Ackerman proud of promotion to deputy whip

Ackerman proud of promotion to deputy whip

CUMBERLAND – Mia Ackerman says her appointment as the first woman to the position of deputy majority whip in the House of Representatives reflects a whole lot of hard work and a commitment to her constituents in House District 45, Cumberland and Lincoln.

Ackerman will work closely as part of the Democratic leadership team headed by House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi and Majority Leader Christopher Blazejewski.

“I’m thrilled and honored that my colleagues chose me for this important leadership position,” said Ackerman. “This is going to be a difficult year with a lot of tough issues to face, and I’m grateful to be tackling those issues with such a diverse group of talented legislators.”

Ackerman, who was first elected as a state representative in November 2012, says she has been a strong consumer and health care advocate, championing a law protecting consumers’ right to pay in cash, which drew national attention. She worked closely with the Cancer Society to ban the use of tanning beds for minors, and also successfully passed a bill calling for the adoption and implementation of a five-year update to the state plan for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

Ackerman told The Breeze she pours her heart and soul into the work of being a state representative, working to help where she can. She said she brings the same energy she takes to the streets of the campaign trail to the work of governing. She said she loves hearing from residents on the campaign trail in Lincoln and Cumberland even when she doesn’t face an opponent.

A self-employed real estate title examiner in her day job, she said she’s proud of the legislation she’s been able to get passed that’s “tangibly having an effect on people’s lives in a real way.”

She said she’s never been “a wallflower,” reminding the men in the room going back to her municipal government days that she’s here for gender balance.

As whip, Ackerman’s job is to drum up support and troubleshoot for pieces of legislation, but she emphasized upon questioning that this is not about the “horse trading” that state lawmakers have sometimes been known for. She said Shekarchi has brought a new way of doing things.

“We’re seeing a complete change in attitude,” she said, adding that there’s always negotiation and middle ground to be found in every aspect of life. “There’s more of a respect of everyone.”

Ackerman said she plans to serve in the General Assembly for as long as people want her and as long as she’s making a positive impact. She said she would not be at this place without the support and confidence of voters and her colleagues.

Ackerman said she continues to love her volunteer work in the community, including with the Northern Rhode Island Food Pantry, the board of directors at Franklin Farm, and an 18-year Cumberland school volunteer. Though her children are no longer in local schools, she said she’s there whenever the call comes in for help on a field day or bingo.

“I just enjoy that so very much,” she said.

Ackerman is a former member of the Cumberland Town Council from 2006 to 2012. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She and her husband, Barry, are the parents of Sam, a student at Columbia Law School, and Ellie, a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island.