Donna Nesselbush

Rhode Island State Senate, District 15


Donna is the only openly LGBTQ State Senator in Rhode Island


Donna Nesselbush has been an active and dedicated Pawtucket resident for more than 25 years. Elected in 2010, she represents District 15 in the Rhode Island State Senate and is a member of the Committees on Judiciary, Government Oversight and Health and Human Services.

Since 2004, Donna has served the City of Pawtucket as a Municipal Traffic and Housing Court Judge. She also chairs the Rhode Island Municipal Court Judge’s Association’s legislative committee.

Upon graduating from Brown University (’84), Donna was awarded the Sarah Doyle Prize in recognition of her significant contribution to women both on campus and in the community.

That same year, Donna became the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence where she served for seven years. In 2004, at the organization’s 25th anniversary celebration, she was commemorated for outstanding leadership and service to victims of abuse.

cum laude graduate of Suffolk University Law School (’91), Donna has dedicated her legal career to representing thousands of Social Security Disability claimants at all levels of review before the Social Security Administration, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, the Appeals Council, the United States District Court and the United States Court of Appeals.

A small business owner, Donna co-founded Marasco & Nesselbush, a premier law firm that employs more than 40 individuals and handles hundreds of legal cases every year. She currently serves as the chair of the Rhode Island Bar Association’s Social Security Disability Law Subcommittee.

Today, she is a member of Lawyers for Equality and Diversity, the Lesbian and Gay Issues Committee, American Association for Justice and sits on the board of directors for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Rhode Island chapter.

A passionate advocate for victims of domestic abuse, women’s rights and the disadvantaged, Donna has received accolades from the United States Department of Justice, Rhode Island Bar Association, Travelers Aid Society of Rhode Island (currently Crossroads) and the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless.

In the past, Donna participated in the Rhode Island Supreme Court Task Force on Domestic Violence, served as president and on the board of directors of Progreso Latino and volunteered for Project Hope.

Donna lives on Raleigh Avenue and, in addition to English, is proud to be fluent in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

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