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 Committee.
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 on Climate, 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 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.
Her current legislative efforts include a proposal to
transform services to seniors in Rhode Island, the creation of a
special education ombudsman for parents of children with special needs, the establishment of a structure for the oversight
and management of historical cemeteries and legislation requiring
digital and audio book publishers to offer them to libraries on reasonable terms for public lending.
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 Society,
the 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.