Representative Justine Caldwell (D) was first elected in November 2018 to serve the residents of District 30 in East Greenwich and West Greenwich. She was named a Deputy Majority Leader in January 2023. She is the first vice chair of the House Small Business Committee, second vice chair of the House Corporations Committee, and is a member of the House Education Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.
She has been a strong proponent of legislation to curb gun violence since her first term, having sponsored the 2022 law prohibiting
high-capacity gun magazines and cosponsored laws prohibiting untraceable firearms and ensuring gun sales applications are reviewed by the police in the purchaser’s own community. She continues to work toward a ban on assault weapons and a safe-storage bill.
In her first year in the House in 2019, she successfully sponsored new laws aimed at the opioids crisis: one requiring pharmacies to place warning signs near pharmacy counters about the dangers associated with opioids, and another to prohibit insurers from denying or limiting life insurance to people based on their having a prescription for the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, which many people possess for the sake of saving others.
In 2021, she was the sponsor of a law prohibiting new high-heat waste processing facilities, which helped to prevent a proposal to build a facility on the West Warwick-East Greenwich border to burn medical waste from around the region. She was also the sponsor of a law enacted in 2021 to help local breweries by raising the limits on beer and spirits customers can purchase at one time from Rhode Island breweries and distilleries.
Matters of equality have been a focus of Representative Caldwell’s efforts in the General Assembly and before she was elected. In 2021, the Assembly enacted her legislation to remove a roadblock for women running for office by allowing child care during campaign and officeholder activities as a campaign expenditure. She cosponsored a 2020 law that updated Rhode Island’s outdated parentage statutes with more inclusive laws that recognize the many ways people become families. Prior to her election to the House, she worked in Rhode Island on efforts to pass legislation to support women's issues and to curb gun violence. She also worked as an organizer in the 2012 referendum that established gay marriage rights in Maine. While studying for her PhD in Bowling Green, Ohio, she was a leader in a successful effort to defend against a voter initiative that would have stripped protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from a city non-discrimination ordinance.
Representative Caldwell was born on November 30, 1982. She is a graduate of Pilgrim High School in Warwick and earned a PhD in American Studies from Bowling Green State University in 2013, a master’s in English from University of Rhode Island in 2007 and a bachelor’s in English from URI in 2005. She and her husband David have two children, Escher and Luna, and live in East Greenwich.