Rhode Island House Democrats round out leadership team

Democratic State Reps. Mia Ackerman (left) and Katherine Kazarian during the January 5, 2021 House inauguration ceremonies. Photos by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Democrats in the Rhode Island House of Representatives have elected a new leadership team that includes two women in key posts.

Rep. Katherine Kazarian of East Providence was elected House majority whip, while Rep. Mia Ackerman of Cumberland was named as deputy whip, The Providence Journal reported Monday.

Both were recommended by new Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi.

“The whip and deputy whip are part of the leadership team. They meet regularly with legislators to discuss their priorities and they answer questions about legislation that comes to the House floor,” House spokesman Larry Berman said.

The voting took place at a virtual House Democratic caucus meeting, which also saw the reelection of Rep. Charlene Lima of Cranston as deputy speaker, Brian Kennedy of Hopkinton as speaker pro tempore, and Grace Diaz of Providence as chairwoman of the Democratic caucus.

“I am very excited about our leadership team, which brings a combination of new energy and vast experience on all matters pertaining to the House,” Shekarchi said.