Past Events

Guest Speaker: Arlene Violet
The League of Women Voters of Rhode Island will hold its biennial convention on Thursday, June 1, in the Meeting Hall at the Jamestown Philomenian Library, Jamestown, R.I., from 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Registration for delegates begins at 4:45. Attorney Arlene Violet, the first woman elected to the office of state attorney general in the United States, will speak at 5:15.

The convention is open to all members. Member delegates will approve the budget and update and approve program. (To learn about serving as a delegate at convention, contact your local League president.) The delegates will also choose a new president , secretary, first vice president, and three directors. The nominating committee report and other convention material was published in the spring issue of The Voter. The annual meeting business and updates on new activities will complete the evening's program.

Arlene Violet grew up in Providence and, after attending Providence College, she entered the convent of the Sisters of Mercy. She eventually graduated from Salve Regina University, and in 1974 received a law degree from Boston College. Ms. Violet, who was a popular radio talk show host, still practices law, writes a weekly column for several local newspapers in Rhode Island and is the author of an autobiography, Convictions: My Journey from the Convent to the Courtroom (1988) and Me and the Mob (2010). She was recently featured in the Crimetown podcast.

Convention begins at 5 p.m. sharp; registration opens at 4:45. Registration for delegates is $10, which covers the cost of convention materials and light snacks. Ms. Violet's talk will begin at 5:15 p.m. and is free and open to the public; please invite friends and colleagues to join you.

League Day at the State House will be held on Thursday, April 27, at 2:30 in the State House Library.  The program will include brief remarks from LWVRI President Jane Koster, briefings from the League's Advocacy committee, and "Lobbying 101" with League member Linda Finn. Linda will share her experiences as a lobbyist and RI State Representative. We'll be given a chance to role play with Linda on how to talk to and lobby our representatives. We'll have seating charts, sample scripts and bill descriptions relating to League Issue. After Q&A, we'll move out around 3:40 to Senate and House floors to find our respective reps and gather back in the Library Room for sharing when Legislative Session begins around 4:15 p.m.

CALL TO ACTION: Seizing Opportunity in a Time of Uncertainty
Since it was founded in 1920, the League of Women Voters has believed that democracy required voters who were educated about the issues and understood how to operate within the government. For almost 100 years, the League has used the rallying cry, "Democracy is not a spectator sport" to remind  citizens that participating in a democracy does not end when the voter leaves the polling place.

This background explains why immediately after the November election, citizens turned to the League wanting to know how to become more involved. One of the first responses was the national League's "Ten Ways to Protect Democracy" followed by the League's support of the Women's March in January.

But many people asked, "What's next?" and in response, the League in Rhode Island has planned a meeting on Tuesday, March 7, to help citizens learn how to become actively engaged in our democracy. The event, "Call to Action; Seizing Opportunity in a Time of Uncertainty," will be held from 5:15-6:45 at the Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport.

The Forum will focus on how to engage in action and advocacy around three core issues:  Voting Rights and Reform, Healthcare (including Affordable Care Act and women's health) and Immigration.  A panel of experienced advocates will facilitate the discussion and answer audience questions.  Panelist include:  John Marion, Director of Common Cause Rhode Island, Craig O'Connor, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Susan Taylor, an immigration attorney and member of Newport City Council, and Edward Fitzpatrick, Director of Media and Public Relations at Roger Williams University and former Providence Journal political columnist.  Jane Koster, president of the League of Women Voters, Rhode Island, will open the program with a brief review of the League's prioritized issues for this legislative session.

If you want to not only learn about these important issues but also how to effect change, then join the League for this important meeting. It's free and open to the public. Doors open at the Art Museum at 5:00 pm and the program will run from 5:15 – 6:45 pm. For more information, please call 401-339-9766. To keep up to date on the League's activities and legislative agenda, please sign up to receive our action alerts and other publications.

The Planning Committee met to discuss "Afternoon Tea at Blithewold" - a benefit for
the Providence League of Women Voters
Monday, October 3, 2016

Left to right: Judy Dorian, Hollie Courage, Liz Head, Maureen Romans, Joan Retsinas.

At a June 4, 2016, luncheon at the Westerly Public Library, 50 friends fêted Camilla Wiener, long-time South County League member, and mother of League member Elizabeth Candas. In fifty plus years of volunteering, Camilla has poll-run, worked on studies, Know Your City books, voter drives. Congratulations!


Elizabeth Candas and Camilla Wiener

Joyce Stevos, Camilla Wiener, Joanne Rizzo

May 5, 2016 5:30-8:00 PM
Jamestown Philomena Library
Jamestown, RI

Lippitt House Museum
199 Hope Street
Providence, RI
Lippitt House Museum's Second Community Discussion Series in partnership with the Providence League of Women Voters.

  • April 5, 2016 Becoming Americans: Immigration, Citizenship & Civic Engagement
    Speakers: Kathleen Cloutier & Bruno Sukys, Dorcas International
  • April 12, 2016 Every Voice Counts: Voter Participation & Engagement
    Speakers: Nellie Gorbea, Rhode Island Secretary of State & Wendy Schiller, Professor of Political Science, International & Public Affairs, Brown University
  • April 19, 2016 Money in Politics
    Speakers: Stephen Erickson, Commissioner, Rhode Island Board of Elections & Richard Arenberg, Visiting Lecturer in Political Science, International & Public Affairs, Brown University

Pictured with Marian are Mary Speare (center) and Liz Head (right). Photo courtesy of Susan Escherich.

On April 7, 2016, the RI League Book Club discussed member Marian Styles -McClintock's book, But Isn't That What We're Supposed to Do? Marian (on left) interviewed elderly black women in several Southern communities about their roles in mentoring children. The women viewed their activism as "What we're supposed to do." In a small homogeneous community, the women felt responsible for others.

Citizenship Topic at the Lippitt House Museum
April 5, 2016

Left to right: Carrie Taylor, Director of Lippitt House Museum, Bruno Sukys, head of Citizenship & Immigration Services at Dorcas International, Kathy Cloutier, Director of Dorcas International Institute and Barbara Feldman, Providence LWV, discussion leader.

League Day at the State House — Good Government: the Long View
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Members of the press and good government groups will be part of a panel providing background to the state of transparency and  ethics and discuss what needs to be done moving forward. The panel discussion, which will begin at 6:00, will be moderated by Linda Levin, President, ACCESS RI. Panelists will include Channel 10's investigative reporter Katie Davis, Common Cause RI Executive Director John Marion, and freelance writer, journalist and RISD educator Phiip Eil.

Lobby Day at the State House
March 16, 2016
Meet with legislators about the League's position on voting and elections.

Mildred Nichols displays the October 6, 1920 Notice (from the Irene Precinct, Jefferson District, Loudoun County, VA) certifying that her grandmother, Eppie Clark, had registered and was on the books as a registered voter.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 11:00am
Marble House, Newport

The League of Women Voters of Rhode Island and the Preservation Society of Newport County celebrated 95 years of women's suffrage on the terrace of Marble House. The event was free and open to the public.

Former Representative Donna Walsh, retired Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Judith Colenback Savage, and LWVRI board member and author Marian Styles-McClintock read excerpts from suffragists' speeches and documents. Poet Amber Rose Johnson read a poem written to mark the occasion (VIEW VIDEO). A musical interlude and a re-enactment of a "Votes for Women" march completed the event.

The Newport Restoration Foundation, the Newport Historical Society, the Women's Fund of Rhode Island, and the YWCA of Rhode Island co-sponsored the celebration.


Front: Senate President Theresa Paiva-Weed (District 13), Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (District 32),  Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (District 3),  Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (Majority Whip District 01 applauding in back of Secretary Gorbea), Governor Gina Raimondo. Back: Rep. Shelby Maldonado (District 56) and Rep. Kathleen Fogarty (District 35).

Transfers the purchasing power of Voting Equipment from the Board of Elections to the Secretary of State.
State House, August 6, 2015
On the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Right Act
Jane Koster, LWV RI President, served on the Secretary of State's "Voting Equipment Task Force"

LWVRI Biennial Convention 2015
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Keynote speaker: Nellie Gorbea, Secretary of State

9th Annual LWV New England Leadership Development Conference
May 16-17, 2015
Wells, Maine
Keynote Speaker: Nellie Gorbea, RI Secretary of State

Providence LWV Conversation
April 29, 2015
A Woman's Perspective: New Voice on the City Council
Speaker: Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11)
Why she ran and the obstacles she faced.

League Day at the State House
March 24, 2015
Guest Speaker: Governor Gina Raimondo

Three Public "Conversations"
The League of Women Voters Providence and Generation Citizen are partnering with Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum for Three Public "Conversations" (Supported in part with a grant from the LWVRI Education Fund).

March 12, 2015 - "The East Side Engages Providence"

  • Lorne Adrain, former Providence mayoral candidate
  • Cali Almy, Wheeler School Community Service Learning Director
  • Albert Dahlberg, Director of State and Community Relations, Brown's Swearer Center
  • Facilitator: Sarah Bradford

March 19, 2015 - "Latino Education and Engagement"

  • Anna Cano-Morales, Director of Latino Policy Institute, Roger Williams University
  • Soljane Quiles, social studies teacher, Highlander Charter School
  • Jose Baptista, president of the board of directors, the Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund and Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee
  • Facilitator: Sandra Roijas

March 26, 2015 - "Technology and Community Engagement"

  • Andy Cutler, from Smaller Cities Unite
  • Sue Ellen Kroll, Director of Grants and Strategic Partnerships
  • Facilitator: Joan Retsinas

LWV Newport County: Annual Legislators Forum
March 21, 2015
Newport Public Library
All legislators from Newport County — Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (District 12), Sen. Christopher Ottiano (District 11), Sen. M. Teresa Paiva Weed (District 13), Rep. Marvin Abney (District 73), Rep. Dennis Canario (District 71), Rep. John Edwards (District 70), Rep . Daniel Rielly (District 72), Rep. Lauren Carson (District 75), and Rep. Deborah Ruggiero, (District 74) invited.

  • Moderator: LWV Newport County member Erin Dollard

Providence LWV Conversation
October 8, 2014
Crumbling Schools: Too Awful to Ignore
Speaker: Joseph Da Silva, School Construction Coordinator, RI Department of Education
Facts from the Conversation

Election 2014: League of Women Voters' Candidate Forums

National LWV Voter Registration Day
September 23, 2014
Leagues registered voters at: CCRI Providence, Woonsocket YWCA, Broad Street Y, East Side Y, CCRI Newport, State House

Statewide Debates
LWVRI, in collaboration with RI PBS, sponsored three pre-primary Democratic candidate debates, televised live from the PBS studio at 8:00 p.m. Margie O'Brien of RI PBS was moderator.

  • August 14, 2014
    Secretary of State: Nellie Gorbea, Guillaume De Ramel
  • August 21, 2014
    General Treasurer: Frank Caprio, Seth Magaziner
  • August 28, 2014
    Lt. Governor:  Dan Mckee, Ralph Mollis, Frank Ferri

Dinner/Roast in honor of John Hazen White, Jr.
June 27, 2014
The Ballroom at The Providence Biltmore
Providence, RI
The League of Women Voters of West Bay honored John Hazen White, Jr. as its "Man of the Year"

7th Annual Susan B Wilson Award Ceremony
June 11, 2014
State House
Providence, RI
Speaker: Deborah Gist, Commissioner of Education

Annual Meeting & Barbeque of Providence League of Women Voters
June 19, 2014

Joan C. Arnold Award Ceremony: LWV of Newport County  honors Linda Wood
June 11, 2014
Edward King House
Newport, RI

RI LWV Council
May 10, 2014
Jamestown Philomenian Library
Guest Speaker: Dana Chisell, the co-director of the Center for Civic Design, and visiting scientist in political science department at MIT: "Topic: Can We Design a Better Ballot?"

Quad States — Focus: Regional Energy and Energy Efficiency
May 3 & 4, 2014
Hampton Inn, Wells, ME
Participating States: New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut
Keynote Speaker: Jack Cashman, former member of Maine's Public Utilities Commission: "The ISO-NE and the states' Public Utilities Commissions"

A Providence Conversation — The Gangs of Providence: What Can We Do?
March 31, 2014
Sergeant Michael Wheeler discusses street gangs in Providence

A Constitutional Convention in Rhode Island?
March 29, 2014
8:30am – 1:00pm
Bryant University
Co-sponsored by The League of Women Voters of RI and our Good Government partner organizations,
Roger Williams University School of Law, the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University, and Common Cause.

Mayor Diossa with League of Women Voters President Jane Koster.


Joan Retsinas from Providence LWV moderates forum for
candidates for president of the Providence Teachers' Union:
Melissa Cimini, Maribeth Calabro, Daniel Wall

League Day at the State House
March 26, 2014
3:30pm - 6:30pm
Speakers: Central Falls  Mayor James Diossa and Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt

Newport County Legislators Forum
March 22, 2014
9:45 AM – 11: 15 AM
Newport Public Library
Newport, RI
For the first time since the Assembly began its 2014 session, Newport County's State House delegation met as a group with the citizens of Newport County. Ethics legislation emerged as the hot topic. League member Patty MacLeish moderated the forum.

Providence Teachers' Union Forum
March 22, 2014

Forum: Preserving Farm Land
March 12, 2014
Middletown Police Dept.
Speaker: Chuck Allot, Executive Director, Aquidneck Land Trust

A Providence Conversation — Water: we collect it, treat it, disburse it, and sell it to 60% of the state
January 30, 2014
Jeanne Bondarevskis, Water Board Sr. Director of Administration; and Xay Khamsyvoravong, Chair

A Providence Conversation — Taxes in Providence: Rates? Exemptions: Collections? Who Decides?
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Speaker: Councilman Sam Zurier

 LWV Theater Fund-Raising Party at Second Story Theater
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Featuring Stephen Karam's "Sons of the Prophet," a Pulitzer finalist and winner of the Lucille Lortel

A Providence Conversation: Taxes in Providence -- Rates? Exemptions: Collections? Who Decides?
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Speaker: Councilman Sam Zurier

Can we talk? League Connect 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
A Conversation to learn about state programs and hear from Leagues throughout the state about the issues that concern them.

A Providence Conversation: Voting in Providence
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Renay Brooks Omisore, Commissioner, Providence Board of Canvassers
Kathy Placencia, Administrator of Elections, Providence Board of Canvassers

A Forum by the LWVRI and The Election Ready Schools (ERS)
Wednesday August 21, 2013
Bringing Civic Education into RI High Schools: Preparing RI Students for Participation in American Democracy
   Michael Connolly, Administrator of ERS
   Dr. Michael Hall, MPA Director at Roger Williams University
   Robert Rock, Office of RI Secretary of State, Election Division
   Kenneth McGill, Registrar, Pawtucket Board of Canvassers
   Edward Kostka, Educator in Pawtucket High Schools
Roger Williams University Providence Campus, Providence, RI



Judith Webb, the winner of the 2013 Joan C. Arnold Civic Participation Award with LWVRI Board member Rosemary Forbes-Woodside, winner of the 2012 Award.

2nd Annual Joan C. Arnold Award Reception (winner: Judith Webb)
June 19, 2013
Harbor House, Newport, RI

Annual League Day at the State House
March 27, 2013   3:30pm
Guest Speaker: Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts

LWV NEWPORT COUNTY: "Coffee with your Legislators"
March 23, 2013   9:30-11:00am
Potter League for Animals

Everyday Exposés: How to Use The Access To Public Records Act To Uncover Information
March 19, 2013   6:00 to 8:00pm, Rhode Island College
Panelists: Kathy Gregg, The Providence Journal; Scott Pickering, East Bay Newspapers; Amanda Milkovits, The Providence Journal; Tim White, WPRI
Moderator: Ian Donnis, RI Public Radio
Sponsors: New England First Amendment Coalition, ACCESS/RI, Common Cause Rhode Island, League of Women Voters, Rhode Island ACLU, the RI Press Association

Providence Conversation with Keith Oliveira, Chair, Providence School Committee, "Improving Providence Schools"
February 7, 2013

Providence Conversation with Colin Kane, Chair, I-195 Redevelopment Commission, "From Highway to Open Space to City-Scape"
December 12, 2012

Surrounding Institutions
Property Development Parcels - Master Plan

Book Club End-of-Year Luncheon
December 2012
Agawam Hunt Club

Providence League moderates School Board Nominating Commission forum
Providence League members Hollie Courage, Molly Clark, and Wendy Holmes moderated a forum for nominees for School Committee, Providence School Department office.
November 14, 2012

2nd Story Theater's presentation of "An Inspector Calls," JB Priestley's 1945 mystery/morality play set in 1912
November 8, 2012
Bristol Statehouse
Bristol, RI

How To Run A Candidate Forum: A Workshop for 10 Local Leaguers
July 14, 2012
Jamestown, RI

LWV RI  Council 2012
June 16, 2012
Ray Conference Center, Butler Hospital
Speaker: Phil West, former director, Common Cause of RI

Joan C. Arnold 2012 Civic Participation Award
June 7, 2012
Presented by the LWV or Newport County to Rosemary Forbes-Woodside of Jamestown

5th Annual Susan B. Wilson Civic Education Merit Awards
Sponsored by the LWV South County
June 6, 2012
Governor's Reception room, State House
Speaker: RI Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell, Chairperson of iCivics

West Bay LWV Annual Meeting & Dinner
May 1, 2012
Meritage Restaurant, 5454 Post Road, East Greenwich, RI
Speaker: Attorney General Peter Kilmartin
Topic: The Attorney General's Legislative Agenda

Forum: The Role of Charter Schools in Rhode Island Public Education
April 28, 2012
William Hall Branch — Cranston Public Library
Panelists: William Clarke,  Charter School Coordinator, RI Department of Education; James Parisi, field representative, AFL-CIO; Christina Go, Director of Admission and Family Engagement, Beacon Charter High School for the Arts; Jerry Kowalczyk, Executive Director, Times Squared Academy
Sponsored by the League of Women Voters West Bay Chapter

League Day at the State House
April 12, 2012   3:30-6:30pm
Speaker: Stephanie Chafee
Topic: Hunger in Rhode Island

Education Funding Formula Workshop
March 20, 2012   5:30 – 7:00pm
Newport Public Library

Fundraiser: "The Suitors" by Racine
November 20, 2011
2nd Story Theater

"Addicted to Oil" Workshop with Geoff Berg
November 16, 2011
Barrington Public Library
Co-sponsored by Barrington Public Library

Candidates' Night
October 15, 2011
Elmwood Neighborhood
Providence, RI

October 12, 2011
Discussion with Catherine Lutz
Barrington Public Library
Co-sponsored by Barrington Public Library

Art of the Schmooze
October 11, 2011

League Day at the State House
March 30, 2011
Speaker: Governor Lincoln Chafee

League Fundraiser
November 18, 2010
Second Story Theater

Discussion of New Education Funding Formula
November 10, 2010

90th Anniversary Celebration of Women's Right to Vote
August 26, 2010
Marble House
Newport, RI

League Day at the State House
March 10, 2010
Speaker: Deborah Gist

Providence League of Women Voters Conversations offer members a chance for informal conversation over coffee and dessert.

  • Michael Solomon, President, City Council, and Seth Yurdin, Majority Leader
    Rescuing Providence From the Financial Brink
    May 21, 2012
  • Michael D'Amico, Director of Administration
    The City's Pension Abyss: Climbing Out
    February 21, 2012
  • Stephen Pare, Commissioner of Public Safety
    Public Safety: What We Can Pay for, What We Need
    November 1, 2011
  • Robert McMahon, Director, Department of Parks and Recreation
    The Great Gap: What We Can Pay For, What We Want
    September 22, 2011
  • Michael Solomon, President, City Council, and Seth Yurdin, Majority Leader
    How Budget Choices Will Shape Our Future
    May 18, 2011
  • Ann Robinson, Director, Providence Community Library
    The Status of the New Kid on Providence's Block
    April 8, 2010
  • Mary Beth Fafard, Senior Policy Director, The Education Alliance, Brown University
    Are Providence schools racing to the top or sinking to the bottom?
    February 18, 2010


Deborah Gist speaks at 2010
League Day at the State House

April 2012, League Day at the State House
Rosemary Forbes Woodside, Phil West,
Derry Riding, and Jane Koster


The League neither supports nor opposes candidates for office at any level of government.

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