Lauren Carson (D) was first elected to the House of Representatives in
November 2014 to represent District 75 in Newport. She was named a
Deputy Majority Leader in January 2021. Representative Carson is the
second vice chair of the House Innovation, Internet and Technology
Committee and also the second vice chair of the House Environment and
Natural Resources Committee. She serves on the House Oversight Committee
while chairing that committee's Tourism, Arts and Recreation
Subcommittee. She is also a member of the House Small Business
Representative Carson has been particularly active on issues related to
the environment, small business, tourism, and government transparency.
In 2021, Representative Carson was the sponsor of the Act
which updates Rhode Island’s climate-emission reduction goals, makes
them enforceable, and prepares Rhode Island for a global economy that
will be shifting to adapt to clean technology. The act has been heralded
as one of the most important steps toward addressing climate change the
state has taken in decades.
In her first year in the House, Representative Carson created and led a
commission to study the impact
of sea rise in Rhode Island. That commission laid the groundwork
for a law she later sponsored requiring education
on flooding and sea rise for local planning board members, as
well as a 2022 expansion including
land use and planning training. Another of her bills created a unified
statewide application process for solar
panel permitting. She was a cosponsor of legislation phasing
out pollution-causing cesspools across the state. In 2020,
Representative Carson and Rep. Terri Cortvriend launched the Aquidneck
Island Climate Caucus, a community group to give voice to the
importance of mitigating and adapting for the earth’s changing climate.
In 2015, Representative Carson created and led a commission that studied
ways to expand
tourism through effective statewide branding efforts. Over
the course of several years, that commission closely monitored the
RI Commerce Corporation’s efforts to revamp statewide tourism promotion.
Representative Carson worked for years on legislation enacted in 2022
requiring every short-term
rental property listed for rent on the website of any
third-party hosting platform that conducts business in Rhode Island to
be registered with the Department of Business Regulation to ensure
safety and tax compliance.
Representative Carson was a cosponsor of the legislation that eliminated
the state income tax on Social Security benefits. Her legislation
establishing the Rhode Island Aging and Disability Resource Center to
assist individuals in crafting long-term plans for themselves and family
members was enacted as part of the 2019 state budget. A bill she
sponsored made the General Treasurer’s pension performance transparency
initiative a permanent requirement.
In 2022, she successfully enacted legislation allowing tax relief for
year-round Newport residents. Representative Carson has sponsored
successful legislation on behalf of Newport schoolchildren to make the American
burying beetle the state insect, and legislation to assist
the Newport Historical Society and Fort Adams.
Representative Carson is currently leading two legislative study
commissions. One is exploring the
services available to older Rhode Islanders, with the goal of
making recommendations for coordination and expansion as the older
population increases. The other is reviewing policies concerning the
economic and social issues concerning short-term rentals in
the state to provide recommendations.
Representative Carson has been named 2021
Environmental Champion by Clean Water Action, and has been
honored as Legislator of the Year at various times by the R.I. Audubon
R.I. Hospitality Association and the Rhode Island Conservation
Districts. The Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau gave
Representative Carson its 2022 James McCarvill Leadership Award. In 2017,
she was honored as a Champion
for Seniors by the Edward King House in Newport.
She has served on the Advisory Board of the Alliance for Livable
Newport, the Newport Energy & Environment Commission, and the
Environmental Council of the Rhode Island Educational Fund Board.
She obtained a Master’s degree in History from the University of Rhode
Island in 2008 and her Master’s in Business degree from URI in 1992, and
earned a BA in sociology in 1976 from Ramapo College in New Jersey. She
is a graduate of Benedictine Academy in New Jersey. Born on February 26,
1954, she is the mother of a son, Andrew.