RI Sen. Gayle Goldin to step down for post in Biden administration
Providence Journal (RI)
PROVIDENCE — Sen. Gayle Goldin is resigning her state Senate seat to take a job in the Biden administration.
The East Side Democrat is perhaps best known outside the State House as the lead sponsor of Rhode Island's "temporary caregiver" law, which provides disability insurance payments, otherwise known as TDI, to those out of work caring for a newborn, a newly adopted child or a sick relative.
She is quitting the Rhode Island Senate for a job that will enable her to work in the same policy arena.
In a statement out Tuesday morning, she said: "Moments ago, I submitted my resignation ... effective immediately. I'm honored to be joining the Biden-Harris administration today as Senior Advisor, US Department of Labor Women's Bureau.
"Millions of women saw their lives completely disrupted by COVID. But even before COVID, inequities in our public policies meant many women struggle to make ends meet. We have a once in a generation chance to make the economy work for everyone by investing in policies that recognize the value of caregiving and eliminate discriminatory practices."
According to her LinkedIn profile, she has been a "campaign advisor " to Family Values @ Work for the last five and a half years.
"As the FMLI Campaign Advisor, she serves as a strategist for advocates working on paid leave, as a resource to other policy makers, and as a connector ... to federal efforts to create sustainable, national paid leave,'' according to the FMLI website.
Goldin's imminent resignation was the worst-kept secret at the State House on Monday, as the rumors swirled and she did not respond to inquiries.
Goldin has made a name for herself on several fronts.
She was viewed as former Sen. Rhoda Perry's handpicked replacement when Perry announced in 2012, after the candidate declaration deadline had passed, that she was not running for reelection after all, and throwing her support to Goldin.
Goldin was the strategic initiatives officer at the Women's Fund of Rhode Island at the time.
In her first year as a senator, she championed the passage of Temporary Caregiver Insurance, making Rhode Island the third state to guarantee paid time off for workers to care for an ailing family member or "bond with a new child."
In 2015, she started a campaign for a "pay equity'' law to require employers to pay men and women the same wages for "comparable work," which was finally enacted this year.
She was also lead sponsor of an early Senate version of Rhode Island's abortion-rights law.
In late 2020, she announced she was exploring a run against either Senate President Dominick Ruggerio or Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey, for a leadership post in the Senate.
Her argument: "The Rhode Island Senate is currently led by two men who are anti-choice, NRA A-rated. They voted against marriage equality and they did not support legislation that would make it easier to vote in a pandemic."
"I believe both need to change,'' she said.
But she failed to rally the support needed at a Senate Democratic caucus, and opted to abstain on the opening-day vote for Senate president.
Ruggerio issued this statement: "Senator Gayle Goldin leaves an indelible mark on our state. ... She made Rhode Island a national leader on Paid Family Leave, also known as Temporary Caregiver Insurance."
For many years, she also "championed the strong pay equity law that was enacted this year. She fought tirelessly on adoption issues and for working families. The Biden administration is gaining a dedicated and passionate public servant.
"I wish her and her family the very best."
Her mid-term resignation will trigger a special election. At least two candidates surfaced.
The first was Hilary Levey Friedman, who until Tuesday when she stepped down was president of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Friedman announced in April that she was "exploring" a 2022 run for either Goldin's Senate District 3 seat or Rep. Edith Ajello'sHouse District 1 seat. At the time, Goldin was considering a run for secretary of state.
"As we await the results of the Census, I want to be ready," Friedman said at the time.
A Brown University professor, she has since raised more than $32,000 for a potential run.
According to her biography, her most recent book, "Here She Is: The Complicated Reign of the Beauty Pageant in America," links the history of beauty pageants with American feminism and pop culture.
She has degrees in sociology from Harvard, Princeton and the University of Cambridge and is juris doctor candidate at Roger Williams University School of Law, according to her biography.
The second Democratic candidate is less well-known in R.I. political circles: Geena Pham, who described herself in a press release as a public school English teacher in Massachusetts:
"Geena will run as a member of the Rhode Island Political Cooperative and will proudly fight for a Green New Deal, universal healthcare, racial justice, high-quality public education, and living wages for residents of the East Side,'' according to her announcement.