John Edwards with his wife and daughter

With Rep. Dennis Canario announcing his retirement last week, Tiverton town councilman John Edwards announced today that he will run for the District 71 House of Representatives seat (Little Compton, Portsmouth, Tiverton).  Edwards is a twice elected town councilor in Tiverton, serving one term as the vice chair.

“I have a great admiration for Rep Canario and what he was able to accomplish in his time at the State House,” said Edwards in a statement.  “I would like to follow Rep Canario’s lead and work tirelessly for the voters in Portsmouth, Tiverton and Little Compton to ensure their voices are heard at the state level.”

Edwards noted that his background in finance will be vitally important as the state budget is facing a $800 million deficit because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Edwards’ honorable service with leading business and community organizations has also prepared him to be a strong, new voice at the State House.  Edwards has been a member of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, a board member for the Tiverton Waste Water District, a volunteer for Child and Family Services of Newport County, and a member of the United Way Youth Leadership Council.

“If the voters of Tiverton, Portsmouth and Little Compton trust me with their vote, I will go to the State House and be a strong voice to kickstart our economy and continue to improve our health care and education systems,” said Edwards.  “I believe that we need to keep property taxes low, phase out the car tax completely and shore up our municipal pension systems. Fiscal responsibility is key.”

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Edwards graduated from Tiverton High School and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Assumption College with a BA in Business Management and a minor in Political Science. Edwards is the Regional Sales Director in the Northeast for PCS Retirement, the nation’s third largest independent retirement plan recordkeeper, headquartered in Philadelpha, PA. Edwards resides in Tiverton with his wife Brittany Rapoza Edwards and daughter Amelia.  In his spare time, he says that he enjoys community service along with golf, skiing and sailing.  

Edwards’ father, John G. Edwards, is the State Representative for District-70 (Portsmouth & Tiverton) and the House Majority Whip.

Edwards encourages voters to connect with him directly by phone, email or on Facebook @john.edwards.rep71

While the Declaration of Candidacy for those seeking to run for local and statewide seats is June 22 – 24, we already know that Edwards will have at least one challenger for the seat. Michelle McGaw announced her candidacy for District 71 last year.


The 2020 election season is officially underway, as candidates for local, statewide, and legislative seats begin to file their declarations of candidacy this week.

Those wishing to run for General Assembly or local offices must file with the local board of canvassers in the town in which they are registered to vote between June 22 and June 24.

Those declaring to run for U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives must file with the Department of State’s Elections Division, 148 West River St., Providence.

Party endorsements are due by June 26 for U.S. Senate and U.S. House, and June 25 for all local and General Assembly races.

The next major step for candidate is picking up nomination papers from local canvassers on June 30 and returning them with the required number of signatures by July 10.

For local offices, the number of signatures is set by the Canvassing Authorities and may vary by community.

For General Assembly seats, Senatorial candidates must collect 100 signatures, House of Representative candidates, 50. For U.S. Senate the minimum is 1,000 and U.S. Representatives, 500.

The deadline for individuals to withdraw their candidacies is July 13, otherwise their name appears on the ballot, even if they decide not to run.

All this leads to the primary election on Sept. 8, and the general election on Nov. 3. The deadline to register to vote for the primary is August 9, for the general election, Oct. 4.

Follow our 2020 Election Coverage here and here – Who’s running for office in Newport County? List of local and state candidates is here

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