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
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
During her tenure as
chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee, Rhode Island enacted a marriage
equality law, made major revisions
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.
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.