Leonela (Leo) Felix (D-SH061)
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Capitol: 401.365.4182
FAX: 401.222.4795
District: 401.369.5364
Representative
State House 82 Smith Street
Providence, RI 02903-1105

District Office:
108 Saratoga Avenue
Pawtucket, RI 02861
Elected: 2020    Next Election: 2022
Spouse: Greg   DOB: 10/4/1987
Committee Assignments
MemberHouse Committee on State Government and Elections
MemberHouse Committee on Judiciary
Counties Representing
Providence

Bio

My story is a really common one in Pawtucket- I come from an immigrant family that worked really hard so their kids could have a better life. My first job was at the McDonald's on Lonsdale Avenue, and in 2018 my mother cried tears of joy when I graduated from law school. The journey from a low wage job to a stable future is what many families dream for their children. Achieving that dream has never been easy, but today it is even harder. That's why I am running for State Representative in Pawtucket's District 61 -- because right now we need bold leaders who will fight for working families. I was born in the United States, and then spent my childhood in the Dominican Republic, my parents' native home. In 2002, we settled in Rhode Island, and I've been here ever since. My mother bought a house on Benefit Street next to Tiggers restaurant. I love my neighborhood. My husband, Greg, and I live on Saratoga Avenue with our dogs, Chiquita, Chanel and Lord Blackington aka "The Crew".

I went to Shea High School and then CCRI, RI College, and law school in Boston. I had lots of jobs to get by, rushing from class to work, but my family knew that education opens doors. My twin sister, Gena, went to Shea and my brother, Christian, went to Tolman. My niece, Leah, is now a student at Goff Middle School, and she dreams of becoming a civil rights lawyer. Learning has made all the difference in my life, and that's why I will always fight for Pawtucket's schools, our teachers and our students.

I watched my mom work two or three jobs to put food on the table. When she became ill, we lost our home. She overcame these setbacks, and now owns a successful small business. As a single mother and veteran, my sister worked extremely hard to become a registered nurse. My brother followed my mother's example, and owns a small business, too.

I know hard work and family are the heart of Pawtucket. If elected leaders worked as hard for families as people in Pawtucket do, our state would be in better shape.

My family set a strong example for me, but I learned firsthand how hard it can be when you leave the path your family set for you.

When I was 17, I started dating the wrong guy. He was abusive and he was involved with drugs. Because I was involved with him, I got arrested. Since I had never been in trouble, the court offered me the chance to go to a diversion program and avoid prison. Even though I made some bad decisions, my family stood by me and encouraged me to turn things around.

I learned quickly what one mistake can do to your life. My record prevented me from finding a stable job, housing or going to school. But I wasn't going to let a bad choice define me. The diversion program allowed me to start over -- I went on to college and to law school. But I know that many people do not get the chance to overcome bad decisions or circumstances. My experience with the criminal justice system motivated me to become a lawyer and made me who I am today - someone who is not afraid to speak up for what is right, someone who believes deeply in her family, and someone who is not afraid to push the system to treat people fairly.

I've dedicated my life to standing up for others just like my family stood up for me. While I was in college I worked at a group home supporting people with developmental disabilities. While I was in law school I helped people who wanted to become citizens.

Law school wasn't easy. I commuted from Pawtucket to Boston every day at 5am, worked full-time, and then went to class at night. Honestly there were times I wanted to quit. I would get home after midnight exhausted and start it all again the next day. Those were long years, but I learned to think critically about laws and policy, and how the legal system can help push for change. It was hard, but I was grateful to have the chance to go to school and become the first person in my family to get a graduate degree. I know most people in Pawtucket understand the daily grind of working towards something better. I loved helping people, but I realized it wasn't enough to help one person at a time. So I went to work at Progreso Latino, and pushed for change to systems in our state. I organized people to demand common sense gun control. I fought for a $15 minimum wage.

I battled threats to the Affordable Care Act. I helped lead the Immigration Coalition of Rhode Island, an alliance of 35 local organizations. I served on the state legislative commission for Health Advocacy and Equity, appointed by Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott of our Department of Health to promote health for every person, regardless of background or income. I learned that to win change for the people, we need change at the State House. Now I work for the City of Providence ensuring transparency in government and advocating for accessibility for all people. Now more than ever, we need leaders who understand our communities and who fight for them. Our State House works for well-connected lobbyists and donors, while families get left behind. We face uncertainty about COVID 19, our economy, and our health. We can't afford to be quiet -- we must make the system listen. I've seen other states grow while Rhode Island remains stuck. We can't wait any longer for change. As your state representative I will continue to fight for the people. I will fight for affordable healthcare, jobs that pay a living wage and neighborhoods that feel safe to all of us, no matter our color or our background. I will never forget what it took for me to be where I am today, and I wake up every day committed to pushing our public systems and our government to treat people with respect and put the needs of working people first.

I am contacting voters like you (at a safe distance) to hear your questions and ideas. You can reach me at leonela@LeonelaFelix.com or 401-369-5364 (cell). I respectfully ask for your vote to continue representing you as District 61's State Representative!