Gordon Fox

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Gordon Fox
GordonFox.jpg
222nd Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives
In office
February 11, 2010 – March 22, 2014
Preceded by William J. Murphy
Succeeded by Nicholas Mattiello
Member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives
from the 4th (5th prior to 2003) district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 5, 1993
Preceded by K. Nicholas Tsiongas
Personal details
Born Gordon Dennis Fox
(1961-12-21) December 21, 1961 (age 52)
Political party Democratic
Domestic partner Marcus LaFond
Residence Providence, Rhode Island
Alma mater Providence College,
Rhode Island College,
Northeastern University
Profession Attorney

Gordon Dennis Fox (born 1961) is an American politician from Providence, Rhode Island and formerly 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.[1] Liberals have described Fox as a political conservative, criticizing him for supporting a voter ID law,[2] championing a bill to cut income taxes for high earners,[3] and taking campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association.[4]

Fox resigned from the Speakership effective March 22, 2014 following an FBI raid on his state office and home.[5][6]

Early life and career[edit]

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.[7] The family lived for a time in a Providence apartment with a view of the Statehouse. Fox considers himself mixed race.[8]

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.[7] He then graduated from Northeastern Law School in Boston, paying his way by working at a Carvel ice cream shop.[9] He became an attorney.

In the legislature[edit]

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.[10]

Election as Speaker[edit]

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.[9] In October 2009, Murphy endorsed Fox in the race to succeed him.[11] Fox faced several more conservative opponents and, in the election held on February 11, 2010, won 51 of the 75 votes.[1] He became the 222nd House Speaker since the Rhode Island legislature's establishment in colonial times.[12]

Personal[edit]

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.

References[edit]

External links[edit]