SOA Designates Rep. Patricia Serpa as Oversight Leader

Great oversight work is happening all the time, all over the country. The State Oversight Academy wants to highlight the work of legislators, committees, auditors, and other state officials who make great oversight happen and share their success stories across the national oversight community and beyond.

Meet the SOA's Inaugural Oversight Leader

Rep. Patricia Serpa (Rhode Island)

Rep. Serpa has been the Chairwoman of the Rhode Island House Committee on Oversight since 2016. Her oversight work has led her to address such wide-ranging issues as delays in state tax refunds, health care software implementation, behavioral health care, non-emergency medical transportation and the safety of children in the care of the Department of Children, Youth and Families. Her efforts demonstrate a deep commitment to the legislative branch’s role in finding the facts and addressing problems in government as they arise, especially when it comes to issues like contracts.

Rep. Serpa’s nominator writes that she “is quick to have committee hearings and bring forth questions or concerns from either the public or other legislators” and “is fair but diligent.” Her nominator also remarks on Rep. Serpa’s willingness to work across the aisle and provide support and advice to other legislators.

Rep. Serpa’s recent work with the Department of Children, Youth and Families and the Department of Administration resulted in legislation to address issues with the Department’s hiring process and ensure better care for vulnerable youth.

“It was amazing to me just how much attention the general public in my state pays to the work of the Oversight Committee,” said Rep. Serpa. “They appreciate that legislators expect that state government will function efficiently in order to ensure that citizens’ needs are met and that their questions are answered. I have not been shy about holding state departments accountable for inefficiencies and failures and then expecting corrective action plans from them. The work of the Oversight Committee restores a level of public confidence that their elected representatives are truly committed to serving their constituents. I am so grateful to the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy for the unexpected honor of being recognized for my leadership.”

Because of years of work by Rep. Serpa and the Rhode Island House Oversight Committee, children in care of the State are safer, taxpayers get their refunds faster, more seniors and Medicaid recipients make it to their medical appointments on time, and all Rhode Islanders can have more faith in their government.