State Representative Leonela Felix selected as one of nation’s outstanding rising leaders“Our nation’s communities face a historic moment of challenge, and it is a humbling and energizing time to be a new state representative,” said Felix. “As I continue to advocate for the long-term economic security of Rhode Island’s working families, the NewDEAL network will help strengthen my work. I am excited to share ideas with leaders from across the country and learn from successful elected officials who are fighting to expand opportunities for our nation’s families.”
Published on May 6, 2021
The following is a press release and not an Uprise RI-written news story.
From a press release:
Today, Rhode Island State Representative Leonela “Leo” Felix (Democrat, District 61, Pawtucket) was selected as one of 19 leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), a selective national network of state and local elected officials.
Felix joins the group at a time when state and local leaders are on the frontlines of responding to the pandemic and as they take on a critical role in implementing the American Rescue Plan recently signed by President Joe Biden. The new law will send hundreds of billions of dollars to state and local governments. NewDEALers are supporting each other in addressing the many challenges created and exacerbated by COVID-19 by innovating, convening virtually, and sharing good ideas. The NewDEAL has launched a database of policies and programs that address the wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic and is publishing recommendations for building back better from this crisis.
Members of the nearly 200-person network are working to enact pro-growth progressive solutions in a diverse array of communities. They have been chosen from more than 1650 nominations over its decade-long history.
Felix and her peers in the new class of leaders (listed below) were recognized for their unwavering commitment to expanding opportunity as they work to build back better in their communities and reject the idea that policymakers can or should want to turn the clock back to a prior era. These leaders’ work will build on policy recommendations that NewDEAL Leaders help develop, including the release of reports on education and climate change, as well as recommendations from the NewDEAL Forum Renewing American Task Force, which has provided guidance for state and local leaders to address affordable housing, child care, broadband access, entrepreneurship, mass transit, and the social safety net. Leaders are currently participating in NewDEAL’s Build Back Better series, which supports them in addressing simultaneous crises around public health, the economy, racial equity and climate change.
NewDEAL Leaders have found broad support for their work across red, blue, and purple states and cities, with more than 20 rising to higher office in the past few years. These leaders include members of Congress, such as Marilyn Strickland in Washington, Greg Stanton in Arizona, and Jennifer Wexton in Virginia, as well as new Mayors in cities from Dallas and Phoenix to Boise, Kansas City and Montgomery, AL. Additional leaders are on the ballot for Congress and other higher offices in 2022.
“Our nation’s communities face a historic moment of challenge, and it is a humbling and energizing time to be a new state representative,” said Felix. “As I continue to advocate for the long-term economic security of Rhode Island’s working families, the NewDEAL network will help strengthen my work. I am excited to share ideas with leaders from across the country and learn from successful elected officials who are fighting to expand opportunities for our nation’s families.”
First elected to the state house in 2020, Felix was selected to join NewDEAL because of her dedication to supporting Rhode Island’s working families and reforming the state’s criminal justice system. One of Felix’s key initiatives tackled problems with Rhode Island’s parole and probation and was incorporated into Governor Daniel McKee‘s annual budget. Her program introduced a system of credits earned through good behavior and participation in vocational or academic education. Her legislation both reduces people’s sentences and the workload of probation officers, streamlining this process and easing reentry after incarceration or court involvement. Representative Felix works for the City of Providence on municipal ethics and public records requests and previously served as the policy director at Progreso Latino, a leading advocacy organization for Rhode Island’s Latinx and immigrant communities and as a member of the Rhode Island Commission for Health Advocacy and Equity.
The new class of NewDEAL Leaders includes:
- Representative Jeremy Gray, Auburn, AL
- Senator Ben Allen, Los Angeles, Baldwin Park, CA
- Assemblymember Blanca Rubio, CA
- Representative Dylan Roberts, Eagle, CO
- Senator Will Haskell, Westport, CT
- Representative Quentin Phipps, Middlesex, CT
- Senator Sarah McBride, Wilmington, DE
- Representative Christine Hunschofsky, Parkland, FL
- Representative Tram Nguyen, Andover, MA
- Mayor Zeb Smathers, Canton, NC
- Senator Rebecca Kwoka, Rockingham, NH
- Representative Denny Ruprecht, Grafton, NH
- Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti, Scranton, PA
- Commissioner Ken Lawrence, Montgomery County, PA
- Representative Leonela Felix, Pawtucket, RI
- School Board Member Sheleah Harris, Shelby County, TN
- Mayor Trey Mendez, Brownsville, TX
- Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray, VT
- Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck, WA
The NewDEAL brings together leaders focused on expanding opportunity, helping them develop and spread innovative ideas to spur economic growth that is broadly-earned and sustainable. Most importantly, the organization facilitates the exchange of ideas among its members and connects them with other pro-growth progressive political, policy, and private sector leaders.
Today’s announcement brings the total number of NewDEAL members – statewide officials, legislators, mayors, councilmembers, and other local leaders – to 178 leaders from 47 states.
Learn more about Rep. Felix and the NewDEAL at http://www.newdealleaders.org/leaders.
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