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Senator Ryan William Pearson

 

Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance

Member, Senate Committee on Education

 

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.