PROVIDENCE – Sen. Jessica de la Cruz and Rep. David Place were among some 21 new legislators formally sworn into office on Tuesday, Jan. 1, as the 2019-2020 session of the Rhode Island General Assembly convened.
de le Cruz, a North Smithfield resident who beat out Democrat Kevin Heitke in November for the District 23 seat, was one of seven new members of the Senate to take the oath of office, administered to all 38 Senate members by Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea.
A Republican, de la Cruz, now holds the Senate seat representing Burrillville, North Smithfield and Glocester, formerly occupied by retiring Sen. Paul Fogarty, a Democrat who served in the role for two decades.
“As I took the oath of office today, I felt the weight of the responsibility that comes with this position,” wrote de la Cruz following the official to the state’s legislative session. “I look forward to representing the district and being your voice at the State House.”
Senators voted to reelect Sen. Dominick Ruggerio of District 4 in Providence and North Providence, as their president for the two-year term. Ruggerio was first elected president in March of 2017.
Place, a Burrillville resident who previously served on the Town Council, was one of 14 new members of the House of Representatives who took the oath on Tuesday. He’ll represent District 47 in Burrillville and Glocester.
After taking the oath, the 75 House members took on business that included re-election of Rep. Nicholas Mattiello, a Democrat from District 15 in Cranston, as the Speaker of the House.
Place, also a Republican, beat out three term Rep. Cale Keable for the seat in November.
The pair of legislators were part of a red wave that hit Burrillville this election season, but they remain a minority in state leadership. Place is one of just nine Republicans elected to the House for the two-year term and de la Cruz is one of just five from her party.