House of Representatives mourns former State Rep. Raymond Johnston of Pawtucket

 

STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives is mourning one of its former members, Rep. Raymond H. Johnston Jr. of Pawtucket, who died at home this morning at the age of 61.

Representative Johnston served District 61 in the House of Representatives for 10 years, from 2011 to 2020, and was the Deputy Majority Leader. Ray had never missed a session in his entire legislative career.

“I am shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of former Rep. Ray Johnston,” said Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick).  “He was a true gentleman who comported himself with dignity and class at all times on the House floor and in all the committees in which he served. He was a strong advocate for the City of Pawtucket, particularly the PawSox, and he was a champion for our youth. He will be terribly missed by all his former colleagues. Our prayers are extended to his son and all the members of the Johnston family.”

A strong proponent of child welfare, he introduced legislation in 2016 that now requires every public and private school to post a sign for students that provide the state’s child abuse hotline number.  In 2015, his bill increased safety on all school buses. He also sponsored the successful Kelsey Smith Act, which requires telecommunications carriers to provide location information for mobile devices to law enforcement agencies in emergency situations involving potential death or serious risk of harm. The legislature also passed his bill authorizing schools to provide a course of study to prevent child abduction, child sexual exploitation and abuse for students in grades kindergarten through 8. 

Representative Johnston had retired after more than two decades of service at the Pawtucket Police Department, where he reportedly never missed a day of work.  His last position with the department was as a detective.  He is survived by his son, Raymond Johnston III, a member of the Pawtucket Fire Department.

Prior to being elected a representative, he served on Pawtucket’s Democratic City Committee. He was heavily involved in youth sports, having served as president of Pineview Little League and the assistant district administrator of Little League Baseball in Rhode Island. He has also volunteered with the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club, Pawtucket Youth Soccer and St. Leo’s CYO basketball.

He attended Roger Williams University and was a 1979 graduate of Saint Raphael Academy in Pawtucket.

 

 

There's new hope in the COVID crisis. It appears the omicron surge is slowly starting to peak in some areas. Daily cases are down more than 20-percent in D.C. and Vermont, with New York City and New Jersey close behind. But for most of the nation, the latest wave is still soaring.        The Senate is hours away from starting debate on a new voting rights bill. President Biden again demanded action as the nation celebrated the memory of Martin Luther King Junior. He said it's important to finish his work of delivering jobs, justice, and protecting the right to vote.       The Supreme Court is returning after a long holiday weekend and first up will be a case out of Boston. Justices will hear arguments over whether a Christian flag can fly at city hall. Officials denied a Christian group, claiming their flag would violate the separation of church and state.       NASA is making a new discovery in its search for life beyond Earth. The Curiosity rover has been roaming a crater and collecting samples for almost ten years. Now, researchers say they've found carbon. And one explanation is that ancient life may have once existed on the red planet.        Cognac sales are surging, up eleven percent across the nation. Sales of the brandy made in the Cognac region of France rose by nearly 31-percent in value, which equals over four-billion-dollars. China also saw a 56-percent jump with over 34 million bottles shipped.