Moira Jayne Walsh (born August 23, 1990) is an American activist and politician who represented the 3rd district in the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 2017 to 2021. Walsh is a member of the Democratic Party.

Moira Walsh
Member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives
from the 3rd district
In office
January 3, 2017 (2017-January-03) – January 5, 2021
Preceded byThomas Palangio
Succeeded byNathan Biah
Personal details
Born (1990-08-23) August 23, 1990 (age 33)
Providence, Rhode Island
Political partyDemocratic
ChildrenOne son
ResidenceProvidence, Rhode Island
Labor organizer

Early life


Walsh was born August 23, 1990. She was raised in the Providence neighborhood of Smith Hill and attended Classical High School, a public magnet school in Providence.[1][2] After high school, she became a waitress. In 2014, she became involved with the Restaurant Opportunities Center after a coworker brought her to an organizing meeting and became involved in the movement to increase the tipped worker minimum wage from $2.89 per hour to $3.89 per hour.[3] During this period, she also attended Rhode Island College and Community College of Rhode Island.[2]

Rhode Island House of Representatives






Walsh ran against incumbent Democrat Thomas Palangio after speaking with the Rhode Island state chapter of Jobs with Justice.[1] During the election, she was endorsed by the Working Families Party.[4] She defeated Palangio in the Democratic primary, 51.80% to 48.20%,[5] and was unopposed in the general election.[3][6]



Walsh drew national attention when she and three other incumbent legislators did not receive the endorsement of the Rhode Island Democratic Party.[7] The Party initially endorsed her primary challenger, Michael Earnheart, who was revealed to have supported Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election and to have been registered to vote as a Republican in at least three previous elections.[8] They later withdrew the endorsement of Earnheart and decided to not endorse either candidate.[9] Walsh received the endorsement of U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, who represents Rhode Island's 1st congressional district.[10] Walsh went on to win the 2018 Democratic Primary against Earnheart, receiving 55% of the vote to Earnheart's 45%.[11][12] Following her primary win, Walsh was again unopposed in the 2018 general election.[5] [13]



In 2020, Walsh lost the Democratic primary to challenger Nathan Biah by a 65-35 margin.[14][15]



Walsh was sworn into office on January 3, 2017. She was assigned to the Committee on Health, Education and Welfare and Committee on Veterans' Affairs.[2] She has made improving working conditions for tipped workers as key part of her legislative agenda. She has also advocated for the liberalization of drug laws.[1]

In March 2017, her criticism of legislators consuming alcohol on the House floor during session made national headlines.[16][17] While at the time she walked back some of the comments, "saying she had only been referring to cocktail parties and fundraisers",[16] she later said the fallout was "one of [her] proudest accomplishments, ...that they had to be secret" about drinking in the chamber.[18]

Committee assignments


For the 2017–2018 legislative session Walsh served on the Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare and the Veterans' Affairs committee.[5]

In the 2019–2020 session, Walsh served on the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources,[2] and was also a founding member of the Rhode Island House's Reform Caucus.[19]


  1. ^ a b c Pina, Alisha A. (December 11, 2016). "New faces in the General Assembly: Moira Walsh, Smith Hill". The Providence Journal. Providence, Rhode Island. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Biography". Office of Representative Moira J. Walsh. State of Rhode Island General Assembly. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Green, Adrienne (November 15, 2016). "From Waitress to State Representative". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  4. ^ Anderson, Theo (September 16, 2016). "A Progressive Wave Rolls Through Rhode Island With 4 Working Families Party Wins". In These Times. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Moira Walsh". Ballotpedia. Lucy Burns Institute. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  6. ^ State of Rhode Island Board of Elections (February 27, 2017). "Representative in General Assembly District 3". Election Results: 2016 General Election. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  7. ^ Nwanevu, Osita (July 2, 2018). "Why Did the Rhode Island Democratic Party Endorse an Alt-Right Supporter Over a Progressive Incumbent?". Slate Magazine. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  8. ^ Seitz-Wald, Alex (July 3, 2018). "Rhode Island Dems in uproar as party seeks to oust three progressive women". NBC News. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  9. ^ Associated Press (July 5, 2018). "Rhode Island Democrats rescind backing for Trump supporter". The Oklahoman. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  10. ^ Cicilline, David (July 2, 2018). "@davidcicilline on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved October 21, 2020. Just reached out to @RepMoira_Jayne to offer my support. Rep. Walsh has consistently stood up for Democratic values. Something that clearly cannot be said for her opponent.
  11. ^ Anderson, Patrick. "Walsh fends off challenge from Earnheart in Democratic House primary". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  12. ^ State of Rhode Island Board of Elections (September 19, 2018). "Representative in General Assembly District 3". Election Results: 2018 Statewide Primary. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  13. ^ State of Rhode Island Board of Elections (November 21, 2018). "Representative in General Assembly District 3". Election Results: 2018 General Election. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  14. ^ Associated Press (September 10, 2020). "Rhode Island Elections Results: State House - District 3 - Dem - Primary". Daily Kos. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  15. ^ State of Rhode Island Board of Elections (September 25, 2020). "Representative in General Assembly District 3". Election Results: 2020 Statewide Primary. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Binckes, Jeremy (March 8, 2017). "Animal House: Rhode Island". Salon. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  17. ^ Conley, Morgan (March 9, 2017). "Shots Fired: Rhode Island Statehouse is Full of Drunk Legislators Doing Shots says a Newly Elected Lawmaker". Vice News. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  18. ^ Ahlquist, Steve; Van Horn, Sara (September 28, 2020). "Representative Moira Walsh: The exit interview". Uprise RI. Rhode Island Free Press Company. Retrieved October 22, 2020. ...the drinking used to be a lot more rampant on the floor. One of my proudest accomplishments is banishing them to the basement, is that they had to be secret, is that they couldn't walk around with their solo cups and their mud slide makers in their desk and all that garbage and that they had to go down to the basement poker room instead.
  19. ^ "The 21 Democrats opposing Speaker Mattiello have a name: The Reform Caucus". Uprise RI. November 20, 2018. Retrieved October 21, 2020.