William W. O'Brien (D) has served the residents of North Providence in District 54 since first being elected in November 2012. He was named a Deputy Majority Leader in April 2014. Representative O'Brien is a member of the House Finance Committee and chairs its Environment/Transportation Subcommittee. He also serves as the first vice chair of both the House Corporations Committee and the House Rules Committee and is a member of the Special Legislation Committee and the Permanent Joint Committee on State Lottery.
In 2022, Representative O’Brien introduced legislation,
which was signed into law, establishing a procedure for the owner or guardian of an animal in the custody of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) to pay reasonable expenses for the animal’s care, including shelter and food. He also sponsored a
new law which provides consumer protection for eye care services and another new law which
amends the Right to Read Act by extending the time table of the legislation by two academic years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the 2021 legislative session, Representative O'Brien was honored with the 2021 Human Heroes Award by the Defenders of Animals. The group honored Representative O'Brien in recognition of his successful legislative efforts, dedication, and steadfast commitment to the concerns of the plight of animals throughout Rhode Island.
He introduced a new law in 2021 which terminates all parental rights of convicted rapists when a child is born from the assault, and another new law which prohibits municipalities from changing property assessments after the sale or transfer of a property.
One of Rep. O’Brien’s areas of focus has been on improving the quality and affordability of public education. His legislation that created dual enrollment programs at Rhode Island schools enables students to enroll at a college or university as non-degree students and have the courses be recognized toward degree completion at both the college and high school levels.
Born on July 27, 1969, he is a 1987 graduate with honors from North Providence High School and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Rhode Island College in 1991. He later studied at Providence College, the University of Rhode Island, and Florida International University.
Representative O’Brien is a math teacher in the Providence public school system. He served in the Peace Corps in South Africa from 1998 to 2000 and was a North Providence Jets youth football coach for 12 years. He is engaged to Jacqueline Celeste.