NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Senate has approved naming the Community College of Rhode Island’s Newport campus after former Sen. M. Teresa Paiva Weed, despite some opposition.
Paiva Weed was praised by many of her Senate colleagues for her advocacy for Rhode Islanders. She was first elected to the Senate in 1992 and became its first female leader in November 2008. She served as majority leader and chairwoman of the Committee on Judiciary — the first woman to serve in these capacities in either chamber.
Paiva Weed resigned in 2017 to become president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island — the first woman to hold that position as well.
Senators discussed the plan for around 40 minutes Tuesday night. Those apprehensive to honor Paiva Weed included lieutenant governor candidate Cynthia Mendes.
“To have a bill from a friend by a friend in the Senate and naming state college buildings after friends is the exact kind of inside politics that Rhode Islanders are pretty sick of,” she said.
Mendes also noted that Paiva Weed voted against legalizing same-sex marriage in 2013 and naming the campus for her could be an affront to LGBTQ students.
Other critics of the naming pointed out Paiva Weed’s long-standing opposition to abortion rights.
After the Senate bill was approved 34-2, the proposal now goes to the House.