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PROVIDENCE, RI - Clean Water Action will be honoring their 2023 class of environmental champions, including four state lawmakers, next week at the organization’s 21st Annual Breakfast of Champions, May 12th, at the Aspray Boat House in Warwick. 

“After a particularly productive 2022 legislative session, we are excited to honor four deserving state legislators as environmental champions,” said Jed Thorp, Clean Water Action Rhode Island State Director. “Additionally, we are recognizing leaders from the grassroots and media who hold our elected officials accountable every day.”

The full list of 2023 honorees includes:

  • Rupert Friday, receiving the prestigious David R. Gerraughty Award for Lifetime Commitment to the Environment - Rupert has worked in the environmental field since he was a naturalist and environmental educator in the early 1970s. He was the first Executive Director for the Rhode Island Land Trust Council from May 2003 until he retired in July 2021 and grew the organization into a respected voice for land protection and the environment. Rupert also worked on policy as a member of the Environment Council of RI, using his broad knowledge and political acumen to benefit the entire Rhode Island environmental movement. His efforts preserved land and watersheds that will be enjoyed by generations of Rhode Islanders. 
  • Patrick Crowley, Secretary-Treasurer for the RI AFL-CIO - Climate Advocate of the Year - Secretary-Treasurer Crowley helped form and co-leads the Climate Jobs RI coalition of labor and environmental organizations which successfully advocated for Rhode Island’s Act on Climate and our state’s ambitious commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2033.
  • Alex Kuffner, Providence Journal - Excellence in Environmental Journalism - Alex Kuffner has been a critical source of Rhode Island environmental reporting with stories highlighting the transition to clean energy, covering the passage of legislation regulating PFAS, and investigating Rhode Island’s recycling rate.
  • Zachary Pinto, Vice-President of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island Political Action Committee - Emerging Environmental Leader of the Year - Zachary is a senior at Shea High School in Pawtucket, and has been a member of Groundwork RI’s “green team” since 2020. He is an advocate for increased tree canopy coverage in Black and Brown neighborhoods, and has been a leader in the local fight to Save Morley Field.

And four 2023 Legislative Champions

  • Senator Meghan Kallman - Senator Kallman has been leading the charge for better and more equitable transit in Rhode Island, including the new fare-free R-Line. She is also the Senate sponsor of the Comprehensive PFAS Ban Act of 2023.
  • Representative Terri Cortvriend - Rep. Cortvriend is a leader in the fight against toxic PFAS pollution and led efforts to pass the 2022 ban on PFAS in food packaging. She is also the House sponsor of the Comprehensive PFAS Ban Act of 2023.
  • Representative Carol Hagan McEntee - Rep. McEntee is a leader in the fight against plastic pollution and was the lead sponsor of the recently-passed single-use bag ban. She is the lead sponsor this year of the RI ‘Bottle Bill.’
  • Representative June Speakman - Rep. Speakman, another stalwart environmental leader fighting PFAS in RI, led efforts to pass state-level drinking water standards for PFAS. She is leading the charge this year to get PFAS out of firefighting equipment.

More information about the Breakfast of Champions, including tickets and sponsorships, is available here.


Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking, and people power to the table.

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