Edith H. Ajello (D) has served the residents of the East Side of Providence since first being elected in November 1992. She represents the constituents of District 1, which was District 3 before the redistricting process that took effect in 2013. Representative Ajello is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the House Oversight Committee and the House State Government and Elections Committee.
Representative Ajello has been a strong proponent of protecting individuals’ privacy and human rights. She was instrumental in the 2019 passage of the
Reproductive Privacy Act, which protects existing reproductive rights set forth under the landmark Roe v. Wade case from infringement at the federal level. She also sponsored legislation, later
included in the 2020 state budget bill, to exempt feminine hygiene products from the state sales tax. She sponsored the
2001 law that prohibited housing discrimination based on gender identity or expression, as well as a
2021 update that made it applicable to all housing.
She was the cosponsor of the first-in-the-nation
Homeless Bill of Rights, and also sponsored the bills that
added gender identity to the state’s hate crimes law and
banned “conversion therapy” on minors. She has sponsored or cosponsored laws protecting citizens’ privacy by requiring law enforcement officers to obtain
warrants for location data from cellular phones and other electronic devices, banning employers and schools from demanding
access or passwords to the social media accounts of applicants and reducing racial profiling and warrantless searches of minors. She was the sponsor of the law ensuring that any voter who
is line to vote at the time polls close is allowed to cast his or her vote, and the law requiring
post-election audits to ensure voting equipment functioned properly.
During her tenure as chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee, Rhode Island enacted a
marriage equality law, made major revisions to the Access to Public Records Act, required “Super PACs” to
disclose their major donors, and made possession of a small amount of marijuana a
civil offense rather than a crime.
She was a cosponsor of the 2022 law prohibiting
high-capacity magazines on firearms.
In addition to her duties as a legislator, Representative Ajello has a long history of service with community organizations and serves on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Health and Education Fund. For her legislative efforts regarding civil liberties, Representative Ajello was awarded the RI Affiliate of the ACLU’s Raymond J. Pettine Civil Libertarian of the Year in 2006.
A certified Oriental rug appraiser, she works at V. George Rustigian Rugs in Providence.
Representative Ajello was born on April 26, 1944. She is the mother of Linell and Aaron Ajello.