Sen. Anderson endorses Tuttle to replace her in new Dist. 31

Posted 3/30/22

Senate District 31 will have a new state senator come January after state Sen. Kendra Anderson announced that she wouldn’t be seeking re-election on Tuesday.

“It has been an honor to …

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Sen. Anderson endorses Tuttle to replace her in new Dist. 31


Senate District 31 will have a new state senator come January after state Sen. Kendra Anderson announced that she wouldn’t be seeking re-election on Tuesday.

“It has been an honor to serve the people of District 31,” said Anderson. “Together, we have made great progress: we finally passed a $15 minimum wage and groundbreaking climate legislation. I am greatly looking forward to representing our district for the remainder of my term. I believe that the next generation has what it takes to continue our fight for justice.”

Anderson won the open seat in 2020 after former state Sen. Erin Lynch Prata opted against running for re-election in order to pursue a spot on the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Lynch Prata previously held the seat for 12 years.

In the Democratic Primary Anderson faced off against former City Council President Steve Merolla, Mike Mitta, and Brian Dunckley. In the general election Anderson beat out Republican Scott Zambarano.

Anderson announced previously during a fundraiser in October that she was running for re-election.

Asked why she decided not to run for re-election Anderson said on Tuesday, “one key reason I ran for office was to change government systems so they could work for the Rhode Islanders who they were built to serve.”

“I played a role in the progress made on that front, by first getting elected as the only baby boomer alongside ten other progressive activists,” said Anderson. “ It’s not common for someone of my generation to be an outspoken advocate of social justice and that’s important, but I think it’s more important for the solutions to the inequities of our day to come from the people most impacted by the issues such as young people and people of color. I have always viewed myself as someone who would do the initial work in the General Assembly and then step aside for the next generation of fierce racial and environmental justice advocates to run for office.”

It didn’t take long for Anderson to decide on who she would prefer to replace her. On Tuesday Anderson endorsed Harrison Tuttle, the Executive Director of Black Lives Matter RI PAC in the race.

“It is with deep conviction and enthusiasm that I announce my endorsement of Harrison Tuttle in this race,” said Anderson. “I’ve come to know Harrison (Tuttle)  as a powerful advocate for racial and economic justice in our state. I know he has the knowledge, energy and experience to represent this district with compassion and integrity in the Rhode Island Senate. I ask that you join me in supporting his campaign.”

Tuesday morning Tuttle formally  announced that he would be running for the seat in a press release.

“‘I’m excited to announce my campaign for State Senate District 31 and to take my fight for economic, climate, and racial justice to the State House,” said Tuttle. “I’ve watched my single mom struggle to raise me and my two brothers while trying to make enough money to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. I’ve struggled alongside my neighbors and friends to afford healthcare and housing. And we’re not the only ones in Rhode Island facing these crises. Our struggle has moved me to advocate with others to build a state that prioritizes the basic human needs of our communities and ensures a livable planet.”

Tuttle, a Cranston native  attended Hope Highlands Elementary, Western Hills Middle School, and graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School in 2018.

In his announcement it was noted that Tuttle’s grandmother Christine Cole—the Former Chairperson of the Cranston Zoning Board—introduced him to public service.

Growing up Tuttle was a volunteer with his grandmother  at the St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry on Princess Ave. and was an altar server at St. Mary’s Parish. His grandmother passed away last year due to Covid-19 Tuttle said.

“After the murder of George Floyd, Harrison took to the streets in peaceful protest. Wanting to make a positive change, he became heavily involved in political organizing through Black Lives Matter RI PAC, before becoming their Executive Director,” a press release read.

Previously Tuttle’s Cranston neighborhood of Eden Park was in Senate District 28  which is represented by state Sen. Josh Miller. After redistricting, part of Cranston was absorbed by District 31. He said that he had no plans of challenging Anderson, but after receiving a call from her and working out the details with her, both Tuttle and Anderson  agreed that it was best that Tuttle ran in the community he grew up in.

Tuttle announced earlier this year that he was planning on running for a General Assembly seat but didn’t indicate for what seat.

“Ultimately me and State Senator Kendra Anderson decided together, mutually that it was the best decision for me to run in the community where I live, where I’ve spent my whole life, so for me the decision was very easy once me and Kendra Anderson sat together and discussed the details,” Tuttle said in a phone interview Monday.

Tuttle said on Monday that Anderson originally reached out to him. He said he had no intentions of running against Anderson.

In a statement Tuesday Tuttle said “I’ve been inspired by Senator Anderson’s fierce dedication to fighting for racial, economic, and climate justice.”

“I am sad to hear that she will not be seeking reelection but am honored to have her support. Her powerful voice representing her community will be missed in the Senate. I greatly look forward to working with her as an advocate in the future,” said Tuttle.

Tuttle said he is “running on a community centered platform to ensure everyone’s basic needs are met.”

One of the platform items that Tuttle is running on is affordable housing, specifically building  “10,000 green affordable homes.”

For Tuttle housing insecurity is something he experienced first hand.

Tuttle said he was a sophomore in high school when  black mold and lead poisoning was discovered in the western Cranston home his family lived in.  His family had 15 days to move out and find a new place to live, Tuttle said.

The family lived in a hotel temporarily until they found a place to live that his mother, and grandmother could afford. Eventually they found a place to stay in West Warwick for two years before returning to Cranston during his senior year of high school.

Tuttle said that the family had to scramble to find a place that they could afford that wasn’t a hotel.  The issue he said was that there is a lack of affordable housing across the state and is something he wants to make a priority for his platform.

Other platform specifics that Tuttle pointed to is raising the minimum wage to $19 an hour,

legalizing marijuana, banning for profit prisons, investing in mental health and addiction services, and passing universal healthcare and a Green New Deal that centers racial justice.

Tuttle will be running as a Rhode Island Political Cooperative candidate. Also running from the Coop in Warwick  includes Jennifer Rourke against state Sen. Michael McCaffrey, Zakary Pereira against state Rep. Joseph Solomon Jr. and state Sen. Jeanine Calkin will be running again with the Coop in a rematch against Mark McKenney.

For what’s next for Anderson she said “I’ve been dedicated to public service most of my life and I’m excited about the many opportunities coming my way.”

“ I’ll continue my work as volunteer coordinator for West Bay Community Action and on the leadership team of the Norwood Neighborhood Association. I plan to take the URI Master Gardener course and broaden my work with sustainable food systems in RI and the Northeast,” said Anderson.

District 31, Anderson, Tuttle


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