Back in the 1970s, Dr. Rita Marinho, then Rita Moniz, was a feisty member of the New Bedford City Council.

As the Ward Five Councilor, she was the first Portuguese-American woman to serve on the council. She generated headlines in the late '70s when she and Ward Six Councilor Ralph Saulnier challenged then-Mayor John Markey's authority over how Community Development money should be spent.

In addition to her political career, Dr. Marinho was a tenured professor at Southeastern Massachusetts University, what is now UMass Dartmouth. She was also the first Portuguese-American woman to serve on the YWCA National Board.

Dr. Marinho also spent some time in the media, hosting a radio program on WBSM, and later offering election analysis on Local Cable News Channel 13. Dr. Marinho produced a seminal study contrasting the political behavior of Portuguese-Americans in New Bedford and Providence. That study is now part of the Library of Congress.

Dr. Marinho joined Townsquare Sunday by phone this weekShe now resides in Florida where she writes, continues her genealogical research, and plays competitive bridge.

Dr. Marinho is also an author. She recently published a novel entitled Lustful Vengeance: A Romance Novel of Portugal. The book combines fact-based family history with a fictionalized narrative about her two paternal grandparents. "Family secrets, affairs, betrayal and forbidden love, the book has it all," she said. The e-book is available on Amazon.

The interview with Dr. Rita Marinho can be heard here:

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard Sunday mornings on 1420 WBSM. The program highlights individuals and organizations striving to make the SouthCoast a better place to live and work.

If you would like to have your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at

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