CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Cranston City Council has made history in electing its new president and vice president.
It’s the first time two women have held those roles simultaneously.
“It was very humbling,” Jessica Marino said after the unanimous nomination for president, which she called unexpected. “For them to have that much trust in me was very comforting.”
“If there was ever a time for a first female president, this was a very good time,” Marino added.
That’s because she’s one of four women on the nine-person council, including the now second-in-command, Lammis Vargas. She’s not the first woman to take that title, but she’s making history in her own right by becoming the first woman of color elected to the position.
Both women said they’re shattering glass ceilings and they each attributed that to their heritage. Marino and Vargas are both first-generation Americans. Marino’s parents are from Italy and Vargas’s are from Colombia.
“As the daughter of immigrant parents, it is the American dream,” Vargas said.
Marino said her role as leader of the city council is about giving back to the community, even though she knows it won’t be easy. She’s already received notice from the Republican caucus criticizing how she handled the selection of municipal court judges at the inaugural meeting.
“I know full well what comes with the job and you cannot control other people,” she added.
Both women have set the city’s finances as the top agenda item for the council’s first meeting on Jan. 23. Marino called it the umbrella under which everything else falls.