Gordon D. Fox
|Gordon D. Fox|
|222nd Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives|
February 11, 2010
|Preceded by||William J. Murphy|
|Member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives
from the 4th district
January 5, 1993
|Preceded by||K. Nicholas Tsiongas|
|Born||December 21, 1961|
|Domestic partner||Marcus LaFond|
|Residence||Providence, Rhode Island|
|Alma mater||Providence College,
Rhode Island College,
Gordon D. Fox (born 1961) is an American politician from Providence, Rhode Island and the Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. A Democrat, he was first elected to the legislature in 1992 and was elected speaker on February 11, 2010. Liberals have described Fox as a political conservative, criticizing him for supporting a voter ID law, championing a bill to cut income taxes for high earners, and taking campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association.
Early life and career
One of six siblings, Fox is the son of an Irish-American father, a jewelry polisher, and a Cape Verdean mother, who worked as a maid and later at a golf ball factory. The family lived for a time in a Providence apartment with a view of the Statehouse. Fox considers himself mixed race.
Fox attended Providence College but had to drop out after a year when his father died. He continued his studies at Rhode Island College, where he earned a degree in history and political science. He then graduated from Northeastern Law School in Boston, paying his way by working at a Carvel ice cream shop. He became an attorney.
In the legislature
Fox represents the 4th district, which includes parts of the East Side of Providence, namely the Mount Hope, Summit and Blackstone neighborhoods. Fox was first elected a state representative in November 1992 and served for a time as chairman of the House Finance Committee. He was elected Majority Leader in late 2002 and served until February 2010, when he ascended to the speakership.
Election as Speaker
As soon as William J. Murphy, first elected speaker in 2002, indicated his intention to retire from the speakership, Fox expressed interest in the position. In October 2009, Murphy endorsed Fox in the race to succeed him. Fox faced several more conservative opponents and, in the election held on February 11, 2010, won 51 of the 75 votes. He became the 222nd House Speaker since the Rhode Island legislature's establishment in colonial times.
Fox came out publicly in 2004 and is in a long-term relationship with Marcus LaFond. He is one of four openly gay members of the Rhode Island General Assembly, alongside Sen. Donna Nesselbush (D–Pawtucket) and Reps. Frank Ferri (D–Warwick) and Deb Ruggiero (D–Jamestown).
He is the first openly gay house speaker in the United States, although Assemblyman John Pérez (D–Los Angeles) was elected to the speakership of the California State Assembly several weeks before Fox. Pérez, however, was not sworn in as speaker until March 1, 2010, whereas Fox took office almost three weeks earlier on February 11.
- "Gordon Fox elected first openly gay RI House speaker". Associated Press (Boston Herald). February 11, 2010. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
- Who passed voter ID?
- Rhode Island Democrats Seek Flat-Tax
- Exeter Confirms Polling: RI Supports Gun Reform
- "Gay RI House Speaker Takes Heat for Marriage Vote", The Associated Press, May 18, 2011
- "How to come out as a gay politician". Providence Journal. 2007-09-03. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- "How high can Gordon Fox go?". Providence Phoenix. 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- "Biography, Rep. Gordon D. Fox". Rhode Island House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-10-20
- "Murphy set to retire as R.I. House speaker". Providence Journal. 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
- "Update: Fox elected R.I. Speaker of the House". Providence Journal. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
- Rhode Island House - Representative Gordon D. Fox official RI House website
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Follow the Money - Gordon D. Fox
- In-depth profile in the Providence Phoenix