State Rep. Helio Melo Not Seeking Re-election.
Former "Mayor" of Taunton Avenue Retires.
In a written statement Representative Helio Melo, (D) East Providence, announced that he is not going to be seeking re-election to the seat he has held in the Rhode Island General Assembly since 2005. "It has been a great privilege for me to hold this seat and represent my neighbors and my city in the state house. When I combine my time in this office with the period that I sat on the East Providence School committee, it totals 18 years. I cannot believe how quickly that time has passed and I cannot express with words how grateful I am for the support that I have received. It is time for me to step aside and let someone else take on these duties. These two public offices that I have held have taught me much about my city in and its citizens. The experience has made me realize over and over why I enjoy living here. My thanks go out to the people I have worked with, the people that have supported me and everyone I've met along the way."
Helio Melo may have started his career in government when as a young teenager he was called the "Mayor of Taunton Avenue" for his interest in school committee and city council meetings. He was often seen in City Hall and Taunton Avenue businesses discussing his thoughts on politics. The young Melo became friendly with another Taunton Avenue icon, James "Jimmy" Kanelos of the Coney Island System and a long time school committee member. Eventually Melo ran for and was elected to the school committee himself in 1998.
Melo, who became a leading Democrat in state house politics, has served in District 64 in East Providence since first being elected in November 2004. He is a member of the House Labor Committee. Melo was the chairman of the influential House Committee on Finance from 2011 until March 2014. In that role, he co-chaired the hearings and played a leading role in the passage of the comprehensive pension reform legislation in 2011 which reduced the state’s liability by $3 billion. In 2010, he was the sponsor of the enacted income tax reform legislation which reduced the tax burden for most Rhode Islanders and simplified the tax system. In 2012, he was the sponsor of the Revenue Protection Act which established the state’s share of table games at Twin River, as approved by the voters. Melo was replaced by Raymond Gallison as House Finance Chair after Gordon Fox resigned as House Speaker. Gallison recently resigned from his House seat altogether in the midst of an investigation which he is now the target of.
Melo was a member of the East Providence School Committee from 1998 to 2004, where he served as chairman from 2000 to 2002. He served on the East Providence Public Library Board of Trustees as Chairman from 1995 to 1998. Additionally, Melo served on the National School Board Association’s Young Caucus, as its Vice President from 2000 to 2002, and he was a member of the East Providence Democratic City Committee.
Melo is a training manager for the Jan Companies. He is a graduate of East Providence High School and attended the University of Rhode Island.