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Representative Cassar appeals to House colleagues in bid to become Speaker

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We, together, can model good government with inclusive decision-making, diplomatic communication, and transparency that upholds the ideals of ethics and democracy.


Rhode Island State Representative Liana Cassar (Democrat, District 66, Barrington, East Providence) formally announced her bid for Rhode Island House Speaker today.  “With so many pressing challenges in the coming session because of the public health crisis and resulting economic disruption, I am urging my colleagues to consider how we want our chamber led. There is agreement from people on the inside and the outside of the House of Representatives that we need change.  What does it say about us as stewards of the public trust if we continue with the status quo? I am standing up to bring together members of this chamber around a new vision, and a new way of conducting business at the State House,” said Cassar.

This announcement comes days before the general election that will determine if current Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston) will return to the chamber after the General Election.

Along with her announcement, Cassar released a memo shared earlier with House colleagues titled “We, Together.” The memo harkens to what many have described as a divisive and exclusionary leadership style in the House, and offers a vision for what is possible under new leadership, stating, “We, together, can model good government with inclusive decision-making, diplomatic communication, and transparency that upholds the ideals of ethics and democracy.”

Here’s the letter:

We, together, have been elected to the House of Representatives to do the work of the people of our state.

We, together, can create a leadership team that enables us to effectively, efficiently, and empathetically do the work our constituents sent us here to do, while making sure our chamber is a place where the public can be heard respectfully, as they deserve to be.

We, together, can create a chamber in which there is trust and a commitment to collaboration and problem-solving.


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We, together, can model good government with inclusive decision-making, diplomatic communication, and transparency that upholds the ideals of ethics and democracy.

We, together, can guarantee that all Representatives sent to this chamber are treated equitably and with respect, and in a manner that values the unique perspectives and expertise we all possess.

We, together, can support each other as we champion issues that improve the lives of Rhode Islanders and act as committed stewards of our economy, our environment, our institutions and our infrastructure.

We, together, can do better for RI.

I ask you to join me in this commitment to do better for Rhode Island. As you consider what your constituents have sent you to do, and the unprecedented challenges we face, please consider what you want from leadership and your colleagues, and how we, together, can build a better House.

This legislative session, you have a choice. I ask you to stand with me in developing a leadership team that values the talents and ideas of all of us and allows us to walk into the chamber inspired about the work we are doing for the people of Rhode Island. I ask for your vote for Speaker of the House.


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Cassar also included a biography with the announcement above:

For the last 22 years, Rep. Liana Cassar has been a leader in the health care operations and public health space in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She has a breadth of experience as a strategy and operations consultant specializing in change management and systems improvement for complex health and human service organizations in both the nonprofit and private sector.

From community health centers to hospitals, and to corporate technology spaces, Liana has led interdisciplinary teams to address veterans’ health issues, public health challenges in low-income communities, global access to reproductive health, and the development and implementation of healthcare technology.  She holds a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University, a Master’s of Business Administration from Simmons College, and Bachelor’s degrees in Communications and Spanish from the University of Connecticut.

Community service has always been a priority for Liana. Long before her 2018 election as Rhode Island State Representative, she served in the Peace Corps as a Community Development Worker in Costa Rica.  She has been a volunteer with the Barrington Public Schools and Moms Demand Action. Liana is a past board member of the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island and currently serves as an Advisory Board member of the Center for Health and Justice Transformation.

Liana and her husband, Larson Gunness, have raised their family in Barrington, RI where they have lived since 1999.