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About Evan


Representative Evan Shanley with wife Meredith, son Maxwell, and daughter Lucille

Dear Neighbor,


It has been a privilege to serve as your state representative for District 24 during the past five and a half years. I’m writing to ask for your support this November, to send me back to the General Assembly so that I can keep working on behalf of every family in District 24.


This year District 24 has expanded to include several neighborhoods in East Greenwich. Having lived in East Greenwich for a time prior to being married and buying my first home in Warwick, I’ve long been tuned in to the issues which affect our EG neighbors. At the State House, I’ve partnered with the East Greenwich delegation on a host of different issues, including climate resiliency and opposition to the medical waste incinerator project. 


Many of you know me, know my family, and know my story. Yet, there are many new neighbors in District 24 who I am just getting the privilege to meet. For those who don’t know my story yet; you should know that who I am as a husband, father, neighbor and state representative has everything to do with where (and who) I come from. 


My grandfather, Joseph Shanley, moved to Warwick in the 1930s. He served as a bombardier during World War II, flying missions over Germany. In 1973, after attending Providence College on the GI bill, Grandpa Joe founded a local advertising agency that still exists today. My grandmother Elaine worked as a librarian at Providence College for 25 years. 


To me, Grandpa Joe has always been an important inspiration. He had a kind heart and a firm belief in giving back to our community. After he retired, he spent every day at our family church, St. Gregory’s, and was always volunteering to help the disabled, sick, or elderly. In fact, he continued serving even as his own health began declining. His example, more than almost anything else in my life, ingrained in me the importance of empathy and community service, and the belief that each of us can improve our community. 


Like most young men, my father was always my hero. Dad worked as a Warwick police officer for 26 years. He retired in 2007 to become Deputy Chief of the Brown University Police Department and in 2015, after years of hard work, he earned his Master’s in public administration from Roger Williams University. When he passed away in 2019, after a courageous battle with cancer, I recommitted myself to the values by which he lived.


My favorite story about my father comes from the Blizzard of 1978. Dad was working as a maintenance man at the Trudeau Center on Post Road, which provides services for people with disabilities. Dad wasn’t scheduled to work on the day the blizzard started but decided to stop in on his way home to see if he could help out. After almost everyone had gone home, the Director asked him if he would be willing to stay for a bit until three buses came to bring the participants home. Dad agreed, and the Director drove home to Providence. As the snow piled up and the hours passed, Dad realized that the buses weren’t coming. So, this nineteen-year-old maintenance man and CCRI student realized that he alone would have to care for eighteen physically and/or mentally challenged individuals. Dad took charge, cooking dinner, distributing necessary medications, setting up beds and keeping everyone calm and safe. For three days, Dad stayed at the Trudeau Center, making sure that those who could not care for themselves were taken care of. 


I have always worked to be more like my father. Dad had a saying: “Always try to leave people better than you met them.” I think those are great words to live by - and they apply to our community, too. 


From a young age, my family taught me the value of hard work, mostly by example. My mother, Mary Madden, is one of the hardest-working people I know. For a decade, she was President of the Trudeau Center. It was there where she first met my father, at that time the 2nd shift maintenance man, who was just as funny as he was diligent. She continues to fight for the rights of people with disabilities and keep her hand in a plethora of other important causes and organizations, like the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County. I remember as a child going to many meetings with her that started in the late afternoon and would last well into the evening. While I wasn’t always the biggest fan of these excursions at the time, as I grew older, they helped me learn an important lesson - that working for the community means long hours and steadfast dedication.


One of the best decisions my father made was marrying my step-mother, Patti Shanley. As a retired Warwick kindergarten teacher and former Jordan Marsh loss prevention employee, Patti has a unique combination of kindness, patience, strength and resilience, which she has instilled in me over the last thirty years.


Like my parents and grandparents, my uncle, Father Brian Shanley, has dedicated his life to his faith and his belief in changing lives for the better. He went to Cedar Hill and Toll Gate before attending Providence College and dedicating his life to the Church. He worked at Catholic University for many years before becoming president of Providence College in 2005, and now leads St. John’s University. I admire his selfless commitment to the Church and the greater good, his empathy for others, his commitment to excellence, and his passion for education. 


My experience growing up in a working-class family shaped my commitment to ensuring that all Rhode Islanders have an opportunity to stay and work in Rhode Island.


My parents pushed my siblings and me to dream big and taught us that education was the path to success. After graduating from public schools in Warwick, I went to Providence College, where I worked my way through school tutoring and selling sneakers at Foot Locker.


At PC, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer because I wanted to be an advocate for people who work hard and play by the rules. I went on to attend Catholic University School of Law, in Washington, D.C. At Catholic, many of my classmates were driven by the goal of working for a big firm in an even bigger city. However, I wanted to represent working individuals and families; people who couldn’t afford a big firm and needed a voice against powerful insiders. 


After law school, wanting to prove to myself that I could make it on my own, I moved to Kansas City. Things were going well. I was working for an established firm and gaining some great experience. But it wasn’t long before I discovered just how much I missed home. I missed our community and seeing friends around every corner. I found that I was using any, and all, vacation time to return to where I wanted & needed to be - Rhode Island. So, Dad and I packed up a truck and drove thirty hours across the country until I was home for good. 


In 2015, I made the best decision of my life and married my wife, Meredith. Meredith grew up in Warwick and went to St. Mary’s Academy Bay View and Rhode Island College. She got her first job at Eleanor Briggs School, working on behalf of students with severe behavioral and emotional needs while pursuing her Master’s Degree at Providence College. She has taught as a special educator at Winman Middle School since 2017, after teaching for seven years at John Wickes.


These past six years have been a whirlwind for all of us. Personally, Meredith and I were thrilled to welcome Maxwell (5) and Lucy (1) to our family. They’ve changed our lives for the better in ways we could not have imagined. Whether we’re on the ballfield at St. Greg’s, the beach at Goddard Park, or taking a night-time stroll on Main Street, Meredith and I work every day to instill in them the same values I learned growing up: honesty, empathy, kindness, respect, personal responsibility, and a strong work ethic. Our children are also a constant reminder of why I first ran for public office - to help our neighbors and our community and build a better life for the next generation. 


The times are challenging. Social, economic, and political issues – particularly against the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic – have poisoned the discourse. Some people think the only way to be heard is to drown out everyone else.


That’s not my way. At the State House, I’ve cut through the partisan bickering and earned a reputation as a commonsense consensus builder; someone focused on doing the hard work of delivering for our neighbors


Too many politicians think their way is the only way. I disagree. When I first ran for office in 2016, I said voters would get a representative who listens more than he speaks and never let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I’ve kept that promise. In just these past two years, here are a few of the bills I’ve sponsored and helped pass: 


  • Making voting easier and more secure. (H7428 - Primary Sponsor).

  • Allowing the Warwick voters to implement term limits (H8255 - Primary Sponsor).

  • Delaying Warwick’s next property valuation until 2023 so that taxpayers won’t fall victim to an unstable housing market (H8082).

  • Improving water quality by requiring DEM to perform water quality resilience assessments statewide, including Goddard Park and Potowomut (H8339).

  • Increasing penalties for illegal ATVs on Warwick roads (H7418) and texting and driving (H7709 - Primary Sponsor).

  • Making it illegal for teachers and other authority figures to have sexual contact with teenagers under their supervision. (H8230).

  • Improving technical education by enhancing apprenticeship standards ((H8294 - Primary Sponsor) and raising career and technical education standards state-wide, so students can excel in their neighborhood public schools. (H5836).

  • Authorizing a school construction bond referendum for new high schools at Pilgrim and Toll Gate (H8328).

  • Eliminating the subminimum wage for workers with disabilities (H7511) and increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rate for the Trudeau Center and other service providers (H7123).

  • Ending the sale of high-capacity magazines and firearms to minors (H7457).

  • Stopping anyone other than hunters from publicly carrying loaded rifles and shotguns (H7358).

  • Making grants available to local nonprofits to protect vulnerable floodplains and shorelines in Warwick and East Greenwich, by establishing the Ocean State Climate Resilience Fund (H5967).


With my colleagues, we’ve passed meaningful legislation to address and to improve the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders:


  • Ended the motor vehicle excise tax, one year ahead of schedule, keeping more money in your family’s pocket.

  • Added, for those meeting the income guidelines, a child tax credit of $250 per child for up to three children per family.

  • For retirees, raising the pension income tax exemption by 33%.

  • Opposed, and defeated, the West Warwick medical-waste incinerator project.

  • Acted locally to address climate change by promoting alternative energy right here in Rhode Island, where we’re already a global leader in wind energy.


And with your support, we passed a responsible budget that held the line on taxes while improving funding to home health care providers, home and community services for children, elderly, developmentally disabled individuals, and low-income Rhode Islanders as well as:


  • Applied American Rescue Plan Act funds to support community behavioral health care clinics and address the mental health crisis.

  • Doubling the number of free, high-quality pre-kindergarten seats statewide over the next five years.


Clearly there is more work to be done. The cost of everyday items such as gasoline, groceries, and childcare are on the rise. Home prices have risen at a greater rate than an average family’s annual income; putting the dream of homeownership out of reach for too many first-time buyers.

I know I can help. I’m asking you for your vote so that I can continue to be an advocate for you, and for all of our neighbors in District 24, at the State House. I’ll be out knocking on doors right up until election day and I hope you’ll be available to connect. In the meantime, as always, my cell phone and email are open and available. I look forward to talking with you!


Evan Patrick Shanley

State Representative, District 24

(401) 440-3493 -

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