- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island’s newly elected House speaker on Wednesday installed new chairmen for the finance and judiciary committees, and in a show of bipartisanship appointed a Republican as vice chair of one of the panels.

Speaker Nicholas Mattiello named Rep. Raymond Gallison Jr., D-Bristol, as chairman of the powerful Finance Committee. Reps. Agostinho Silva, D-Central Falls, and John Carnevale, D-Providence, will serve as co-vice chairmen.

Mattiello also named Rep. Cale Keable, D-Burrillville, as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The vice chair will be a Republican, Rep. Doreen Costa, of North Kingstown.

There have been no Republican vice chairs under the last two speakers, and it was not immediately known if there were any under former Speaker John Harwood, said House spokesman Larry Berman.

Mattiello was comfortably elected speaker Tuesday after the abrupt resignation of Gordon Fox, whose Statehouse office and home were raided by federal and state authorities last week. Officials have declined to say what the investigation is about or whom it is targeting.

Five of the chamber’s six Republicans, including Costa, supported Mattiello for speaker over House Oversight Chairman Michael Marcello. Costa said Wednesday she learned of her appointment as Judiciary vice chair on the House floor.

“I think I’ve made history,” she said after the session. She said she had not asked for the post in exchange for her support, and it was not offered. She said she had sought bipartisanship.

Asked if other Republicans could be expected to be named to other posts, Mattiello said: “You can expect other Republicans to have a valued position in this House. Every representative has a valued position in this House.”

Former Finance Chairman Helio Melo, who had initially supported Marcello in the speaker’s race but ultimately voted for Mattiello, will no longer serve on the committee. Mattiello said he asked to be removed and to serve on another committee. Mattiello said that request will be granted, though he did not say which panel.

Other committee chairmanships are expected to be announced this week.

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