( ) was created over the past three years by House Minority staff and interns, in collaboration with the State House Library.  Previously, no such roster existed. The online timeline includes profiles of the legislators, with photos, videos and any other documents/references obtained during exhaustive research efforts.  The timeline also offers advanced search tools, such as tags for identifying legislators by the cities and towns they represented; historical highlight tags for significant accomplishments; and notations for leadership roles, such as serving as the House Speaker or as House Minority Leader.

Republican membership in the Rhode Island House of Representatives boasts many historic firsts, including: the first statewide black elected legislator, The Reverend Mahlon Van Horne of Newport; the first black woman elected to the Rhode Island House, Mary Ross of Providence; and after serving one term in the House, Lulu Schlesigner of Charlestown became the first woman elected to the Rhode Island Senate and the second woman in the state to receive a driver’s license.                                                  
Members of the Republican Caucus also continued to serve as members of Congress, and as State General Officers including attaining positions as Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Lieutenant Governor.  A few of the more notable names include Jesse H. Metcalf, co-founder of the Rhode Island School of Design; Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich, US Senator; and John H. Chafee, Governor and US Senator.
“Our state’s history is so incredible. This interactive tool was the product of countless research hours by interns and staff working with the RI State House Library and it is our hope to see it expanded to include all members from all political parties in both the House and Senate,” remarked Leader Michael Chippendale. “We often talk of the Rhode Island State House as a ‘working museum’ and the ‘Lively Experiment’ that is our state, wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of the men and women who served in the legislature. We should celebrate their contributions and history.”
“I want to congratulate House Minority Leader Chippendale and his staff on this project, which recognizes the Republican legislators and statewide officers who have served Rhode Island. It’s so important to preserve our history, especially as we look ahead to our RI250 “Semiquincentennial” Celebration,” said Secretary of State Gregg M. Amore. “I’m proud to see my own great-grandfather on this timeline, Representative John Gregory, who represented East Providence from 1937 to 1940, and that his service continues to be honored to this day.”
“This project has been a labor of love for our team over these past three years,” said Sue Stenhouse, Chief of Staff and creator of concept of this endeavor.  “It provided context and interesting insights into the persons behind the names of our streets, parks and other Rhode Island landmarks.  It is also fascinating to see the family lineage in our public servants and the various professions they employed at various times in Rhode Island’s colorful history. I want to recognize staff member Joe Golomboski, who provided the technical expertise to bring this vision to reality, and the many interns who scoured state manuals and documents to obtain the information presented.”

For more information, contact:
Sue Stenhouse, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-5582