V. Susan Sosnowski is a Democrat representing District 37 (South Kingstown) in the Rhode Island Senate.
First elected to the Senate in November 1996, she previously served as moderator for Richmond Voting District 1 in 1984 and as a member of the South Kingstown Planning Board from 1993 to 1996.
Sen. Sosnowski has a lengthy list of accomplishments from her time in the legislature, including a number of landmark proposals related to public health and safety.
She was Senate sponsor of the Public Health and Workplace Safety Act, which took effect in 2005 and bans smoking in most public places in Rhode Island. She also sponsored a prohibition on hand-held cell phone use by motorists, which took effect in 2018, and legislation requiring the use of ignition interlock systems for people convicted or impaired driving, which became law in 2014.
Additionally, she sponsored the Safe Patient Handling Act of 2006, a measure aimed at reducing the number of injuries suffered by patients and caregivers in health care facilities.
Sen. Sosnowski has been a leading voice on issues related to Rhode Island's coastal communities, and she has championed numerous pieces of legislation aimed at supporting the state's fishing and seafood industries. She was the Senate sponsor of a 2014 law establishing Rhode Island-style calamari as the state's official appetizer and another measure allowing for the dockside sale of fish directly to consumers.
She has also been an active supporter of environmental action and renewable energy in Rhode Island. She worked on legislation enabling the Block Island Wind Farm to proceed. She sponsored legislation creating the Renewable Energy Growth Program and phasing in more biodiesel into home heating oil. She helped lead a successful effort to make a phase-out of cesspools part of state law and was the prime sponsor of the Water Use and Government Efficiency Act of 2009.
She has also advanced multiple bills to aid Rhode Island farmers and small businesses, including legislation allowing breweries and distilleries to sell their products to on-site visitors.
Sen. Sosnowski was the Senate sponsor of a measure included in the state budget to create a separate Board of Trustees for the University of Rhode Island. She also sponsored a law requiring higher education institutions create plans to address mental health of students.
Sen. Sosnowski's work in the General Assembly has resulted in awards and recognitions from a number of organizations, including the Rhode Island Clean Water Association's 2021 Legislator of the Year honors; the Rhode Island Farm Bureau's Navigator Award; the Hospital Association of Rhode Island's Francis R. Dietz Award for Public Service; the Audubon Society of Rhode Island's Legislator of the Year award; the Environmental Protection Agency's Lifetime Achievement Award; the American Heart Association's Tracey A. Kennedy Leadership in Advocacy Award; and honors as one of Mothers Against Drunk Driving's Legislators of the Year.
Sen. Sosnowski was born on Dec. 20, 1955. She and her husband, Michael, have four children, Ronald, Deborah, Stephen and Michael Jr.
Raised in Richmond, she graduated from Chariho Regional High School and attended the Ocean State Business Institute. She is a self-employed farmer at Sosnowski Farms.
Sen. Sosnowski is a member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association; the Richmond Grange; the South Kingstown Democratic Town Committee; and the South Kingstown Elks #1899. She is a member and organist at the Queens River Baptist Church.
Organizations of which she was previously a member include the South Kingstown Farmers' Market; Rhode Island Farm Bureau; Clean Water Finance Agency; Coastal Resources Management Council; and Agricultural Advisory Committee to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. She served on the Governor's Advisory Council on the Environment in 1997.