Taking office in 2013, Senator Pearson currently serves as Chairman of the
Senate Committee on Finance and as a member of the Senate Education Committee.
He previously served as Senior Deputy Majority Leader and as Chairman of the
Senate Finance Sub-Committee on Education, Commerce and Municipal Aid.
Senator Pearson is a lifelong resident of Cumberland. As a high school
student, he joined a student organization named Save Our Schools to rally
support for a bond referendum to make needed improvements to Cumberland High
School, which stood on the verge of losing accreditation due to severe facility
deficiencies. Following the passage of the bond, Ryan sought and won election to
the Cumberland School Committee, where he formed a solid understanding of local
government budgeting and challenges. This experience has enabled him to be an
advocate for local interests even while navigating complex issues at the state
level. Senator Pearson has continued to make improving school facilities a top
priority throughout his public service. He led the Senate’s task force on school
construction, which laid the groundwork for the comprehensive $1 billion
statewide plan to fix and build high quality schools all across Rhode Island.
Improving Rhode Island's economy has been Senator Pearson’s other main focus
since joining the Senate. He has been a leader in efforts to reform our tax
structures, streamline regulations, invest in job training and overhaul our
approach to economic development. Understanding the importance of a talented and
well educated workforce to our overall economy, Senator Pearson authored a
nationally recognized tax credit that is helping college graduates repay their
student loans when they commit to stay and work in Rhode Island after
graduation. He also helped to spearhead a series of elementary and high school
education reforms in 2019 related to curriculum and school/district
accountability, with an overall goal of improving the educational experience and
outcomes for all students.
Recognizing that fair and equitable education funding is also key to
achieving successful outcomes, Senator Pearson chaired a 2020 Senate task force
examining the decade-old statewide education funding formula and making
recommendations to ensure equitable funding for all students across Rhode
Island. Passing these recommended changes into law remains an urgent priority of
his legislative agenda.
Senator Pearson also values the importance of safe, high quality
infrastructure to both our economy and our quality of life. He has worked hard
to pass legislation to rebuild our highways and bridges, to invest in business
infrastructure development at Quonset and to support the Rhode Island
Infrastructure Bank in its efforts to ensure clean water, renewable energy and
local road repairs.
Senator Pearson earned his B.S. in Finance from Providence College. He also
attended American University in Washington, D.C., while working as a staff
member in the United States Senate. Today in the private sector, he is employed
as a Vice President of a local financial institution. Ryan has also remained an
active supporter of many community organizations throughout his public service.