Breaking Barriers: Arlene Violet, America’s First Female Attorney General

Up until the mid-1980s, no U.S. state had ever elected a woman to be attorney general

It took a former Roman Catholic nun in America’s smallest state to shatter that glass ceiling.

In 1984, Arlene Violet – running as a Republican in deep blue Rhode Island – was elected attorney general. Her goals were to strengthen victims’ rights, and to try to root out the state’s entrenched public corruption .

Get your copy of Arlene Violet ‘s book

She did make progress, but was defeated for reelection in 1986.

Two years later she wrote her memoir, a book called Convictions. I had covered Violet’s career when I was news director of a major radio station in Providence, so I was delighted to have the chance to reconnect when her book tour brought her to my studio.

So here now, from 1988, Arlene Violet.

Arlene Violet is 81 now. And remains politically outspoken.