John G. “Jay” Edwards was born April 7, 1958, in Newport, RI. His father, John Edwards, was a union carpenter foreman who eventually returned to the Newport area to start his own successful general construction company. His mother, Mary Ann Tobin, worked with his father in the construction company. She eventually branched out and became a Town Councilor for Portsmouth, RI, rising to President in 2004. They both continue to reside in Portsmouth, RI.
Jay graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, MA with a degree in Political Science in 1983. He met his wife, Donna Ward, in Boston and they were married in 1982. They have three children, John, 25, Kelsey, 20 & Mae, 15. Donna is currently a second grade teacher in the Westport Community, MA, School system. She is also the Vice President of the Westport Federation of Teachers.
Before getting into politics, Jay worked in various levels in his chosen profession, construction. He has worked for both union and merit shop firms ranging in size from $1-3 million/ year to in excess of $150 Million/year. Jay has licenses in both RI and Massachusetts for construction supervision and has managed projects in several New England states. His occupation is as a construction project manager.
Locally, Jay served on the Tiverton Zoning Board for over 10 years becoming the Vice Chairman. In 2004, he was appointed to the Tiverton Elementary School Building Committee which oversaw the construction of the new elementary school and the complete renovation of two existing schools, serving as Vice Chairman. In 2006, Jay was elected to the Tiverton Town Council. He continues to be a member of the Tiverton Democratic Town committee and serves as their treasurer. Jay was elected to represent District 70 (Tiverton, Portsmouth) in the RI House of Representatives in 2008. He serves on the House Labor, House Veterans Affairs and House Oversight Committees.
As a committed environmentalist, Jay is a member of Save the Bay, the Maine Island Trail Association, the Tiverton Land Trust, the Sierra Club and served as the Town Council’s appointee to the Landfill subcommittee. Jay is on the board of directors for Caritas, RI, a non-profit group that helps teenagers and women with substance abuse issues. Caritas operates three residential facilities as well as several out-patient programs. A long time and frequent platelet donor, Jay recently donated his 37th gallon to the RI Blood Center. An Eagle Scout since 1973, Jay is currently a member of the National Eagle Scout Association. He also is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Newport Chapter, the National Rifle Association and Clean Water Action. In 2009, Jay became the first member of the General Assembly to be recognized as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional by the US Green Building Council.