Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell is a progressive Democrat. She was first elected in November 2016 and represents House District 5 in Providence. She serves on the House Education Committee, the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the House Small Business Committee.
Representative Ranglin-Vassell is a leading advocate for a living wage, access to doulas, the fight to end gun violence, dismantling of the school-to-prison pipeline and access to free high speed internet.
Her body of work centers on the intersectionality of race, gender,
education and socio-economic status. She believes strongly that everyone should
have access to the same opportunities in education and employment and an
overall quality of life, regardless of ZIP code. As someone who understands
deeply the impact of poverty, she is unapologetic in her fight for underserved
and marginalized communities. Representative Ranglin-Vassell continues to
advance and participate in uncomfortable conversations about race relations,
implicit bias and microaggressions, as well as trauma for Black and Brown
people as a result of institutional racism, gun violence and structural
A fierce champion and fighter for the $15 living wage, she sponsored
legislation to increase the minimum
wage to $15 an hour. Rhode Island is currently on the path to a $15 living wage by
2024. She cosponsored a law to expand
the definition of “child” for the purpose of eligibility for DCYF
services, including foster care, to any person under the age of 21.
Representative Ranglin-Vassell has sponsored legislation requiring
school districts to provide for alternative programs and classroom space within
schools to reduce
the number of out-of-school suspensions. In addition, she
cosponsored a law that now prohibits
firearms from school grounds, with certain exceptions. She sponsored
legislation which would require a waiver
of all fees for taking an examination required in order to be licensed and certified
as a teacher when the teaching candidate possesses at least a bachelor’s
Realizing the impact of food insecurity and hunger on so many children,
she has sponsored legislation requiring free
lunches to be provided for all elementary and secondary students attending
public schools. She also sponsored a House resolution requesting Rhode Island
Department of Education to study the impact, outcome and needs of children who
have one or both parents
Legislative accomplishments include passage of legislation that
will make doula services eligible for
reimbursement through private insurance plans as of July 1, 2022; an addition
to the Resilient Rhode Island Act that directed the Climate Change Coordinating
Council to study a carbon pricing program to incentivize institutions and
industry to reduce carbon emissions. To protect seniors,
she cosponsored a law that allows elderly people to, absent an emergency,
cancel any agreement for contractor services within three days if the contract
originated in an in-home solicitation by the contractor.
Representative Ranglin-Vassell has sponsored legislation requiring the
Department of Education to develop a program of age-appropriate safe-relationship behavior education and training
regarding the prevention of relationship abuse, sexual violence and harassment;
and cosponsored a bill to exempt natural hair braiders from the requirement
to be licensed as hairdressers or cosmeticians, and define the practice of
natural hair braiding.
Another bill she has cosponsored would provide K-12 students attending
public schools with a student's bill of rights prohibiting
discrimination based on race, sex, gender, economic status or mental, physical,
developmental or sensory disabilities.
Representative Ranglin-Vassell has been fighting for justice for the
last 47 years. She began at the age of 15, demonstrating for running water in
her poor community in Jamaica. She spent one year after high school knocking on
doors in some of the most violent areas in Kingston, Jamaica, providing health
education and community-development programs. She has extensive knowledge on
issues of race, gun violence and poverty and how they help to create trauma.
She migrated to Rhode Island in 1990 and worked as a housekeeper, a
factory worker and as a community outreach worker. She is now a special
education teacher at E-Cubed Academy in Providence. She is a graduate of St.
Joseph’s Teachers’ College, where she earned an elementary education diploma.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhode Island College in Community
Health Education and a Master of Arts in Special Education from Providence
Representative Ranglin-Vassell is an author, a motivational speaker, a
content developer and a poet. She is a born-again Christian. She is the founder
of Barrels, Books and Butterflies, a mission she started over 27 years ago to bring
books and school supplies to poor children in her neighborhood in Jamaica.
She is grateful to have been able to secure $50,000 to support summer
youth programs through legislative grants, and donated much-needed desks and
chairs to the Wanskuck Public Library. She hosts an annual holiday giving drive
for children in her district with emphasis on educational books and toys.
Representative Ranglin-Vassell believes that like education, housing is a basic
human right. Through her justice work, she ministered in a homeless shelter
from 1996-2001. She continues to advocate for fair housing and provides
referrals for families in need of emergency housing.
A tireless and compassionate advocate, Representative Ranglin-Vassell has been accepted as a Fellow by the National Conferences of State Legislatures Child and Maternal Health program beginning January 2022. Her personal story as it relates to Black maternal health was featured in the Boston Globe: How Birth Doulas are helping to tackle a crisis in Black Maternal Mortality- Daisa Moore (Oct. 17, 2021).
Representative Ranglin-Vassell has received numerous awards and
citations for her work in advancing justice. These include: The Dr. Rose Butler
Browne Award from Rhode Island College for working with disadvantaged
populations (1994), the YWCA Women of Achievement Award (2007), YWCA Women
Holding Office- Isabelle Ahearn O’Neill Award (2017) Rhode Island College
Alumni Award in Community Health (2011), Yallahs High School Alumni Excellence
in Education Award (2016), Rhode Island Black Business Association Change Agent
Award (2019), the African Heritage Women in Education and Empowerment Excellent
Leadership Award (2019) and the Bread of Life Government Mountain of Influence award (2021).
Rep. Ranglin-Vassell was born in Jamaica. She is married to Van Vassell.
They have four adult children, Alethe, Van Jr., Eric and Terrence. They have two
grandsons, Joseph and Elias.