David A. Bennett has served District 20 in Warwick since first being elected in November 2010. A psychiatric nurse, Representative Bennett is the chairman of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and is a member of the House Health and Human Services Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.
He has been a strong and successful proponent for raising Rhode Island's minimum wage. In 2012, he sponsored legislation that increased the minimum wage for the first time since 2007, from $7.40 an hour to $7.75. He has been the sponsor of every subsequent raise, including the legislation enacted in 2021 to raise the raise from $11.50 to $12.25 in 2022 and raise it annually until it reaches $15 on Jan 1, 2025.
He has also been active on
health care and addiction issues, serving as co-chairman of the Joint
Legislative Commission to Study the Integration of Primary Care and Behavioral
Health and sponsoring many bills related to health. In recent years, he has
successfully passed legislation enhancing the requirements that people with
knowledge of mistreatment
or neglect of elders report it to authorities,
ensuring antitrust law compliance in hospital
conversions, and creating an exemption
in regulations about FDA-regulated substances so students can have and use
sunscreen at school.
He was the architect of
Rhode Island’s law requiring automated external defibrillators
at public places that hold 300 or more
people. He has sponsored numerous successful initiatives aimed at addressing
the opioid crisis, including the law requiring all high schools and middle
schools to have an opioid
antagonist kit (Narcan) to prevent overdose
deaths, and several
others aimed increasing oversight
of prescription drugs, making opioid antagonists more readily available and
ensuring follow-up care for overdose patients.
Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
honored Representative Bennett in 2019 for his longtime support for its
initiatives and for going public with his efforts to quit smoking.
A graduate of Toll Gate High School, the Community College of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College, he is a member of the American Nurses Association, Rhode Island Nurses Association, the Sierra Club, the Rhode Island Motorcycle Association and Apponaug Old Timers.
Representative Bennett was
born on April 8, 1955. He resides in Warwick with his wife Ann, his
granddaughter Giana and great-grandson Aryon Zade.