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Governor Lincoln D. Chafee Appoints Louise Durfee to Chair the Rhode Island Judicial Nominating Commission

Providence, RI - Governor Lincoln D. Chafee has announced his appointment of Louise Durfee of Tiverton as Chair of the Rhode Island Judicial Nominating Commission.

"Louise Durfee is among the most accomplished and experienced legal minds in Rhode Island," Governor Chafee said. "Her presence on the Judicial Nominating Commission will bring valuable insight, perspective, and expertise based on decades of outstanding work in the legal profession, Rhode Island state government, and many civic and charitable causes."

The Judicial Nominating Commission is charged with screening applicants for vacancies on all of Rhode Island's courts. Upon notification of a judicial vacancy, the Commission advertises for interested candidates, who then complete an extensive application. The Commission then selects candidates to be interviewed, solicits public comment, and conducts background checks. Based on the information developed throughout this process, the Commission votes and submits to the Governor a list of 3-5 highly qualified individuals for each vacancy.

Louise Durfee is currently an attorney with her own practice, with a primary emphasis on general business, corporate, real estate, and environmental law. Previously, she served for 10 years as partner with the Providence office of Brown Rudnick LLP; for three years as Director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, under then-Governor Bruce G. Sundlun; and for over 20 years as a partner at the firm of Tillinghast, Collins & Graham. Early in her career, Durfee was at attorney with both American Telephone & Telegraph Co. and Mobil Oil Company and served as the first General Counsel to the Narragansett Bay Commission. For two years, Durfee was an instructor in the Government Department at her alma mater, Connecticut College, where she taught courses in American Government and Constitutional Law.

Since the early 1970s, Durfee has served in various capacities on the Tiverton Town Council, including as President from 1972 to 1976; most recently, she served as a member of the Council from 2002 to 2010. She is President of the Rhode Island Board of the Conservation Law Foundation, is Director Emeritus of Grow Smart Rhode Island, and is a former President of Save the Bay. She is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Tiverton Land Trust and is a former member of the Boards of Directors of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council and the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. She served as Chairman of the Governor's Sewerage Facilities Task Force under Governor J. Joseph Garrahy and was an unsuccessful primary candidate for Governor of Rhode Island in 1994.

Durfee is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Examiners (first woman appointed to the Board) and the American Bar Foundation, and is a former member of the Disciplinary Board of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, the Advisory Committee on Judicial Appointments, the Committee on the Treatment of Women in the Courts, and the Women Executives in State Government. Durfee is a graduate, with honors, of Connecticut College and received her J.D. from the Yale School of Law. She was awarded an honorary degree from Roger Williams Law School and has received awards of special recognition from the Rhode Island Bar Association, the Tiverton Conservation Commission, and Save the Bay. In 1999, the Providence Journal named her one of the "Heroes of the 20th Century" in Rhode Island.

Governor Chafee also announced the appointment of Alexander Biliouris of North Smithfield, RI, from a list of names submitted by House Minority Leader Brian C. Newberry, in accordance with RI General Law 8-16.1-2.

"Alex will make an excellent addition to the JNC," Minority Leader Newberry said. "Not only does he have a long track record of public service and community involvement in North Smithfield but as a non-lawyer he will bring a different perspective to one of the most important commissions in the State."

Mr. Biliouris is currently Principal Broker-Partner at Next Move Realty and was previously CEO of Alexander & Company. He has been a professional real estate broker since 1989, engaged in commercial and residential sales and rentals, as well as commercial and residential property management, development, and construction. He is a former member of the Board of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, a former consultant to the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center, a former member of the North Smithfield Budget Committee, a former President of the North Smithfield Town Council, and a current member of the North Smithfield Planning Board. In 1985, he was recognized by the Small Business Administration for outstanding support and dedicated effort to benefit the business of our nation. Mr. Biliouris received his B.S. in Business Administration from Bryant University.

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