R 19
2000-S 2102
Enacted 1/18/2000

S  E  N  A  T  E     R  E  S  O  L  U  T  I  O  N


Introduced By:  Senators Tocco, Igliozzi and Graziano Date Introduced:  January 18, 2000

WHEREAS, Mayor Ralph aRusso was born Raphael Robert Russo on April 25, 1923, one of twelve children of an immigrant farmer. A Marine Veteran of World War II, he served as a Drill Sergeant. He attended Bryant College, and worked for Metropolitan Life and the Greater Providence Trust Company; and

WHEREAS, The husband of the former Tina Butera for more than 50 years, aRusso leaves five children: Dennis aRusso, David aRusso, Donna Muto, Denise Valletta and Diane Molicone. In addition, he leaves eight grandchildren, with one on the way, Dennis aRusso said; and

WHEREAS, Ralph R. aRusso began his distinguished political career when he was elected Town Administrator in November 1970; and

WHEREAS, Within the next several years, the growth of this small town necessitated the need for a Mayor; and in 1978, Town Administrator aRusso was elected Johnston's first Mayor in November, 1978 and was sworn in as the town's first Mayor in January, 1979, a position he held until 1994; and

WHEREAS, Mayor aRusso, whose "straight-shooting talk, colorful tactics and absolute love of political leadership" made him one of the longest-serving municipal leaders of Rhode Island; and

WHEREAS, The change of his last name from Russo to aRusso in his 1964 election for the state Senate seat for a better position on the ballot, exemplified his eagerness to assist the residents of Johnston; and

WHEREAS, The man known throughout the state passionately fought for years to close the landfill in Johnston, characterized himself as "David to the Solid Waste Management Corporation's Goliath." He ordered the police to blockade the state Central Landfill in order to stop the out-of-state waste from being delivered. His flamboyant move proved successful after a written promise from then Governor Edward DiPrete who ordered the Rhode Island State Police to enforce out-of-state trash laws. It was only then did Mayor aRusso call off the barricade; and

WHEREAS, Being a forward-thinker in race relations, aRusso, according to Clifford Montiero president of the Providence branch of the NAACP, worked to make minorities feel welcome in town and tried to get minority members onto the Police and Fire Departments; and

WHEREAS, It would behoove us not to mention the affectionate and tireless attention Mayor aRusso paid to the citizens of Johnston in assisting them when potholes needed fixing or street lights needed replacing. He didn't just tell people he would help them, he did. His motto was: "People ask me for help, I help them." It was that predilection that people loved; and

WHEREAS, The outpouring of emotion exhibited during the funeral services was a true testament of how "his people" the citizens of Johnston felt about their 12 term Mayor; Now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby extends its deepest sympathy on the passing of Ralph R. aRusso the Honorable Mayor of Johnston; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the aRusso family.

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