October 28, 2018

Girl Scouts honor Tanzi as "Leading Woman of Distinction"

It was quite an honor to be recognized by The Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England as a "Leading Woman of Distinction" at their annual awards breakfast. At the ceremony I was asked what advice I would offer girls today, and I gave the following advice:

"We must teach our girls to be resilient, to stand tall and proud and speak up. Speak out. Be loud. Be angry. BE UNAPOLOGETIC. Girls need to speak truth to power, own their power, cultivate their power, and we must let them lead, because they will be the ones who change the world." 

Thank you to the Girls Scouts for inspiring generations of girls to be strong, confident women in world that constantly challenges them. Now, more than ever, we need an organization like theirs and I am so grateful to them for this recognition. #GirlPower

Tanzi, Dzwierzynski vying for D-34 seat

by Zack DeLuca, The Independent Staff Writer (Link to full article here)
Tanzi spoke of her efforts related to health care, and cited South County Hospital as a resource that must be protected.
“I want to continue to safeguard our community hospital, which is the last one in the state that’s independent,” she said. “I want to make sure our independent hospital has the resources it needs and continue to improve the system of behavioral health delivery, because we are severely lacking.”
Tanzi noted that she recently received the Charles Hachadorian Jr. Award from the Rhode Island Pharmacists Association, an honor given annually to a non-pharmacist. The group lauded Tanzi for her sponsorship of legislation to prohibit so-called “gag clauses” in pharmacy benefit manager contracts. Those clauses prohibit pharmacists from sharing information with consumers about less costly or alternative prescription options.
“There was not only a cheaper way to obtain a particular medicine that a young constituent of mine needed for Lyme disease, but they also had them get a less effective medicine,” Tanzi said of her support for the legislation. “They told the mom of this little boy he needed one particular drug for $400 when there was actually a more effective version of it for $7. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, not having the pharmacist be able to tell them that, when it was a hardship for their family.”
Tanzi said through her service on the House Finance and Small Business committees, she has focused on “safeguarding the limited resources Rhode Island has for economic development.”
She also spoke of efforts to strengthen laws related to sexual harassment. She co-sponsored legislation to create a legislative study commission on the issue, and while the panel made a number of recommendations, none were acted upon before the General Assembly’s session concluded.
Tanzi, at the time, said she was “disappointed” and “disgusted” with the lack of action from legislative leaders. She said given the current climate in the nation’s capital, Rhode Island must take action to ensure its values and the rights of its citizens are protected.
“I think people want to know that if the [federal government] starts saying, ‘We’re going to send everything back to the states,’ they want to understand that those types of safeguards are in place,” she said.
Among other accomplishments during her tenure, Tanzi pointed to the development of bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly community infrastructure, the increased availability of multi-modal transit options for commuters and improved prevention measures aimed at curbing teen tobacco and nicotine addiction.
“I am continuing to work on a number of pieces of legislation around that,” she said. “These things take time and I’ve been able to implement some portions of the regulations, but there’s still a lot more to be done.”

October 7, 2018

Representative Tanzi Earns Pharmacists Association Award

The Rhode Island Pharmacists Association honored Rep. Teresa Tanzi with the 2018 Charles Hachadorian Jr. Award. The award is presented annually to a non-pharmacist who has recognized the efforts that the profession of pharmacy has made to healthcare and has actively supported those efforts.
Representative Tanzi has long been a supporter of pharmacists in Rhode Island. As one of the representatives representing South Kingstown, she has advocated for University of Rhode Island and its College of Pharmacy throughout the years, and has hosted its pharmacy students at the State House on Pharmacy Day for several years. This year, Representative Tanzi was the sponsor of pro-consumer, pro-pharmacist legislation (2018-H 7700) to prohibit gag clauses in pharmacy benefit manager contracts that ban pharmacists from telling consumers about cheaper ways to purchase prescriptions or more effective alternatives. 

The award was presented Thursday at the Rhode Island Pharmacists Association’s 144th President’s Dinner, held at Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown.

“I feel tremendously honored to be recognized by the Rhode Island Pharmacists Association, whose members contribute enormously to the health and wellbeing of the people of our state. It’s a privilege to be their advocate at the State House, because I know pharmacists are the front line of health care and are the most accessible providers to patients. They are hardworking, dedicated health professionals who are looking out for Rhode Islanders’ wellbeing." said Representative Tanzi. 

Tanzi Stands with Survivors on Village Green

Representative Teresa Tanzi spoke out against the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and in support of survivors of sexual violence and abuse at a gathering on the Wakefield Village Green. She spoke about the recent wave of admissions by women about their assaults, and about the importance of believing and supporting survivors of abuse.

Rep. Tanzi has stood up against harassment with a number of bills to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace which she introduced in the last legislative session.

Rep. Tanzi also attended a rally protesting the confirmation of now Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States, where survivors shared their stories and objections to the confirmation. She is pictured here with Representative Kathy Fogarty.

September 28, 2018

Inspired by collaborative spirit of our state leaders

I was recently recognized in this Op-Ed in the Cranston Herald that was co-authored and signed by the executive directors of 23 agencies that provide supports to approximately 3,600 Rhode Islander’s with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities and their families. The work that is being done and will continue to be done by these organizations in Rhode Island is work I am proud to support through my advocacy in the legislature.

"We are lucky to have the support of champions in the legislature like Rep. Teresa Tanzi and Sen. Louis DiPalma who recognize that these changes are not insignificant, and our state’s leaders have recognized that for a time this will require additional investment."

September 17, 2018

50 days and counting...

Women have the most to gain in this election, and the most to lose!

Don't sit on the sidelines, get involved!! #VotePinkWaveRI

August 31, 2018

Tanzi acquires 18 passenger van to help increase engagement in SK Schools

SOUTH KINGSTOWN — After working for many months to acquire a vehicle to transport families in need to and from meetings and events, the South Kingstown School District earlier this week finally received its van. 
“We came to realize that it really, truly was something that was preventing families from fully engaging in their children’s education,” Rep. Teresa Tanzi said Thursday, a day after the van arrived in South Kingstown. “So I wanted to make this happen.”
The 18-passenger van was donated to the district by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA). 
After Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow early this year realized the need for a van to transport families in need to various meetings—including IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and 504 meetings—the district worked with Tanzi to apply to receive a van which had been retired from RIPTA’s fleet. 
“They’re very well maintained vehicles,” Tanzi said, “but their functional life for [RIPTA] is shorter than their functional life, in general.”
RIPTA has stringent requirements regarding upkeep and mileage on its fleets, Tanzi explained. Once a vehicle—like the donated van—has reached the maximum mileage it’s allowed per RIPTA requirements, it’s made available for donation to municipalities. 
But the process for acquiring a vehicle is competitive, Tanzi said. 
“There’s always lots of need,” she continued. “It’s a competitive process where they look at the need in the community and how useful it’s going to be in the community.”
In fact, the school district was approved several months ago to receive a van, but the van it chose had a blown engine. 
“None of us were willing to give up,” Tanzi said. 
She added she was “so pleased” when the van finally arrived Wednesday.
Due largely to a lack of public transportation in the area, Tanzi said children and their parents often miss out on participating in programs offered at the schools. 
“Transportation has long been a barrier to fully participating in a whole manner of things—whether it’s being able to access health care, or in this case participate fully in the school environment,” said Tanzi, who also serves on the steering committee for South County Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds (HBHM). 
Funded primarily by the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of 10 Health Equity Zones in the state, HBHM strives to ensure “equal access to healthy living resources and lifestyles,” according to its website.
“We’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic,” Tanzi said, “and this is an opportunity for us to look into making sure kids have access to exercise, they have access to healthy foods—it’s an opportunity to provide a good foundation for them to grow up understanding how important it is to exercise and eat well to have lifelong health.”
In addition to that physical component, HBHM also strives to address mental health issues.
And this van, Tanzi said, will make it easier for HBHM to meet its wellness goals. 
“Anxiety for youth these days is through the roof,” Tanzi added. “Being engaged in the community and having them tied to the community is really critical to having them be well emotionally. And having them connected—transportation is a key part of that.”
The school committee last spring designated funding in its budget for a teacher assistant who will drive the van. 
Transportation services will begin at the start of the upcoming school year. Families in need of transportation should contact their child’s principal for information and support.

August 29, 2018

Tanzi serves on national panel on government response to sexual harassment

STATE HOUSE – Rep. Teresa Tanzi served as a panelist earlier this month at a Council on State Governments forum on the #MeToo Movement and women in politics.
The panel discussion was part of the Council on State Governments Eastern Regional Conference annual meeting and regional policy forum, held in Rye Brooke, N.Y, and attended by state and province leaders from the eastern parts of the United States and Canada.
“The important discussion of how we stop harassment in the workplace is still playing out all across the world. Ultimately, we need a two-pronged approach: change the laws and change the culture. Of course, changing cultural norms takes time, but as leaders in government, we must use our positions to quickly update and enact stronger laws, then lead by example by instating clear internal workplace policies, reporting procedures and strong actions that will foster a cultural shift. That is a process that can be slower and more complicated than it need be, but as was evidenced by my colleagues from other states, with true leadership, it is possible. We must remain committed to enacting better protections, because the status quo is leaving people across our state vulnerable,” said Representative Tanzi.
Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) this year led a legislative commission that examined sexual harassment laws and policies. The commission was created in response to the #MeToo movement and Representative Tanzi’s own story about interactions with a fellow legislator.
The CSG panel examined the response to new and pending legislation to promote improved workplace behavior, and improved processes for investigating claims of harassment confidentially and fairly, and a transparent way of dealing with those who cross the line. Besides Representative Tanzi, the panel included Maryland Speaker Pro Tempore Adrienne Jones, Rep. Christopher M. Rabb of Pennsylvania and New York Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and was moderated by Kelly Dittmar, Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

August 27, 2018

Survey shows most R.I. lawmakers want longer statute of limitations on sex-abuse crimes

How, or why, would anyone try to protect those who perpetrated such unimaginable crimes on our children- especially those who have had benefitted from the trust bestowed upon them by virtue of their relationship to the church. This bill should have had a vote, and should I be back in January, I will once again co-sponsor this bill and demand an immediate vote from our new leadership. Kudos to Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee for her efforts on this issue! #TimesUpRI

Rep. Teresa Tanzi, D-South Kingstown: “We are out of step with our neighbors 
and out of step with reality. The average age at which people come forward 
with their stories of abuse is at age 57. These are horrible experiences 
that take decades to process, and 7 years is woefully inadequate.” 

Excerpt from Projo article, link above to full story.

August 10, 2018

Rep. Tanzi secures grant for new firefighter safety equipment

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Local legislators have secured a grant to improve firefighter safety in South Kingstown. Dist. 34 (South Kingstown, Narragansett) Representative Teresa Tanzi, and Dist. 33 (South Kingstown, Narragansett) Representative Carol Hagan McEntee and Dist. announced the new funds in a joint press release this week. 
The $5,000 legislative grant received by the South Kingstown Forest Fire Service for the purposes of purchasing new safety equipment. The new equipment, Blitzfire portable monitors, will help combat heavy fires with the initial application of large water volumes to allow firefighters positioning while fighting large blazes. The device, according to the press release, can also be used to protect exposures. 
In a statement, McEntee touted the volunteer efforts of the South Kingstown fire fighting branch. 
“The SK Forest Fire Service protects us all and it is an honor to help them secure a piece of equipment that will protect those that selflessly protect our community, especially since they are an all-volunteer fire department and I want to thank them for their service to our community,” said McEntee.
McEntee added the need for the equipment and resulting grant arose after a member of the Forest Fire Service approached the pair of legislators. 
“Captain Joe Notorantonio was the one who came to me and asked if there was any money at the state level to purchase this piece of equipment, and we were able to do that through a legislative grant,” she said. “This equipment is going to make it safer for firefighters to go in and combat the fire and, of course, we want to support our volunteer firefighters and make it as safe as possible for them to get in and save lives.” 
The legislative grant represents another recent instance of government securing funds to ensure firefighter safety, as in July, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Jim Langevin announced $218,000 in federal funding to the Narragansett Fire Department, also for the purchase of new equipment. 
Tanzi said in addition to protecting the firefighters from especially ferocious fires, the new Blitzfire monitors could also help minimize impact to affected property. 
“When you hear of a need for a piece of equipment to help keep our firefighters safe, you just have to do what you can to make sure they receive it,” she said. “This will help keep the firefighters safe, but will also help them to minimize the devastation to a property from the fire.”
“It provides critical protection to property owners and the first responders, a true win-win, and I was happy to work with Rep. McEntee to make it happen,” Tanzi added.