Get to Know Scott
Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian was born in Warwick and educated in the city’s public schools and in Washington, DC. He was graduated from Providence College, earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Roger Williams University, completed the state and local program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Human Letters from the New England Institute of Technology. He was chosen in 2005 as one of 24 inaugural Aspen-Rodel fellows by the Aspen Institute, a bi-partisan group of elected officials charged with reclaiming the middle ground of American politics.
Avedisian was first elected in a special election in February 2000 with 58% of the vote in a five-way race. He was re-elected with nearly 70% of the vote that November. In every mayoral election since, he has carried all nine wards and has won every polling station in the city. Prior to his election as the 15th Mayor of the City of Warwick, he served five terms as a member of the Warwick City Council. When elected, Avedisian was the youngest mayor in the city’s history and now holds the distinction of being Warwick’s longest-serving mayor.
Avedisian, a former president of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, has a long history of public service. Beginning in his high school days, he was a page to the late United States Senator John Chafee, a legislative aide for the Rhode Island Senate, and Deputy Campaign Manager for Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Almond.
During his tenure as mayor of Rhode Island’s second largest city, he has been a champion of human services reform, environmental protection, and strong fiscal stewardship. Among his most important accomplishment to date have been the creation and establishment of the Everett Wilcox Family Health Center and Dental Clinic, which provides health care for the uninsured and under-insured, preservation of 41 acres of shoreline at the historic, iconic Rocky Point property, and municipal pension systems that, our actuaries say, continue to trend in a positive direction.
During the Avedisian administration, more than 200 acres of open space have been acquired or protected, tough new coastal regulations were enacted, the state continues to be a recycling leader, and energy efficiencies in municipal buildings and elsewhere throughout Warwick have helped reduce emissions and saved money.
A big emphasis of his administration has been placed on children. Creating the city’s Truancy Court, establishing a network of wrap-around services to treat the child as a whole, and empowering young people through community service have also been the hallmarks of the Avedisian administration.
Avedisian was chosen by Governor Lincoln Chafee to the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, where he is presently board chairman. Avedisian is helping to spearhead a comprehensive reform of the state’s transit system, which will ultimately result in more effective customer service, system reforms, better day-to-day operations and more stringent financial accountability.
A lifelong Episcopalian whose family helped found Trinity Episcopal Church in historic Pawtuxet Village, where he still worships, Avedisian is the immediate past president of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island’s Standing Committee and led the national search for the Diocese’s new Bishop, Nicholas Knisley.
A community activist, Avedisian served as a member of the Board of Directors of St. Mary’s Home for Children for more than 20 years, is now an Honorary Vice President of the organization, a nod to his dedicated service to the agency. He is on the Board of Incorporators of Kent Hospital. He is also a Trustee of Ocean State Charities Trust and a Board member of Advisors of Friends Way.
He previously has served as President of the Gaspee Days Committee and has offered his support of dozens of non-profit and neighborhood organizations. He has also been a member of the Board of the following groups: Neighborhood Health Plans of Rhode Island, Committee on Resolutions for the Rhode Island Episcopal Diocese, Urban League of Rhode Island, Westbay Community Action, Pawtuxet Village Association, Crossroads Rhode Island and Elmwood Community Center. He served two terms as the Vice Chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party and has been elected to the Republican National Conventions since 1984. He also has been a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission, the Housing Appeals Board, State Internship Commission, and State Criminal Justice Steering Committee.
Avedisian has been named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and was chosen to lead a U.S. delegation to the Asia-Pacific Conference of Young Leaders in The Philippines in 1996. In 1997, he was chosen by the British government to be part of their European Union Series in Milan, Brussels, and London. In 1999 he led the American Council of Young Political Leaders delegation to Brazil. In 2006, he was one of eight US Mayors to be part of the Jerusalem Conference of Mayors in Israel.