Dominick J. Ruggerio is the President of the Rhode Island Senate. He has
served as the Senate President since March of 2017. He previously served as
Majority Leader since November 10, 2010.
As President, Senator Ruggerio serves as an ex-officio member of all standing
He has focused on economic development, co-sponsoring the Senate’s
initiatives to make it easy to do business in Rhode Island by reforming the
income tax code, cutting red tape, improving access to capital and building the
skills of the workforce. He co-sponsored the legislation to reform the state
income tax by reducing the top marginal rate from 9.9 percent to 5.99 percent,
making the state more competitive and resulting in a tax cut for the vast
majority of Rhode Islanders, particularly middle-income taxpayers.
Senator Ruggerio has championed job creation and retention through his work
as a member of the Joint Commission on Ports and by working to strategically
develop the land being made available in downtown Providence from the relocation
of Route 195.
Senator Ruggerio also championed a package of bills, known as “Building a
More Vibrant Rhode Island,” aimed at removing barriers to development such as
needless and costly delays in building inspections.
Other initiatives Senator Ruggerio has sponsored to help make Rhode Island
more competitive include the law, enacted in 2007, allowing automobile
dealerships to open on Sundays.
Senator Ruggerio co-sponsored and strongly supported the law, enacted in
2010, establishing a fair and predictable formula for state aid to education. He
has championed education reform to improve schools throughout Rhode Island,
modeling laws enacted in 2019 after successes in Massachusetts.
Senator Ruggerio has been an advocate for Catholic and parochial schools in
Rhode Island, supporting issues such as a tax credit program enabling businesses
to establish scholarships for students at these schools and a text book sharing
He has also championed legislation to preserve the environment, including new
laws to institute a recycling program for mercury used in automobiles and
improve collection and disposal rules for mercury thermostats. Senator Ruggerio
was the sponsor of the state’s mattress recycling program. He is the primary
sponsor of legislation under consideration in the Legislature to prohibit
single-use plastic bags.
Senator Ruggerio has sponsored several bills to assist retirees who are part
of the insolvent St. Joseph’s Health Services pension plan. The new laws would
assist former employees of Our Lady of Fatima and St. Joseph’s hospitals by
encouraging settlements in the pending lawsuit. It would also add protections
such as increased transparency and steeper penalties for these types of pension
plans so that similar situations don’t happen again.
Senator Ruggerio has also focused on addressing the state’s opioid overdose
crisis. In 2019 he created a $5 million Opioid Stewardship Fund, assessed on
large pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors to provide prevention and
treatment services. He also sponsored a law prohibiting life insurance companies
from denying coverage based solely on the filling of a prescription for the
anti-overdose medication Naloxone, which many nurses and first responders keep
Senator Ruggerio served as Majority Whip from 2003 through 2010. He has
previously served as a member and as Vice Chairman of the Senate Labor
Committee, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Labor and Transportation, and
as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate Rules Committee, the
Senate Labor Committee, and the Joint Committee on Accounts and Claims. He also
previously served as Deputy Majority Leader.
First elected to the Senate in 1984, Senator Ruggerio is the “Dean,” or most
senior member, of the Senate.
Prior to his tenure in the Senate, Senator Ruggerio was a member of the Rhode
Island House of Representatives from 1981 through 1984, and was a member of the
House Labor Committee and House Corporations Committee.
He served as a Policy Aide for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor from
1977 through 1981.
A 1966 graduate of La Salle Academy, Senator Ruggerio attended Bryant College
and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1974 from Providence College. He is
retired as an Administrator of the New England Laborers Labor Management Coop
Trust. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Wanskuck Library and as a
member of the Sons of Italy, Loggia Vittoria and the DaVinci Center Development
Among the awards and honors Senator Ruggerio has received for his public
service is The Humane Society of the United States’ Humane Legislator Award, in
recognition of his efforts to prohibit double-decker horse trailers.
President Ruggerio resides in North Providence and represents District 4,
which includes portions of North Providence and Providence. He is the father of
two children, Charles and Amanda.