From Bishop Hendricken High School to Johnston Town Hall

SEN. WHITEHOUSE: ‘Proud to have had you as a student’


From Bishop Hendricken High School to Johnston Town Hall.

That’s the path Joseph Michael Polisena Jr. traveled to Monday night’s historic swearing-in after successfully succeeding his father as Mayor of the Town of Johnston, where they both were born.

Along the way, Polisena Jr. earned three law degrees that included studying at Roger Williams University School of Law under former U.S. Attorney, the Ocean State’s 71st Attorney General and current U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who was among the special speakers during Monday’s highly impressive ceremony.

“I’m very proud to have had you as a student,” Whitehouse said. “I’m looking forward to following your days as mayor and I’m confident you will succeed and continue to distinguish Johnston just as your father did.”

Polisena Jr., who as a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association, enrolled in Rhode Island College in 2009 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice in 2012 following his graduation from Bishop Hendricken.

His next stop was the Roger Williams University of School of Law where he earned the prestigious Juris Doctor in 2015 then enrolled in Providence College and earned a Master of Business Administration Degree in 2021.

In 2016 Polisena Jr. started as a staff attorney with the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office and worked in Courtroom 4G (pretrial calendar) in Providence County handling anywhere between 10-50 cases per day.

Then, in October 2017, he moved to Kent County Courtroom 2D handling District Court in Courtroom 2B in front of Rhode Island District Court Administrative Judge Elaine T. Bucci, handling the District Court state calendar.

While in Kent County, he also handled Superior Court violations, and then in August 2018 he was reassigned to Newport County to handle misdemeanors and felonies.

Polisena Jr. also served as Town Council Vice President following his election in 2018 and was a Municipal Prosecutor for the City of Cranston and opened his private practice, the Law Offices of Joseph Polisena Jr.

On Monday morning, he moved into the office his father has occupied for 16 years — now known as the Executive Chamber of Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena Jr.


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