Rep. Deborah Ruggiero has been honored by the Rhode Island Parent Information Network (RIPIN) with its 2017 Legislative Partner Award.

Representative Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown) was honored for her “commitment, proven track record and understanding of educational and health issues facing our families and children with special health care needs through sponsorship, legislation and advocacy,” RIPIN Executive Director Stephen Brunero said.

In her first year in office, Representative Ruggiero led a successful effort to save the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner from a proposed elimination. That office now partners with RIPIN to help thousands of people every year get healthcare and insurance.  In 2011, she sponsored the Safe Schools Act, Rhode Island’s anti-bullying law.

She’s been a leader for years on expanding Child Care Assistance, including supporting a new effort this year to reward the highest quality child care centers. She’s fought repeatedly to preserve and expand funding for developmentally disabled children and adults. This year, Representative Ruggiero is the sponsor of legislation to extend foster care services from age 18 to 21, and to allow a tiered payment structure for child-care assistance to encourage high-quality care. She also supports the initiative for all home-care support providers to earn at least $15 an hour within five years.

Established in 1991, RIPIN assists individuals, parents, families and children to achieve their goals for health, education, and socio-economic well-being by providing information, training, education, support and advocacy for person/family centered care and system change.

“I am proud that the work I do at the State House helps kids and families lead safer, healthier and more enriching lives. All Rhode Islanders deserve to grow up secure and with the support they need to flourish, and I’m grateful to be a partner with RIPIN in working to ensure that happens,” said Representative Ruggiero.

House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) presented to the award to Representative Ruggiero at the organization’s third annual breakfast June 1 at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).