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Former Rep. Claudine Schneider to be honored by YWCA

April 28, 2012

Former U.S. Rep. Claudine Schneider, the moderate Republican who represented Rhode Island’s 2nd District in Congress for a decade, is making a rare public appearance in Rhode Island Monday, April 30th, to accept an honor from the YWCA at Bryant College.

Schneider, who now lives in Boulder, Colorado and works as a consultant on Green energy issues, will receive the Isabelle Ahearn O’Neill award as part of the YWCA of Northern Rhode’s 4th annual Women Holding Office Celebration at Bryant from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Isabelle Ahearn O’Neill was the first female legislator elected in Rhode Island when she ran in 1922.

Schneider has written a book that is entitled “Fed Up with Congress.’’ Schneider said in a brief interview that the book will be unveiled at the Monday event. “If you’re fed up with Congress this book will give you some insight into how things can get done,’’ she said.

Schneider was one of a blush of Rhode Island Republican who won election in the 1980s, when the state GOP was far more open to women candidates that the state Democratic Party. Her 1980 congressional win was followed by Susan Farmer’s 1982 victory for secretary of state, the first statewide election victory by a woman candidate. (Schneider is still the lone Rhode Island woman to serve in Congress). In New England, only Massachusetts and Rhode Island hold the dubious distinction of being the only states in the region never to have elected a woman to governor or U.S. Senate. Schneider and Farmer  paved the way for such GOP women candidates as State General Treasurer Nancy Mayer and Attorney General Arlene Violet.

Schneider says she travels back to Rhode Island to visit friends and former staffers, but rarely does public events. She was a rising star of state politics until her unsuccessful 1990 campaign against Democratic U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell.

Schneider says her new book will focus on practical steps that citizens can take to “get the Congress we deserve.’’

Along with Schneider, other prominent RI women political figures will be honored at the Bryant event., according to Deborah L. Perry, ceo of the YWCA Northern Rhode Island. They are:

Bristol Town Administrator Diane Mederos; State Sen. Donna Nesselbush, D_Pawtucket; state General Treasurer Gina Raimondo; Former State Sen. Myrth York, who was also a Democratic candidate for governor and Nancy Stevens, a former member of the East Providence School Committee.

And two young Rhode Island women elected officials will be recognized as “rising political stars.’’ They are Providence City Councilwoman Sabina Matos and State Rep. Teresa Tanzi, D-Narragansett.

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