The Rhode Island Senate today passed legislation sponsored by President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed to rename a portion of Fort Adams Drive in Newport after Newport Mayor Robert J. McKenna, who passed away on January 15.
A member of the Fort Adams Trust, McKenna was deeply involved in his hometown community of Newport. He served as the city’s Mayor from 1988 to 1994. He was a State Representative from 1969 to 1973, and a State Senator from 1974 to 1985.
McKenna made significant contributions to higher education as a teacher and administrator at Salve Regina University for 30 years and as a member of numerous boards and associations. He worked for 17 years as President of the Rhode Island Independent Higher Education Association. He served as a member and chair of the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, and the New England Board of Higher Education.
“Bob McKenna was a mentor and friend to many. His devotion to serving our community was surpassed only by his devotion to his family,” said President Paiva Weed (D – Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown). “Renaming the roadway in Bob McKenna’s honor is an appropriate tribute to the many contributions he has made to our community and our state, including his work to benefit FortAdams, where the drive is located.”
The bill, 2012-S-2817 Sub. A, would rename the portion of Fort Adams Drive that runs from the Fort Adams Visitor’s Center along the north perimeter to the West Gate as “Robert J. McKenna Boulevard.”
The bill is co-sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio. It will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.