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The latest political news in Rhode Island

Endorsements, campaign announcements, and more leading up to the special election for R.I.’s First Congressional District

The Rhode Island State HouseEdward Fitzpatrick

Thursday, June 1

Mayor Grebien won’t run for congressional seat

Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien has decided against running for the First Congressional District seat.

“While a vacant seat in Congress is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and while I am honored to be mentioned among those with a strong pathway to victory, I am wholeheartedly committed to continuing the progress we are making in Pawtucket and I will not be a candidate in the special election,” Grebien said in a statement.

Grebien, a Democrat who has been mayor since 2011, said, “The work of being mayor is challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Every day, I am excited by the projects we are advancing: from a new train station to a unified high school to a revitalized riverfront entertainment district, there are so many great things happening in Pawtucket.”


He said he want to continue working with the City Council and School Committee to bring these projects to completion.

The First Congressional District seat is vacant because David N. Cicilline just stepped down to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Founadation.

“I want to thank Congressman Cicilline for his years of dedicated service to Pawtucket and the entire district,” Grebien said. “I wish him well as he moves into this next phase of his career and look forward to working with him and the Rhode Island Foundation.”

A spokeswoman said Grebien “has not yet made a decision about endorsements and will not for some time.”

Patrick Lynch endorses Amo for Congress

Former Rhode Island attorney general Patrick C. Lynch on Thursday endorsed Gabe Amo in the First Congressional District race.

Amo is one of 15 Democrats running for the seat that David N. Cicilline vacated on Wednesday to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.

Lynch, who had previously considered running for the seat, said, “As a lifelong resident of the First District, I proudly endorse a fellow native son of Pawtucket, my friend, Gabe Amo.”


“I’ve known Gabe for decades — from volunteering on my campaigns to working in the policy and legislation department of my office, to witnessing him rise to the heights of government in the State House and the White House,” he said. “I’m proud that he’s committed his career to service, and I ask my fellow First Congressional District voters to support him. Since I left office, I rarely get involved in politics too vocally, but the stakes are too high in this race. We need to elect Gabe, so that Rhode Island can have an effective and experienced leader in Congress.”

Amo most recently served as special assistant to President Biden and deputy director of intergovernmental affairs, where he served as Biden’s principal liaison to mayors and local elected officials.

“Former Attorney General Patrick Lynch has not only been a mentor to me, but was a pathbreaking leader on so many fights that I want to take on for Rhode Islanders in Congress,” Amo said. Like Lynch, he said he “will stand up to protect our environment, including our most valuable natural resource, Narragansett Bay; I will protect the most vulnerable, elderly residents and low-income children, on critical issues like safe housing; I will always fight for LGBTIA+ equality; and I will work to protect communities from the fear of gun violence. I’m honored to receive his endorsement and I look forward to the opportunity to build upon his legacy of service from day one.”


Wednesday, May 31

Autiello responds to Climate Action endorsement of Regunberg

Democratic congressional candidate Nicholas A. “Nick” Autiello II on Wednesday said he is disappointed he wasn’t given the opportunity to talk to Climate Action Rhode Island before it endorsed one of his opponents, J. Aaron Regunberg.

Autiello, a former aide in former governor Gina M. Raimondo’s commerce department, said he never got the chance to tell the group about his experience and what he would do about climate change as a member of Congress.

For example, he said, “While Aaron Regunburg was an intern at the Sierra Club, I was in the room with President Biden’s Climate Envoy, former Secretary of State John Kerry, strategizing together over how to find the trillions of dollars necessary to make the energy transition a reality,” Autiello said.

And, he said, “I was in the room with the leadership of the World Bank and the highest levels of government in developing countries, finding innovative solutions to make sure they don’t solve their development challenges with greater expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure.”

“Aaron Regunberg lacked the experience and background to even take notes in the high-level meetings I’ve led domestically and abroad,” Autiello said. “Our practical experiences leading on this issue are night and day.”

In response, Regunberg said he was proud of his years advocating and organizing for climate action.

“I’ve led passage of significant renewable energy legislation in the Rhode Island State House, supported fights to block dangerous fossil fuel projects like the Burrillville power plant, helped launch a campaign to push law firms to cut their ties to the oil and gas industry, and published law review articles laying out new climate legal strategies,” he said. “I’ve been publicly advocating for a Green New Deal since 2017, before it was cool. And I’m very grateful that the members of CARI – the folks who have been doing real climate organizing on the ground here for many years now – have unanimously endorsed our campaign following a rigorous vetting process. We need leaders in Congress who can organize, bring people together, and have a record of winning real climate action. That’s why I’m in this race.”


Climate Action RI endorses Regunberg for Congress

Climate Action Rhode Island, the statewide affiliate of the international climate organization 350.org, on Wednesday endorsed former state representative J. Aaron Regunberg in the First Congressional District race.

Regunberg, a Providence Democrat, is one of 15 Democrats running for the seat that US Representative David N. Cicilline is vacating this week to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.

“Our country is running out of time to tackle the climate crisis,” said Denise Taliaferro, co-chair of CARI’s politics team. “Electing Aaron Regunberg to Congress will meaningfully improve our chances of taking action in time to preserve a safe future.”

“Representative David Cicilline has been great on climate issues in Congress,” said Sasha Naydich, co-chair of CARI’s politics team. “Our statewide politics team is unanimous in believing that Aaron Regunberg is the best choice to continue and build on Cicilline’s legacy.”


CARI President Justin Boyan said, “Many politicians offer lip service to environmental issues, but Aaron is different. He has proven his commitment to climate advocacy throughout his time in public life, from the bills he introduced and passed at the State House to his organizing work against fossil-fuel firms to his many articles in national publications. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the best candidate to advance the climate fight in Washington.”

Regunberg said he was honored to receive the support of a group that was “a driving force” behind passage of the Act on Climate, and the state’s 100 percent renewable energy standard.

“CARI understands the urgency of this fight,” he said. “We’re already seeing more intense storms, raging forest fires, and rising seas. We don’t have any more time to waste, and I am looking forward to working with CARI to win this election and take our fight for a livable future to Washington.”

Thursday, May 25

Senate passes Mack bill for Juneteenth holiday

The Senate on Thursday unanimously passed legislation, introduced by Senator Tiara Mack, to establish “Juneteenth National Freedom Day” as a state holiday, to be held every year on June 19.

“Juneteenth is a holiday that recognizes the unjust and brutal chains that were forced upon millions of African Americans through the first half of our country’s history,” said Mack, a Providence Democrat. “It is also a joyous event when we celebrate the day that those torturous and inhumane chains were dropped to the ground in the name of freedom and humanity.”

Establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday would create a solemn day to recognize and learn from the horrors perpetrated upon Black Americans, she said, but it would also embrace the culture and history that African-Americans have contributed to the country.

“Not all chains of oppression were broken on June 19 and there is still much work to be done to reach a truly equal and unbiased society,” Mack said. “However, by officially recognizing and celebrating ‘Juneteenth’ as a holiday, we do have an opportunity to come together toward that better tomorrow.”

Juneteenth is marked on June 19 around the country to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in the states that left the Union. Although the Emancipation Proclamation took effect Jan. 1, 1863, slave owners in the Confederacy ignored it through the end of the Civil War in 1865. Even though the war ended on May 9, it wasn’t until June 19 that General Gordon Granger, having assumed command of Texas in Galveston, issued an order declaring that all slaves in Texas were to be immediately considered free. The message was met with celebrations by the newly freed slaves, and the date became an annual commemoration of the end of slavery, celebrated by many all over the country.

The Senate voted 37 to 0 for Mack’s bill, which now heads to the House, where Representative Brianna E. Henries, an East Providence Democrat, has introduced companion legislation.

State Senator Tiara Mack, a Democrat from Providence, introduced legislation to establish “Juneteenth National Freedom Day” as a state holiday, to be held every year on June 19. The Senate unanimously passed the legislation on May 25, 2023.David Santilli

State representatives, city councilors endorse Quezada for Congress

Two state representatives and two Central Falls City Council members on Thursday endorsed state Senator Ana Quezada, a Providence Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.

Quezada, a third-term state senator, received support from Representatives Jose Batista and Scott Slater, two fellow Providence Democrats, and from Central Falls City Council members Franklin Solano and Rafael Peguero, both Democrats.

“I am wholeheartedly endorsing Ana Quezada for Congress because she is a tireless fighter for the people she represents,” Batista said. “She went from the factory floor to the Senate floor because she works hard, always stays focused on the goal, and is fiercely committed to making the peoples’ voices heard in the halls of power. She will truly be a champion for Rhode Island in Washington.”

Slater said he backs Quezada because she knows how to get things done.

“It’s one thing to talk about what you’ll do in Congress, but it’s another thing entirely to be a freshman legislator in Washington,” he said. “Ana understands that challenge. She knows how to collaborate and find common sense solutions to deliver real results for the people she serves.”

Solano said Quezada “is the right person to represent Rhode Island because her story is our story. She doesn’t just talk about the struggles of working families, she’s lived them. She fought hard to get where she is today, and never had anything handed to her. That’s how I know she’ll fight hard for Rhode Island in Washington.”

Peguero said Quezada is “in the community everyday doing the work. When her constituents need help, they know how to find her — and they know she’ll get the job done.”

Quezada said she’s grateful for the endorsements. “They are using their voices to help us spread our message: that the people of Rhode Island are going to win this fight — not the Washington consultants, not the big money donors, the people.”

Latino Victory Fund endorses Matos for Congress

The Latino Victory Fund, a national political action committee, on Thursday endorsed Democratic Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in the special election in the First Congressional District.

The group noted that Matos, a former Providence City Council president, would be the nation’s first Afro-Latina and first Dominican-American woman elected to Congress, saying it is “proud to stand with Sabina in this historic bid and can’t wait to see her working as a member of the Democratic Latino bench in the US House of Representatives.”

“Sabina Matos is a visionary leader with a proven track record of advocating and delivering results for communities in Rhode Island,” said Luis A. Miranda Jr., board chairman of the Latino Victory Fund. “She is one of the state’s fiercest champions for affordable housing, where she was instrumental in the historic $250 million investment for housing in the state budget. She is also a reproductive health advocate making services and care accessible for Medicaid recipients and state workers, and a fighter for gun safety supporting the ban on assault weapons and raising the minimum age for legal gun owners.”

Matos said she is honored to receive the group’s support. “This endorsement represents not only their belief in my candidacy but also their recognition of the vital role that the Latino community plays in shaping the fabric of our nation,” she said. “Together, we will work tirelessly to break down barriers, champion justice, and ensure that the voices and needs of Rhode Islanders are heard and addressed at the highest levels of government.”

Three state representatives endorse Cano for Congress

Three Democratic state representatives — Rebecca Kislak of Providence, Karen Alzate of Pawtucket, and Joshua Giraldo of Central Falls — on Thursday endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.

“I trust Sandra to be a fierce advocate for children and families in Congress,” Kislak said. “I’ve seen her get things done — as working moms do. She always centers equity in her work and makes sure the policies she champions will have a positive impact on marginalized communities and working families. I’ve seen her as Senator and chair of the Education Committee work hard for our schools. I know she’ll bring our district’s values and voice to D.C.”

Alzate said, “I’m with Sandra because she is a true community leader that represents Rhode Island’s families and helps them in impactful ways. She always carries with her the voices of her community, and advocates on behalf of working people every time she steps into the State House — and beyond its walls. Now more than ever, we need this energy in Washington. As women, as Latinas, as proud residents of Pawtucket, Sandra and I have worked side by side to stand up and advocate for our communities. She’s always been there for us; now it’s time for us to be there for her.”

Giraldo said he met Cano more than a decade ago when they were advocating for their community in Central Falls.

“I was captivated by her life story, her drive, and her passion with every initiative that we brought forward,” he said. “Since then, I have seen her grow personally and professionally through the Pawtucket School Committee, City Council, and state Senate while raising a family. She is someone who can do it all, simultaneously, and with excellence. In Washington, she will fight for our families while raising her own. She is the true epitome of the American dream and it’s an honor to support her.”

Former R.I. attorney general Patrick Lynch won’t run for Congress

Former Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch on Thursday said he has decided he won’t run for the First Congressional District seat.

“I maintain a deep and abiding appreciation for public service and look forward to potentially serving again, but this race and this position are not something that works for my family or me at this time,” Lynch said. “At the same time, as a native of Pawtucket and a resident of Barrington, I know just how critical it is that we select a candidate who will continue the tremendous efforts and energy we have seen from those who have held the post previously — Patrick Kennedy and, of course, the remarkable leadership of David Cicilline.”

Lynch served as attorney general from 2003 to 2011, and he still has $254,695 stashed away in his campaign account.

“While there is an impressive list of people interested in the position,” he said, “I anticipate endorsing the candidate I feel is best prepared to assume the role and fight for my home district.”

Carlson and Autiello endorsed by LGBTQ+ Victory Fund

The LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, a national organization, on Thursday endorsed both Don Carlson and Nick Autiello in the First Congressional District race.

Carlson, a renewable energy investor from Jamestown, and Autiello, a former aide in former governor Gina M. Raimondo’s commerce department who lives in Providence, are two of 15 Democrats running in a special election for the seat that US Representative David N. Cicilline is vacating on June 1.

Don Carlson, a Jamestown Democrat, is considering a run for Rhode Island's First Congressional District seat.Handout

“Don’s commitment to smart public policy that addresses the real concerns of constituents will make him an exceptional leader in Congress,” said Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund. “We are confident that Don will be a vital LGBTQ+ voice for equality in Rhode Island and across the country.”

Carlson said he was honored to received the group’s support. “Representation is power, and I vow to bring my experiences as a gay man to Washington, to promote the principles of equality and justice,” he said. “I am grateful for the continued work of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund and look forward to continuing our collaboration.”

Autiello said he, too, was honored to receive the group’s endorsement.

Nicholas A. "Nick" Autiello II, a Providence Democrat, announced he is running for Rhode Island's First Congressional District seat.Handout

“When I came out at 17, I had no idea if I was lighting my future on fire, but I knew I was being true to myself and that’s all that mattered,” Autiello said. “Role models like David Cicilline and the example of a generation of men [who] faced the AIDS crisis gave me courage to never hide who I was. In Congress, I’ll always bring bold leadership to public fights on behalf of all Rhode Islanders.”

He said he is “looking forward to taking the baton from Congressman Cicilline to get the Equality Act signed into law to protect LGBTQ+ Americans across the country at a time of increasing attacks.”

Monday, May 22

R.I. Senator Quezada names congressional campaign team

Senator Ana B. Quezada, a Providence Democrat, on Monday announced her campaign team in the First Congressional District race, emphasizing that her staff will consist entirely of Rhode Island residents.

“I’m running for Congress to bring Rhode Island to Washington, not Washington to Rhode Island,” Quezada said. “Rhode Island is about to get flooded with money and people from Washington, D.C., trying to drown out the voices of people like me and my constituents. As long as I’m in this race, I won’t let that happen.”

Quezada’s campaign manager will be Jason Roias, who has run successful campaigns for Providence City Council members Pedro Espinal, John Goncalves, and Shelley Peterson, and state Representative Jose Batista, a Providence Democrat. He is a former vice president of the Young Democrats of Rhode Island, and current treasurer for the Black Lives Matter RI PAC.

The deputy campaign manager will be Jennifer Dalton Vincent, who previously led the Pawtucket Arts Festival, Providence ¡CityArts! for Youth, and the resident services department at Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley in Woonsocket.

The campaign manager for Latino outreach is Carolina Pichardo, a longtime political organizer in Rhode Island’s Latino and Hispanic communities.

Kristina Contreras Fox will be the field director, running the campaign’s get-out-the-vote operations. She has served as campaign manager and field director for multiple state and local candidates, including field director for Jorge Elorza’s successful 2014 mayoral campaign in Providence.

The policy co-chairs will be former state Senator Jeanine Calkin, a Warwick Democrat, and Diego Tomas Arene-Morley, a high school health teacher in Pawtucket who works as a family clinical social worker based in Washington Park and South Providence.

John Taraborelli will serve as the campaign’s director of communications. He is an experienced communications professional who served the same role on Elorza’s winning Democratic primary campaign in 2014.

Friday, May 19

Shekarchi bill calls for R.I. life sciences hub

House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, this week introduced legislation to launch a life science hub in Rhode Island.

The bill would create a new quasi-public entity, called the Rhode Island Life Sciences Hub, to serve as the coordinating organization of life science initiatives on behalf of the state.

Governor Daniel J. McKee’s proposed state budget includes $45 million for the life sciences sector to development wet lab incubator spaces. Funds would also be used to support grants, loans, business development and incubation services to grow this sector.

“Rhode Island already has so much of the knowledge needed to make our state a hub for the life sciences: world-class learning institutions and hospitals, which will be key partners in this effort,” Shekarchi said.

Neighboring states have created similar entities, he said, citing a Worcester biotech cluster that has created more than 1,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of more than $1 billion dollars.

“There is no reason Rhode Island cannot become a leader in the bio and life sciences,” Shekarchi said. “The workforce development in this industry will help our state retain graduates of our fantastic colleges and universities, which will, in turn, bolster our economy and attract new, high-paying jobs.”

The quasi-public entity would evaluate and potentially invest in Rhode Island-based companies in the life sciences sector that meet vigorous eligibility criteria and promote economic growth and workforce development. It would aim to strengthen the state’s life sciences sector and encourage collaboration and innovation among public, private, and academic institutions.

The organization would be governed by a board of directors composed of leaders from the life sciences, health care, academia, and state government.

Friday, May 19

Running for Congress, Cano is endorsed by three fellow Democratic senators

Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat running for the First Congressional District seat, on Friday announced she has received endorsements from three Democratic colleagues — Senators Pam Lauria of Barrington, Alana M. DiMario of Narragansett, and Dawn Euer of Newport.

Cano is one of 15 Democrats running in a special election for the seat that US Representative David N. Cicilline is vacating on June 1.

“Representation matters,” Lauria said. “As a woman, a mom, a health care provider, and the wife of a teacher, I support Sandra Cano to be our next Congressperson. Sandra is a proven leader who will fight for reproductive justice, a future free of gun violence, environmental justice, health equity, and a public education that works for all R.I. students. We know this because she has already done it here in Rhode Island.”

DiMario said Cano has a “proven record” of addressing critical issues. “From building a childcare system that is affordable for working families and pays living wages, to Early Childhood educators, to expanding access to mental health care supports, I have seen first-hand how Sandra Cano follows through to find solutions and make needed changes,” she said. “Her passion on these issues is personal, because she is truly a part of the community that she has served so well for so long.”

Euer, who announced her support of Cano in April, said, “I have worked closely with Sandra Cano almost my entire time in the Senate. She does what women leaders do: she focuses on the issues, puts in the time to build meaningful coalitions, and does so without seeking credit. Sandra is a dedicated public servant and has shown that she has the tenacity we need in our next congressperson.”

Thursday, May 18

McKee nominates Verdi to lead Department of Revenue

Governor Daniel J. McKee on Thursday nominated former Providence Police commander Thomas Verdi to be the next director of the state Department of Revenue.

“Thomas Verdi’s 35 years of serving the Providence community will be a tremendous asset as he serves as director of the Department of Revenue,” McKee said. “I’m pleased nominate Tom for this important position and know his management experience will serve him well.”

Verdi served for 35 years in the Providence Police Department, retiring as commander and deputy chief of police. Prior to becoming commander, he was commanding officer of the Uniform Division. From 2006-2016 he served on the Rhode Island Parole Board, becoming the first Providence police officer to be appointed to the board.

He now serves on commissions and boards such as the Rhode Island Chiefs’ Association, and the Providence Sports & Leadership and Reentry Campus Program, which helps provide affordable post-secondary educational pathways to formerly and currently incarcerated individuals. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree from Boston University, and he graduated from the FBI Academy.

“I thank Governor McKee for this nomination and the opportunity to work with extremely talented people at the DOR,” Verdi said. “It is an honor and privilege to serve the residents of Rhode Island in this new position. I look forward to both the challenge and opportunity of this new role.”

Wednesday, May 17

R.I. Working Families Party endorses Regunberg

The Rhode Island Working Families Party on Wednesday endorsed former state representative J. Aaron Regunberg, a Providence Democrat running for the First Congressional District seat.

Regunberg is one of 15 Democrats running in a special election for the seat that US Representative David N. Cicilline is vacating on June 1.

“Aaron is exactly the type of leader Rhode Islanders need in Congress,” said Georgia Hollister Isman, New England regional director of the Working Families Party. “He has an unshakeable commitment to progressive values. He’s dogged enough to take on the Republicans and corporate Democrats organizing to block progressive change, and skilled enough to get things done in tough conditions. From winning paid sick days for over 100,000 Rhode Islanders or walking picket lines with striking workers, Aaron is someone who shows up, brings people together and gets results.”

This marks the first major endorsement in the First Congressional District race by a political organization based in Rhode Island, Hollister Isman said. “We have a history of working with him,” she said. “I’ve worked with hundreds of state legislators in different states, and he stands out in the top tier in terms of commitment to working family values, doggedness, and his ability to organize to get tangible change for working people.”

The Rhode Island Working Families Party said it plans to mobilize its organizers, members, and volunteers, lend campaign strategy, and use its long-standing voter contact infrastructure to help Regunberg in the crowded Democratic primary. In last year’s election season, the group launched canvassers reaching over 25,000 doors, hosted phone banks resulting in more than 70,000 phone calls to voters, and texted over 50,000 voters about endorsed candidates.

“I’m a Working Families Party Democrat, and always have been — we’ve fought together to improve the lives of Rhode Island’s working families for years,” Regunberg said. “We’ve taken power out of the hands of corporations, political bosses, and corporate Democrats, and put it back into the hands of our neighbors. I’m honored to have their endorsement in my race for Congress, and for the chance to fight alongside other Working Families Party Democrats in Congress, like Summer Lee, Jamaal Bowman and Greg Casar, to deliver the progressive change we need.”

Monday, May 15

Magaziner backs bill to invest in small and mid-sized police departments

US Representative Seth Magaziner, a Rhode Island Democrat, on Monday stood outside the Warwick police station, announcing that he is co-sponsoring the “Invest to Protect Act,” which would spend $50 million per year for training, recruitment, and mental health resources for small and mid-sized police departments.

“National Police Week is a time for us all to thank the brave members of law enforcement who put their lives on the line every single day to keep our communities safe,” Magaziner said. “I’m proud to announce my support for the Invest to Protect Act, which will deliver critical federal funding for Rhode Island police departments to ensure the safety of frontline officers and continue to keep our cities and towns secure.”

Over the next five years, the bill would spend $50 million per year to invest in officer safety, de-escalation, and domestic violence response training; allow departments to provide mental health resources for their officers; and create grants for small departments to recruit new officers, provide retention bonuses, and fund officers’ tuition for graduate studies in mental health, public health, and social work up to $10,000.

Magaziner was joined by Warwick Mayor Frank J. Picozzi, who said, “My greatest responsibly as mayor is ensuring public safety. The Invest to Protect Act will go a long way to help recruit, train, and retain police officers.”

The Warwick police chief, Colonel Bradford Connor, said the legislation “falls directly in line with our commitment to provide quality policing by recruiting the finest candidates and then providing them with up to date training in the area of officer safety, de-escalation, and domestic violence response. If passed, this bill would positively enhance policing for mid-size agencies like the Warwick Police Department.”

R.I. congressional candidate Regunberg says Biden should invoke 14th Amendment, if necessary

J. Aaron Regunberg, a Democratic candidate for the First Congressional District seat, on Monday said that, if necessary, President Biden should invoke the 14th Amendment to continue paying the federal government’s bills, rather than giving in to Republican efforts to use the debt ceiling standoff to enact budget cuts.

Regunberg, a former state representative from Providence, is one of 15 Democrats running in the special election for the congressional seat that US Representative David N. Cicilline will vacate on June 1. The Democratic primary will take place on Sept. 5 and the general election will take place Nov. 7.

“Republicans in Congress are holding our economy hostage in order to enact spending cuts that would devastate thousands of Rhode Islanders,” Reguberg said. “These are programs regular people rely on, nutrition assistance dollars for seniors and single mothers that mean the difference between putting food on the table or going hungry. Pell Grants and Head Start seats that students and children rely on. Critical climate programs that are creating jobs in our communities. President Biden must stand strong against these draconian attacks.”

He noted the 14th Amendment states that “The validity of the public debt of the United States ... shall not be questioned.”

And he said that “If Republicans in Congress insist on trying to drive our economy off a cliff, President Biden should fulfill his Constitutional obligation to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed’ by executing the spending laws that Congress has already enacted. And he should invoke the authority granted by the 14th Amendment to ensure the federal government continues paying all its bills as they come due.”

Congressional candidate Amo touring small businesses in R.I.

Gabe Amo, a Democratic candidate for the First Congressional District, will meet small business owners and supporters on a tour of the district Monday.

“As the son of a small business owner, I know how important small businesses are to our community, and I look forward to hearing their stories,” Amo said. “In Congress, I will support policies that ensure Rhode Island small businesses and their employees have the support they need to thrive.”

The tour will include:

9:15 p.m. – Geri’s Bluffing Boutique, 285 Main St., Woonsocket

Noon – Cafe Zara, 130 Taunton Avenue, East Providence

12:30 p.m. – The Burrito Bowl, 809 Broadway, East Providence

1:30 p.m. – Beehive Cafe, 10 Franklin St., Bristol, RI

Friday, May 12

Running for Congress, Cano fund-raising text includes Cicilline, but he’s not endorsing anyone

Senator Sandra Cano, left, with her fiance, state Treasurer James A. Diossa, US Rrepresentative David N. Cicilline, and Cano and Diossa's daughter, Arianna Hallel.Handout

Senator Sandra Cano, a candidate for the First Congressional District seat that US Representative David N. Cicilline is vacating, this week sent out fund-raising texts that show a smiling Cicilline along with Cano, her fiance, state Treasurer James A. Diossa, and their daughter.

But on Friday, a spokesperson for Cicilline said, “The congressman’s campaign committee was not contacted” about using that photo in Cano’s fund-raising pitch. And, the spokesperson said, “The congressman does not intend to endorse any candidate in light of the position he will be taking as President and CEO of the RI Foundation next month.”

Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, is one of 15 Democrats running in the special election for the congressional seat that Cicilline will vacate on June 1. The Democratic primary will take place on Sept. 5 and the general election will take place Nov. 7.

Cano’s text message says, “I’m not sure if you’ve heard the news yet, but Congressman David Cicilline is retiring from Congress at the end of the month. I am so thankful for the work he has done to protect and expand our civil rights, ensure working people are keeping up with the cost of living, and holding corporations accountable.”

The text, which does not state that Cicilline is endorsing her, goes on to say, “I am reaching out to share more information about why I am running, and with a request. Would you be willing to become a founding donor to my campaign?”

Thursday, May 11

Our Revolution endorses Regunberg for Congress

Our Revolution, a national progressive political organizing group, on Thursday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg, a Providence Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.

“Aaron is the progressive candidate in this race and has a track record of organizing broad coalitions to make a difference for everyday people,” Our Revolution stated. “In Rhode Island, he helped pass paid sick days, higher wages, clean energy programs, and more. And that’s what he’ll do in Congress.”

Regunberg, who served in the state House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019, is one of 15 Democrats running in a special election for the First Congressional District seat the US Representative David N. Cicilline is vacating.

“I’m proud to have earned the endorsement of Our Revolution, which was launched by Bernie Sanders, and supports progressive leaders with a record of taking on corporate power, fighting for universal healthcare, and winning bold climate action,” Regunberg said. “That’s what I’ve done here in Rhode Island by helping secure passage of landmark progressive legislation including paid sick days and access to renewable energy, and that’s what I’m committed to do as Rhode Island’s next member of Congress.”

Newport mayor endorses Amo for Congress

Newport Mayor Xay Khamsyvoravong on Thursday endorsed Gabe Amo in the First Congressional District race.

Amo is the first candidate who has earned a mayoral endorsement in the 2023 special election to fill the seat the US Representative David N. Cicilline is vacating to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.

Fifteen Democrats are running for the seat. Amo, a Pawtucket native who recently left his job as a top aide to President Biden. The 35-year-old Democrat also worked for former president Barack Obama, former governor Gina M. Raimondo, and US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse before joining the Biden administration, where he was special assistant to the president, and deputy director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Khamsyvoravong, who decided not to run for the congressional seat himself, won a seat on the Newport City Council in 2022 and went on to be unanimously elected as mayor by the City Council.

“Mayors need partners in Congress who we can count on to show up and help when it matters most. Gabe Amo was often the first call from the White House that my colleagues across the country received when they were guiding their communities through their darkest moments and hardest challenges,” Khamsyvoravong said. “I’ve known Gabe for almost 20 years, and he’s always showed up for Rhode Islanders. I’m proud to endorse Gabe Amo to represent Rhode Island’s First Congressional District.”

Amo said, “I’m proud to be endorsed by a leader who has been a longtime champion for Rhode Island and the people of Newport. Mayor Xay is part of a new generation of leadership and his support is a stamp of approval for the Rhode Island values and vast experience that I’ll bring to Congress on day one. I look forward to meeting people in the City by the Sea, and across the district, to hear their stories and discuss how we can make Rhode Island stronger than ever.”

Cano names congressional campaign team

PROVIDENCE — State Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, on Thursday announced her campaign team in the First Congressional District race and released a campaign video.

“I am excited to share my story and experiences with the voters in congressional district one and look forward to the next several months,” Cano said. “I am also honored to have assembled a campaign team that has deep Rhode Island roots. I know that together we will work hard to earn the support of the voters.”

Cano’s team includes Sydney Keen will serve as the campaign manager. Keen worked with Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island on the successful campaign to pass the Reproductive Privacy Act in 2019 to protect abortion rights in Rhode Island.

Checkmate Consulting Group will serve as the campaign’s general media consultant focusing on television, streaming and digital advertising, and direct mail. Founded by Brad Dufault in 2006, Checkmate Consulting Group has worked with Cano on all of her elections beginning with her School Committee race in 2012.

Michael Beauregard of Systems Change Strategies will serve as the campaign’s field and digital strategy consultant. Beauregard has experience in the First Congressional District, most recently managing US Representative David N. Cicilline’s 2022 re-election campaign.

Change Research will serve as the campaign’s pollster. Founded in 2017, Change Research’s clients have included Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, and 2020 Rhode Island Ballot Question 1, which successfully removed “and Providence Plantations” from Rhode Island’s state name.

Wilder Arboleda will serve as the campaign treasurer. Arboleda has been working on campaigns in Rhode Island since 2010 and has worked with Cano since her 2012 school committee election.

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.