Raymond J. Sullivan Jr., a former state representative has died on Monday 11 October 2021, at the age of 44.
Sullivan is a Democrat who helped lead the fight to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.
Sullivan’s family said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our son, Raymond Sullivan, Ray passed away on Monday, October 11, at his home in Providence. We respectfully request privacy at this difficult time.”
Mr. Sullivan served as the state director of the Obama campaign in 2008. In 2010, he was campaign manager for US Representative James R. Langevin.
For the last eight years, Mr. Sullivan was a partner at the Checkmate Consulting Group, based in East Greenwich.
From 2005 to 2011, he represented House District 29, which includes the towns of Coventry and West Greenwich. He served as executive director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island from 2011 to 2013 when the state passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage.
Former Lieutenant Governor Charles J. Fogarty said in a statement on Wednesday 13 October: “Many Rhode Islanders might not have heard of Ray Sullivan, but whether it was marriage equality or other social justice issues he has been there, fighting for them as a state legislator, a staff person, a lobbyist – and just as an interested citizen, as a human being,” he said. “We need more Ray Sullivans.”
Susan G. Pegden, the state’s law revision director who worked with Mr. Sullivan when she was communications director in Fogarty’s office.
“We all come up here to make a difference,” she said. “But Ray made one of the most enormous differences in this state. He fought for years, under very difficult circumstances, to pass the marriage equality act. He changed people’s lives.”
Pegden recalled watching “The West Wing” with Mr. Sullivan. “Ray, honestly, was one of the best people,” she said. “He was such a sweetheart. He was so close to our family. He was loved by so many people, and it’s a piece of your heart that goes when you hear something like this. It’s just heartbreaking.”