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Richard Licht

Born March 25, 1948, in Providence, Rhode Island.


  • Providence Public School, 9 years
  • Moses Brown School, Class of 1964
  • Harvard College, A.B., 1968 - Cum Laude in Economics
  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 1972 - Cum Laude
  • Boston University School of Law - LL.M. in Taxation, 1975


  • Partner, Adler Pollock & Sheehan
  • Partner, Tillinghast Licht LLP and predecessor firms 1973-1984; 1989-2008
  • Former Managing Partner of Tillinghast Licht & Semonoff Ltd.
  • Law Clerk to Chief Justice Thomas Roberts 1973-1974


  • Rhode Island State Senator 1975-84
  • Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island, 1985-89
  • Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, 1991-1997,
  • Served as Chair 1992-95


  • Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate, 1988, 2000
  • Elected Delegate Democratic National Conventions 1980, 1988, 1996, 2004, 2008
  • Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee 1983-1984
  • Chairman, Senate Rules Committee 1983-1984
  • Chairman, Rhode Island Commission on Religious, Racial & Ethnic Harassment 1981-1985
  • Chairman, State Energy Technology Study Commission 1975-1976


      • Battled to change the way the State conducted business. Was a strong proponent of open records and open meetings laws and authored sections of the state’s first ethics legislation.
      • Strong advocate for civil and equal rights. Introduced an Equal Rights Amendment to state constitution and legislation to create the Martin Luther King holiday. Fought for a woman’s right to choose at a time when Senate had only three pro-choice members. Authored some of the nation’s first hate crime laws.
      • Chaired a commission on alternative energy and from its recommendations, the General Assembly enacted tax credits for solar, wind and geothermal technology.
      • Played a significant role in consumer protection legislation and some of the first laws to address domestic violence.
      • State’s first full-time Lieutenant Governor, transforming the mission of the office and creating a forum of advo¬cacy. First Lieutenant governor to introduce a comprehensive legislative program in the General Assembly. Served for two terms, achieving landmark accomplishments with Governor of opposite political party.
      • Advocated for major reforms to early childhood development, day care and K-12 programs. Sponsored first state grant for Rhode Island Head Start and championed legislation mandating State to support 60% of K-12 education.
      • Advocated for maternal and child health sponsoring legislation that mandated insurers to provide pediatric preventive care and helping to develop RIte Start (the forerunner of RIte Care) to provide comprehensive maternity care to low income, uninsured women.
      • Sponsored passage of one of the nation’s first Family & Medical Leave acts, seven years before the Federal Government.
      • Established and chaired the Long Term Care Coordinating Council which today still remains a strong voice for our elderly.
      • Committed to making state government more accessible to minorities and was the first general officer to have an Hispanic Advisory Council
      • Became Rhode Island’s Small Business advocate, chaired a Small Business Advocacy Council, passed significant legislation making state government more responsive, such as Equal Access to Justice Act and Prompt payment Act, and successfully fought for the reduction of small business taxes.
      • Served as an outspoken environmental advocate as lead sponsor of the state’s first Open Space Bond Issue and other legislation for water quality and conservation
      • Fostered sensitivity to adolescent suicide, enacting suicide awareness programs as part of the health education curriculum.
      • This 15-member board serves as both the governing and coordinating body for The University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and Community College of Rhode Island with approximately 40,000 students and at the time a budget of $350 million. Within six months, was appointed Chairman, serving for a period of three years.
      • Faced with extraordinarily difficult finan¬cial challenges justified the need for increased state funding after significant cut backs. Won the nation’s fourth highest increase in state funding from 1993 to 1995, gaining 11% increase in 1995 alone.
      • Focused Board and institutional attention on improving the infrastructure .Outlined a five-year asset protection plan with Board and state funding dedicated to facilities upgrades and provided seed capital for new construction. Over six years, more than $75 million in capital improvements were made.
      • Promoted joint education and economic development efforts for High-Tech, Scientific and Engineering segments across the state.
      • Planned and orchestrated a philosophical shift of the vision and mission of the board from a “micro-management” structure to a strategic partner to its constituents. Took on the challenge of realigning agen¬das for board meetings and prioritizing issues.
      • Reorganized and reinvigorated the Board’s committee system to achieve broader participation and examination of issues. Established dedicated committees focused on facilities, technology, strategy development and planning.
      • Championed the cause to completely overhaul the technological infrastructure of Rhode Island’s neglected higher education institutions. Formed dedicated telecommunications committees to plan, budget and provide recommendations. Went outside the board to form an external commission of business leaders from NYNEX, Cox Communications and other technology sensitive entities to provide unbiased recommendations for tech¬nology investments. Led efforts to win overwhelming voter approval in 1996 for a $40 million bond for telecommunications, computer and Inter¬net technology that would bring Rhode Island higher education institutions into the 21st century.


    • RI Permanent Small Business Advocacy Council
    • RI Task Force on Teenage Suicide Prevention
    • RI Defense Civil Preparedness Advisory Council
    • NCLG Task Force on Education and Economic Growth
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. 1986 State Holiday Commission Served as Member of:
    • The Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education
    • The Childrens Crusade for Higher Education
    • The Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority
    • The University of Rhode Island Foundation
    • The Community College of Rhode Island Foundation
    • Special Legislative Commission to Study Removing the Wholesale Inventory Tax
    • Executive Committee of National Conference of Lieutenant Governors
    • NCLG Task Force on Youth Suicide Prevention
    • Special Legislative Commission on Child Care
    • Commission on Interstate Co-operation CURRENT CIVIC AFFILIATIONS: Board Chair of NARAL PCA
    • Vice-President of Jewish Federation of Rhode Island for Financial Resource Development
    • Past President, Jewish Seniors Agency
    • Co-Chair of UJC National Task Force on Health and Long Term Care
    • Member of Board of Overseers, Roger Williams University PAST CIVIC AFFILIATIONS: Served as Chair of: Rhode Island AIPAC Council
    • Rhode Island Chapter, Anti-Defamation League
    • American Cancer Society Ball
    • State Of Israel Bond Drive
    • Meeting Street Center Annual Fund Drive
    • Jewish Federation of Rhode Island Passage to Freedom campaign Served as member of Board of Directors or Trustees: Save The Bay
    • Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital
    • Community Preparatory School
    • The Jewish Home for the Aged of Rhode Island
    • Big Sister Association of Rhode Island Samaritans
    • Temple Emanuel
    • Roger Williams Medical Center
    • Urban League of Rhode Island
    • John Hope Settlement House
    • Jewish Community Center
    • East Side Senior Citizens Center
    • Friends of the Handicapped


  • Israel Peace Medal - State of Israel Bonds
  • David Ben-Gurion Award - State of Israel Bonds
  • Outstanding Young Man of Rhode Island - Rhode Island Jaycees
  • Outstanding Public Service - Temple Torat Yisrael
  • Distinguished Services to the Hispanic Community Casa Puerto Rico
  • Honorary Public Service for work on behalf of the handicapped - Meeting Street School
  • Award of Recognition - RI Day Care Directors Association for legislative efforts and achievements on behalf of children and their families
  • Child Care/Human Services Award of Appreciation - Woonsocket V.I.C.A
  • Governmental Services Award - Ocean State Residences for the Retarded

Richard Licht