PROVIDENCE (Providence Journal) — Rhode Island House Democrats elected Rep. Katherine Kazarian of East Providence as House majority whip on January 11 at a virtual House Democratic caucas meeting, along with Rep. Mia Ackerman of Cumberland as deputy whip. Majority whip is the third highest ranking position in the House leadership.
New Rhode Island Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, declared: “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,” and promised a collective effort to “reform the way business is done at the State House.”
According to her official biography, Kazarian “has sponsored numerous bills to expand the scope of health insurance coverage for Rhode Islanders, including a law that requires health insurance plans to provide for a 12-month supply of birth control to all those who are insured. She has also sponsored legislation to reduce the burden of student loans and successfully created a process for the Department of Education to collect and organize information concerning the duties and responsibilities performed by school social workers.”
Kazarian grew up in East Providence. A graduate of Columbia University, she majored in Urban Studies and Economics. She was elected as a member of the House of Representatives for District 63 in September 2012. She has a strong background in the tech field, having previously worked at both Upserve and Virgin Pulse, and was previously a Senior Planner for the City of Pawtucket.
Engaged to Sam Daniel, she will be attending law school in the fall.
With great-grandparents who survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915, she was motivated to serve as sponsor of legislation requiring Genocide and Holocaust education in all state middle and high schools. For more on her background, see this Mirror interview.