Wednesday, Sept. 27
R.I. Democratic city and town chairs endorse Amo for Congress
The Rhode Island Association of Democratic City and Town Chairs on Wednesday announced that the group has unanimously endorsed Gabe Amo in the First Congressional District race.
Amo faces Republican Gerry W. Leonard Jr. in the Nov. 7 race to replace David N. Cicilline, a Democrat who stepped down June 1 to become the president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
“Our association believes in the importance of selecting candidates who are not only deeply committed to the principles of the Democratic Party but also possess the vision and determination to enact positive change in our communities,” said Tom Kane, president of the Rhode Island Association of Democratic City and Town Chairs. “Gabe Amo exemplifies these qualities, and we are proud to stand with him as he seeks to represent the people of Rhode Island in Congress.”
Erich Haslehurst, first vice president of the association, said, “Gabe Amo has a track record of working tirelessly for the betterment of Rhode Island. His dedication to reducing gun violence, protecting the right to abortion, and addressing the realities of climate change aligns perfectly with our party’s values. We know Gabe will fight to make sure everyone has access to the healthcare they need and that we address economic disparities to help working families. We believe Gabe is the right choice to be a strong advocate for Rhode Islanders in Congress.”
Amo said he is honored to receive the endorsement.
“Rhode Island is my home, and I am committed to fighting for a future that is equitable, sustainable, and prosperous for all,” he said. “With the support of the association and its dedicated members, we can work together to make a positive impact on the lives of Rhode Islanders.”
Tuesday, Sept. 26
Magaziner warns of ‘devastating’ consequences of government shutdown
US Representative Seth Magaziner, a Rhode Island Democrat, on Tuesday warned of the “devastating impact” that a federal government shutdown would have on Rhode Islanders.
“A government shutdown would be devastating for working people in Rhode Island and across the country, and it is our duty to do everything we can to prevent this from happening,” Magaziner said. “I’m fighting to stop this manufactured crisis, and I’m calling on my House Republican colleagues to put aside partisanship and work with Democrats to prevent a shutdown. The jobs and paychecks of working Rhode Islanders should not fall victim to political games.”
Magaziner, who held a news conference in Warwick, said the consequences of a government shutdown would include:
- All active-duty military personnel and many law enforcement officers would be required to work without pay.
- Many Social Security workers would be furloughed, causing significant delays in the processing of benefits.
- Nearly 18,000 Rhode Islanders who depend on food assistance from the Women, Infants and Children program – including 10,000 children and 4,000 infants – will no longer be able to depend on this program once federal funding is exhausted.
- Air traffic controllers and Transportation Safety Administration officers would have to work without pay which could lead to staffing shortages that threatens travelers’ safety.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration would be forced to limit workplace inspections, putting worker safety at risk, and Americans who are owed back pay for their hard work would face delays due to the majority of Department of Labor investigations being suspended.
- About 10,000 children across the country would immediately lose access to Head Start, affecting early childhood development and the ability for parents to go to work.
- The Food and Drug Administration could be forced to delay food safety inspections for a wide variety of products all across the country.
- A shutdown would increase the risk that Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund is depleted, complicating new emergency response efforts.
- Most Environmental Protection Agency-led inspections at hazardous waste sites as well as drinking water and chemical facilities would stop. The EPA would halt oversight and review of permits and plans to ensure safe drinking water and clean air in communities. Additionally, efforts to address dangerous contaminants such as PFAS — which are linked to severe health effects, including cancer — would be delayed, and cleanup activities at Superfund sites would slow or cease.
Thursday, Sept. 7
Michigan Representative Bergman endorses Leonard for Congress in R.I.
US Representative Jack Bergman, a Michigan Republican, on Thursday endorsed Republican Gerry W. Leonard Jr. in the First Congressional District race.
Bergman is a retired US Marine Corps lieutenant general and Leonard is a retired US Marine Corps colonel.
“As a Marine, Gerry put that Marine on his left and right first,” Bergman said. “As the next congressman for Rhode Island’s First District, I’m convinced he will put principles over politics and put his constituents first. Gerry Leonard is a man of integrity and brings a unique perspective that will serve Rhode Islanders in Washington D.C.”
Leonard said Bergman’s endorsement is an honor.
“Having served in Lieutenant General Bergman’s command from 2006-2008, I witnessed his commitment, character, and leadership first-hand,” he said. “He continues to serve his country today by placing his constituents before himself and his party, just like he placed his Marines before himself over a decade ago. His endorsement reflects his confidence in my ability to lead and fight for all Rhode Islanders in Congress.”
Wednesday, Sept. 6
Top R.I. Democrats back Amo for Congress
Rhode Island’s top Democratic leaders backed Gabe Amo in the First Congressional District race on Wednesday, one day after he won a decisive victory in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
Amo, a former White House aide, won 32.5 percent of the vote in an 11-candidate Democratic field, and he will face Republican Gerry W. Leonard Jr. in the Nov. 7 general election to fill the seat vacated by Democrat David N. Cicilline.
The state’s congressional delegation — US Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, and US Representative Seth Magaziner — joined Governor Daniel J. McKee, House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, Senate President Dominick J. Ruggiero, and state Democratic Party Chairman Joseph M. McNamara in a joint statement supporting Amo.
“We are hopeful that the people of the First Congressional District will send Gabe Amo to work with us to grow the middle class and secure a better future for every single Rhode Islander,” they said. “With Gabe Amo in Congress, Rhode Island will continue to have strong Democratic leadership in Washington.”
Monday, Sept. 4
US Representative DeLauro endorses Regunberg for Congress in R.I.
US Representative Rosa DeLauro on Monday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg in the First Congressional District Democratic primary, meaning that both of David N. Cicilline’s favorite members of Congress are backing Regunberg in the race to succeed Cicilline.
When he appeared on the Globe’s Rhode Island Report podcast in May, Cicilline named DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, and Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, as his two favorite members of Congress.
“Rosa because she’s been a mentor to me, we bonded from the first day, she’s been an adviser and counselor, she’s been with me in every leadership fight I’ve been in, I just consider her like a sister,” Cicilline said on the podcast. “Jamie Raskin — one of the finest human beings I’ve ever met — just an incredibly decent and brilliant and kind person and a huge defender of our democracy.”
Raskin endorsed Regunberg in June. DeLauro is the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee and sits on the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
“David Cicilline has been a very close friend, and I already miss his voice in the House,” DeLauro said. “We need Rhode Island to send another strong advocate for working people and the middle class. That’s why I am proud to endorse Aaron Regunberg.”
Regunberg called DeLauro “an icon,” saying, “She has been fighting to make government work for regular people — not just for entrenched corporate interests — for decades, and it means the world to have the trust and confidence of someone who has such a deep understanding of how Congress works and what it takes to be effective in the House. David Cicilline is one of my heroes, and it’s an honor to have the support of his two favorite members of Congress.”
Sunday, Sept. 3
Providence City Council president endorses Regunberg for Congress
Providence City Council President Rachel Miller on Sunday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg in the First Congressional District race.
Regunberg, a former state representative from Providence, is one of 11 Democrats running in Tuesday’s primary for the seat that David N. Cicilline vacated to lead the Rhode island Foundation.
“Aaron is the real deal,” Miller said. “He’s a progressive leader who’s true to his values, who’s committed to pushing for a better, fairer world, and who actually has the know-how and work ethic and organizing chops to follow through and win the change we need. I’m proud to join his team and support his vision for a fair economy and a government that works for everyone.”
Friday, Sept. 1
R.I. House GOP leader Chippendale endorses Leonard for Congress
House Minority Leader Michael W. Chippendale, a Foster Republican, on Friday endorsed Gerry W. Leonard Jr. for the First Congressional District seat.
Leonard, a Jamestown resident who retired as a colonel after 30 years in the US Marine Corps, is facing Terri Flynn, a former Middletown Town Council member, in a Tuesday’s Republican primary.
“Thirty years in the Marine Corps, and his private sector experience has provided Colonel Leonard with the experience we need in D.C.,” Chippendale said. “At a time when leadership is lacking in Washington, let’s elect a real leader to represent Rhode Island.”
Leonard said he is proud to receive Chippendale’s support.
“During his time in the legislature, he has fought to make the Ocean State a more affordable place for working families,” Leonard said. “I am running for Congress to bring common sense solutions and much needed relief to Rhode Islanders.”
R.I. Board of Elections spells out vote counting process for primary
The state Board of Elections will follow this timeline when tallying primary votes and reporting the results next week.
Ballots cast in person at polling places on Tuesday will be will be encrypted and securely transmitted from polling places to the Board of Elections when polls close, and results will be available on the Board of Elections’ website — elections.ri.gov — on Tuesday beginning at 8 p.m.
Early voting results will be transmitted by local Boards of Canvassers on Tuesday, and will be available on the Board of Elections’ website beginning at 8 p.m. Due to the Monday holiday, early voting locations will be open on Tuesday until 4 p.m.
The elections board expects to count most mail ballots by Tuesday, and those results will be available on the Board of Elections website Tuesday after 8 p.m. However, ballots placed in election drop boxes at city and town halls or polling places will still need to be counted. Drop box ballots are sealed in envelopes and held in secure and sealed containers by the local Board of Canvassers and delivered to the Board of Elections on Wednesday, the board of elections says.
On Wednesday and Thursday
Remaining drop box ballots and any still uncounted mail ballots will be added to the mail ballots totals and the Board of Elections website. Any precinct’s results that failed to transmit on Tuesday night because of technical issues will be added to Special Primary Election Day results on the Board of elections website.
Provisional ballot results will be added to polling place results and available on the Board of Elections website.
Deficient mail ballots cured by voters are due to the Board of Elections by Friday. The board says those will be added to the mail ballot results and made available on the Board of Elections website prior to certification of the primary results.
Friday, Sept. 1
11 Republican committees endorse Leonard for Congress in R.I.
Republican congressional candidate Gerry W. Leonard Jr. announced he has been endorsed by 11 city and town Republican committees.
Leonard, a Jamestown resident who retired as a colonel after 30 years in the US Marine Corps, is facing Terri Flynn, a former Middletown Town Council member, in a Sept. 5 Republican primary.
He received endorsements from the GOP committees in Barrington, Cumberland, East Providence, Jamestown, Lincoln, Little Compton, Pawtucket, Smithfield, Tiverton, Warren, and Woonsocket.
“We are very excited to have such a qualified candidate who dedicated his life defending our Constitution running for US Congress, " said Nathan Luciano, chairman of the Pawtucket City Republican Committee.
“After three decades of service protecting America abroad in the Marine Corps with distinction, Gerry Leonard has embarked on a new mission: to serve Rhode Island as our Congressman. Gerry will bring integrity and principles back to politics,” said Allyn Meyers, chairman of the Tiverton Town Republican Committee.
Leonard said he appreciates the support those city and town Republican committees. “They have all been extremely helpful with knocking doors, phone banking and spreading awareness about my campaign directly to voters,” he said. “I admire the work that city and town chairs have done to build their committees. I appreciate the work they’re doing supporting my campaign for Congress.”
Thursday, Aug. 31
How Rhode Islanders can vote in Tuesday’s primaries
Secretary of State Gregg M. Amore on Thursday reminded voters of how they can cast their ballot in the final days leading up to Tuesday’s primaries in the First Congressional District, state Senate District 1, and Foster Town Council races.
- Early voting is ongoing. Voters can find the early voting locations and hours in their communities using the Department of State’s website. Polling places are closed on Monday in observance of Labor Day.
- Voters who are voting by mail ballot and have not yet returned their ballot should plan to do so by dropping off their ballot at a secure elections drop box or polling place. Mail ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Voters can find their nearest secure elections drop box by using the Drop Box Locator tool on the Department of State website.
- Voters planning to vote at their polling place on Tuesday can look up their polling place online by viewing their voter record on the Department of State website. All in-person voters, whether early or on special primary day, must bring an acceptable photo ID.
To determine if you have a special election in your community, find your polling place, or preview a sample ballot, visit vote.ri.gov.
Voters with additional questions should contact the Department of State Elections Division at (401) 222-2340.
Thursday, Aug. 31
R.I. Senate Minority Leader De la Cruz endorses Leonard for Congress
State Senate Minority Leader Jessica de la Cruz, a North Smithfield Republican, on Thursday endorsed Gerry W. Leonard Jr. in the First Congressional District race.
Leonard, a Jamestown resident who retired as a colonel after 30 years in the US Marine Corps, is facing Terri Flynn, a former Middletown Town Council member, in a Sept. 5 Republican primary.
“Gerry, much like myself, is a political newcomer and was willing to step in and run for Congress to bring common sense solutions to D.C.” de la Cruz said. “Voters in Congressional District One have a unique opportunity of sending someone with leadership, integrity, and experience to Congress. That is why I am supporting Gerry’s campaign for Congress.”
Leonard said he is thankful for de la Cruz’s support. “She is someone who works tirelessly to represent all constituents across Rhode Island and is never afraid to stand up for things she believes in on Smith Hill,” he said.
Wednesday, Aug. 30
Four Newport leaders endorse Cano for Congress in R.I.
Four current or former Newport leaders on Wednesday endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.
Newport School Committee members Stephanie Winslow and Kendra Meunter, former School Committee member Aida Neary, and former mayor and City Council member Jamie Bova announced their support for Cano, who is one of 11 Democrats running in the Sept. 5 primary.
Winslow said, “Sandra’s lived experiences would be an invaluable addition to the US Congress. She radiates energy, compassion, and a genuine desire to contribute to our country’s success. Thanks to her decade of service in local and state office, Sandra has honed exceptional skills in governance and legislation while remaining deeply rooted in her community and committed to serving her constituents. Across the country, public schools are under attack. Sandra has tremendous faith in education, and has demonstrated that she will always put students first. She will be a fierce defender against culture wars and book bans — and she will champion the right to an education that prioritizes critical thinking, tolerance, and truth.”
Meunter said, “Sandra’s energy and drive to help people drew me in right from the start. Everything Sandra has done has been for the betterment of the people of Rhode Island. Sandra inspires great confidence that she will represent us faithfully in Congress, with the same drive and determination she has brought to her work throughout the previous decade.”
Neary said, “I am (on) team Sandra because from the beginning of her political career she has always focused on the most vulnerable citizens among us: children. For more than a decade, she has consistently focused her work on those who are most vulnerable and those without voices or seats at the table. Sandra has proven herself to be a champion for the people of her district, with real compassion and a meaningful focus on equity and justice.”
Bova said, “I support Sandra because she has the experience, intelligence, and work ethic needed to accomplish what needs to be done in Washington. Sandra knows the challenges of working families and understands the support that Rhode Islanders need to be successful. I joined Team Sandra because I have seen her in action, and never once has she wavered in her dedication and commitment to our residents. She has what it takes to be successful for Rhode Island and will do the work that needs to be done. I look forward to seeing Sandra as our next Congressperson.”
Wednesday, Aug. 30
East Bay Newspapers endorses Amo for Congress in R.I.
The East Bay Newspapers editorial board on Wednesday endorsed Gabe Amo in the First Congressional District race.
The editorial says the board met with four of the 12 Democratic candidates — Amo, Sandra Cano, Walter Berbrick, and Don Carlson, who dropped out of the race on Sunday following a WPRI-12 investigation into messages he sent to a former student.
East Bay Newspapers includes the Barrington Times, Bristol Phoenix, East Providence, Portsmouth Times, Sakonnet Times, and Warren Times Gazette. The endorsement comes less than a week before the Sept. 5 primary.
The editorial says Amo has spent most of his adult life in government and politics, serving on multiple campaigns and working for former president Barack Obama, President Joe Biden, and former governor Gina Raimondo. Until the campaign, he was deputy director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and special assistant to Biden.
“Amo’s command of the issues, knowledge of the political arena, and experiences in both government and leadership are outstanding,” the editorial said. “Beyond that, he is a likable, well-spoken and polished communicator, with a practical sense of the world. He is not likely to get stuck in an ideological stalemate if a compromise is best for the nation, or Rhode Island.”
Monday, Aug. 28
Clean Water Action endorses Bissaillon for R.I. Senate
Clean Water Action on Monday endorsed Jake Bissaillon in the Sept. 5 Democratic primary for the state Senate District 1 seat.
Bissaillon, chief of staff to Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, is one of four Democrats running for the seat left vacant after the death of Senate Majority Leader Maryellen Goodwin, a Providence Democrat.
“Jake understands the importance of clean water and addressing climate change,” said Jed Thorp, state director of Clean Water Action. “He’s proven during his time as a Senate staffer that he knows how to work with others to move important environmental legislation, and we look forward to him leading on these issues as a state Senator.”
Clean Water Action represents thousands of Rhode Islanders across the state, including many in District 1 (Smith Hill, Elmhurst, and the North End of Providence).
Bissaillon is running against state Representative Nathan Biah; Mario Mancebo, who has run for state Senate twice before; and Michelle Rivera, policy director at Progreso Latino.
Sunday, Aug. 27
Sanders rallies support for Regunberg in Providence
US Senator Bernie Sanders blasted corporate greed and demanded action on climate change as he rallied support for J. Aaron Regunberg in the First Congressional District race during a speech Sunday at the Columbus Theatre in Providence.
“Now is the time for a political revolution — of working families coming together telling the people on top this country belongs to all of us,” Sanders said. “Elect Aaron, and we are going to take a strong step forward in doing just that.”
Regunberg is one of 12 Democrats running in the Sept. 5 Democratic primary. Sanders, the progressive icon who beat Hillary Clinton the 2016 Democratic presidential primary in Rhode Island, endorsed Regunberg on July 27.
On Sunday, he spoke to about 650 supporters during an event that also included Vanessa Carlton, the singer/songwriter who produced the 2002 hit “A Thousand Miles,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, state Representatives Cherie L. Cruz and Leonela Felix, and Providence City Council member Sue AnderBois.
During his speech, Sanders called for addressing income inequality, passing “Medicare for All,” making public colleges and universities tuition free, and stepping up action to address climate change.
He said he’d just appeared on a TV show after a Republican had been arguing that climate change is essentially a fraud. “That type of discourse is not only pathetically stupid, it is incredibly dangerous,” he said. “Anybody who has eyes to see understands what climate changes is doing not only to this country but to the entire world.”
For example, Phoenix has had 31 straight days of 110 degrees, and his own state of Vermont just saw its worst flooding since 1927, with 4,000 homes and 800 businesses damaged, he said.
“In my view, this is not the moment for another cold war with China,” Sanders said. “This is not the time to increase military spending. This is the moment to bring the world together so we don’t continue to kill each other but we work together against the universal threat of climate change.”
Friday, Aug. 25
Waters responds to congressional candidate questions
Allen Waters, one of 12 Democrats running for Rhode Island’s First Congressional District seat, was not invited to the Aug. 17 debate sponsored by the Rhode Island Association of Democratic City and Town Chairs at Roger Williams University, but he provided the Globe with answers to some of the major questions asked during that event:
Q: Student loan borrowers will have to start payments again this fall. President Biden’s plan to forgive at least $10,000 per borrower was overturned by the Supreme Court, punting it to Congress. If you were in Congress would you propose to forgive student debt and if so how much?
Waters: As a US representative for Rhode Island Congressional District 1, I will not support the forgiveness of student loan debt as it would be unfair to residents of my district and the rest of Rhode Islanders who have already paid off their student loans, especially to those who worked hard after graduation and made the personal financial sacrifice to do so. At minimum, the principal amount borrowed must be paid back.
Relatedly, I am interested in getting the US government out of student lending altogether, as it is a key component to runaway college cost inflation well above the Consumer Price Index (CPI) commonly used as a broad measure of inflation. For many Rhode Islanders, the cost of a four-year college education is overpriced, and America must rethink higher education, not to be eliminated, but to be reset in terms of its cost and its benefit to a student’s human capital, the economic value of an employee’s skill set over a career.
Personally, I not only understand college cost inflation from reading about it, I have experienced above-average CPI rising costs as a father of five children and two freshman-year costs: In 1995, the “sticker price” of the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Mass.) was $25,802. In 2022, Pitzer College (Claremont, Calif.), recently sharing a tied ranking with Holy Cross at #33 for national liberal arts colleges was $85,000 (rounded), the difference of a liberal arts education costs in 27 years within my own family.
Federal law uses standardized testing as an accountability measure for K-12 education. In Rhode Island that is a test called the RICAS. Do you support keeping the standardized testing mandate in place, and if not what would you replace it with for education accountability?
Waters: I support keeping standardized testing in place. As a fourth-generation Black resident of Providence, R.I., and native, I am a K-12 graduate of Providence public schools (Classical High School, Class of 1973). As a fair and accurate measurement for all Rhode Island public school students of all economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, we must not loosen or adulterate academic standards, especially to benefit any one target group over another, just to pass them through the system. Generally, the liberals in power of the Rhode Island Democratic Party, the perennial ruling party, elected officials at the State House and the politically influential teachers’ unions, have especially failed to educate two-thirds or more of Black and Latino students to grade level. Seeking equity, part of Marxist terminology and ideology, is the current holy grail of education, never to be met. All students in Rhode Island must be provided a quality, equal education. I skipped second grade at Gilbert Stuart School because my mother, originally from Codding Court housing projects in Providence, spent time reading with me. Therefore, education always starts at home from content to attitude and appreciation of public education in a child’s future.
The US Department of Defense budget is more than 800 billion dollars. As you know, some of that money comes to Rhode Island where submarines are constructed at Quonset. According to a report recently sent out by Senator Jack Reed’s office, the defense sector in Rhode Island accounted for $7.6 billion in economic impact in 2022. If elected to Congress would you vote to increase or decrease defense spending and if you’d decrease it, how would you explain that to Rhode Islanders benefitting from the economic impact?
Waters: The primary role of the government is to defend the American people from both foreign and domestic threats. As America faces increasing military challenges from its global adversaries, the defense budget should not be cut and expanded as needed to fulfill its role. As the next congressman from Rhode Island Congressional District 1, one of my greatest concerns in terms of national defense is the wasteful spending. The Pentagon has never passed an audit and must be held accountable to do so. In addition, we must also find a way to reduce the revolving door of government employees, such as retired military officers, who then go to work for the very contractors that they were overseeing as they served America. I believe these military vendor relationships have a built-in corruption, although not necessarily illegal activity, that keeps America from receiving the lowest costs to keep our nation at defense readiness.
We’ve just experienced the hottest month in recorded human history. What is the one specific thing you would do in Congress to address climate change?
Waters: I prefer to not use the term “climate change” in my vernacular because it becomes a blanket term that is meaningful or meaningless based on the message trying to be conveyed, and every weather related or climate related phenomena too easily is related to it, not necessarily with any scientific evidence and the academic study that must go with it. Regarding global warming because of CO2 and other gases and the effects of humanity upon it, Congress must be careful by protecting the American people from the risks and harm that can come from focused renewable energy industrial policy and government centralized control in a free market economy, like incentivizing wind and solar power over other energy sources. One specific thing I would do in Congress is to encourage the regrowth of America’s nuclear power industry, a source of 24/7 clean energy power versus unreliable wind and solar power.
If you are elected in November, what is the first bill you’re going to introduce?
Waters: Thinking of the low-income and affordable housing crisis in Rhode Island, I am a long-term advocate of cooperative housing in which tenants do not own their specific units in which they live, but own common shares of corporation that owns the building(s) in which they live. The problem with just paying rent is that it only enriches the private and public landlords, but not the tenants. Co-op housing gives tenants ownership “skin the game” allowing them to increase financial equity as they pay down their mortgage to buy into the building. I would like to introduce legislation that facilitates the growth of co-op housing to benefit the people of Rhode Island and all Americans who are seeking a safe, secure and affordable home.
Thursday, Aug. 24
Dickinson responds to congressional candidate questions
PROVIDENCE — Spencer Dickinson, one of 12 Democrats running for Rhode Island’s First Congressional District seat, was not invited to the Aug. 17 debate sponsored by the Rhode Island Association of Democratic City and Town Chairs at Roger Williams University, but the former state representative provided the Globe with answers to some of the major questions asked during that event:
Q: Student loan borrowers will have to start payments again this fall. President Biden’s plan to forgive at least $10,000 per borrower was overturned by the Supreme Court, punting it to Congress. If you were in Congress would you propose to forgive student debt and if so how much?
Dickinson: Any experienced legislator knows that on a question that involves a huge budget item, as this one does, that the devil is in the details. And most of the other candidates don’t understand fiscal responsibility, or care more about giving away free stuff to get elected. In principle, yes, we need to look at it. While we’re at it, maybe we should look at the plumber’s $50,000 truck. Or the diesel mechanic’s $4,000 tool box.
And maybe a conscientious journalist might want to snoop around in the question of how we got into this jam in the first place. Go back on your time machine to the fundraiser where the bankers promised huge contributions to their favorite lawmakers. All they wanted was a chance to make bankruptcy-proof loans at huge non-competitive interest rates. That’s not much to ask, is it?
Federal law uses standardized testing as an accountability measure for K-12 education. In Rhode Island that is a test called the RICAS. Do you support keeping the standardized testing mandate in place, and if not what would you replace it with for education accountability?
Dickinson: Tests need to be reviewed often for academic level and cultural bias. But this is a competitive planet. We need metrics. Would you send a track coach out on the field without a stopwatch? I wouldn’t. Not unless I wanted to downgrade my country and lose the next war.
The US Department of Defense budget is more than $800 billion. As you know, some of that money comes to Rhode Island where submarines are constructed at Quonset. According to a report recently sent out by Senator Jack Reed’s office, the defense sector in Rhode Island accounted for $7.6 billion in economic impact in 2022. If elected to Congress, would you vote to increase or decrease defense spending, and if you’d decrease it, how would you explain that to Rhode Islanders benefitting from the economic impact?
Dickinson: Anyone who thinks or says they can answer this question without a lot of study is either dangerously naive or lying. It’s your tax dollar, and it’s my job to know that it’s being spent wisely. But I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to live in a world where somebody had the F-35 and we didn’t. I know a little bit about this stuff because I care. Buy me a coffee and ask me why China threatens Taiwan and then doesn’t do anything. Then ask me how many years we have. Somebody has to understand and supervise these things. Your Congress. It could be that your question is just the wrong question.
We’ve just experienced the hottest month in recorded human history. What is the one specific thing you would do in Congress to address climate change?
Dickinson: Climate change is real and dealing with it is a core value of the Democratic Party. Ask me where my heart is on this matter. Does it prove anything that I built the first solar-heated house in a cold climate, and installed the first heat pump?
If you are elected in November, what is the first bill you’re going to introduce?
Dickinson: This again may be an example of the wrong question. An inexperienced legislator thinks in terms of showbiz. That could be part of the reason Congress has a reputation for getting nothing done. Your first year is spent getting to know the guy in the next seat. And making sure your mic works. Your energy would be well spent getting to know the other 435, and buying them a coffee and learning what they need. And figuring out what (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and her friends are all about.
I will start right away to make a case for the new Dan Burton commission relocating to Providence. And getting a new set of specs for Mike Sabitoni and his people. The busier they are, the better our state, and the better the whole New England economy runs. With reference to effective (or just lucky) first-year legislators, you could track this down. The biggest act (other than the budget) that was passed in my first year was signed and introduced by a freshman legislator and it had only one signature. That never happens. Except it did. The signature was mine. Phil Noel might remember. This will be a tough research project. The “Mandela effect” may come into play here. Or other things that revise written history. Ask me for examples. I’m not making this up. And my pledge to my voters: I will never lie to you.
Thursday, Aug. 24
Barringtown Town Council member endorses Cano for Congress
Barrington Town Council member Braxton Howard Cloutier on Thursday endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.
Cloutier, who was elected to the Barrington Town Council in 2022, joins about 65 leaders and organizations that have endorsed Cano, one of 12 Democrats running in the Sept. 5 primary.
“I really appreciate Sandra’s inclusive approach to policy making,” Cloutier said. “Sandra will bring a much needed perspective to Congress that will benefit us all. She carries with her the stories of the people in Congressional District One and has her own lived-experience that informs her policy decisions. That’s what we need. I truly believe that Sandra is the best choice in this election.”
Cano said she is honored to have Cloutier’s support. “Councilman Cloutier’s energy, enthusiasm, and positive outlook are contagious,” she said. “Barrington residents are lucky to have such a thoughtful leader representing them on their council team.”
Thursday, Aug. 24
IBEW Local 99 endorses Matos for Congress in R.I.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 99 on Thursday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
IBEW represents workers in the electrical industry, including construction, gas and electric utilities, telecommunications, railroads, and government agencies.
“Sabina Matos is someone who works hard, gets things done, and always fights for working people. She knows what it takes to effect real change because she has done it for years,” said Joe Walsh, business manager of IBEW Local 99. “Plenty of candidates claim to care about our members when they are running for office and want our support, but Sabina has always been there for us. My members and I are proud to support Sabina because we trust her to lead on the issues that are important to everyday Rhode Islanders.”
Matos said she is grateful for the union’s endorsement. “I know the struggles that hard-working families in Rhode Island go through because I have gone through them myself,” she said. “This is a critical time in Washington, and Rhode Islanders deserve a leader in Congress who will stand up for their rights and protect the values that we hold dear.”
Wednesday, Aug. 23
R.I. Senator Zurier endorses Cano for Congress
State Senator Samuel D. Zurier, a Providence Democrat, on Wednesday endorsed Senator Sandra C. Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.
“Sandra is respected in the Rhode Island Senate for her deep understanding of policy and for her commitment to using her knowledge to introduce and advance important legislation that best serves the people of our state,” Zurier said. “I am confident that Sandra’s education, experience, character, and devotion to public service provide her a strong foundation to represent us effectively in Congress.”
Cano is one of 12 Democrats running in a Sept. 5 primary for the seat vacated by David N. Cicilline.
Zurier joins other East Side leaders in backing Cano such as state Representatives Edith H. Ajello and Rebecca Kislak, former state senator Gayle L. Goldin, and Senator Meghan Kallman, who represents Pawtucket and part of the East Side.
Cano said Zurier’s endorsement means a lot to her. “Sam is a thoughtful and deliberate leader and is very much in touch with his district and his voters,” she said. “He is a man of the people. I am proud to have earned his support.”
Wednesday, Aug. 23
Fraternal Order of Police endorses Casey for Congress
The Rhode Island State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police on Wednesday endorsed state Representative Stephen M. Casey in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
The FOP is the largest law enforcement labor organization in Rhode Island, representing 3,000 active and retired members. Casey, a Woonsocket firefighter, is one of 12 Democrats running in the Sept. 5 primary.
“Representative Casey sought our support early, and we feel he has earned it,” FOP President John Donley said. “He possesses valuable legislative and professional experience that will serve the State of Rhode Island well in Washington. Chairman Casey has served in the General Assembly for over 10 years and is an exceptional first responder, public servant, and problem solver.”
Casey said he is honored by the endorsement. “Law enforcement professionals play a crucial role in maintaining the safety and security of our communities and put their lives on the line every day,” he said. “I am dedicated to working hand in hand with them to ensure that Rhode Island remains a safe place for all its residents.”
Casey also has been endorsed by the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters locals, the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers, and the International Association of Fire Fighters.
Tuesday, Aug. 22
Warren Town Council president endorses Cano for Congress in R.I.
Warren Town Council President John W. Hanley on Tuesday endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano in the First Congressional District race.
Hanley is one of about 65 leaders and organizations that have endorsed Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat who is one of 12 candidates running in the Sept. 5 primary.
“Sandra is the one candidate who will go to Washington and represent all of our communities,” Hanley said. “We can trust Sandra to always tell us the truth and collaborate with everyone. She leads with honesty and integrity, and that’s what we need in Congress. I have worked closely with Sandra in many different circumstances. One thing is clear, she always puts the community first.”
Cano said, “John’s work ethic and leadership in both his professional and public service roles are exceptional. I am so grateful to John for his support and for believing in our campaign.”
Monday, Aug. 21
Goldin endorses Cano for Congress
Former state senator Gayle L. Goldin, a Providence Democrat, on Monday endorsed state Senator Sandra C. Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.
“Most of all for me, I know the political systems in this country protect the patriarchy,” Goldin said. “It is the courageous who can change that. I have seen Sandra’s courage front and center. I have seen her challenge the status quo. And I know her heart and her values mean she will keep her love for the people of Rhode Island in the forefront when she pushes for change in D.C.”
Goldin joins other East Side progressives such as Representatives Edith H. Ajello and Rebecca Kislak in supporting Cano, one of 12 Democrats running for the seat that David N. Cicilline vacated to lead the Rhode Island Foundation.
“Representation matters,” Goldin said. “I first met Sandra when she had just won her council seat in Pawtucket. She represented twice as many people as I did in the Senate, and I found her can-do spirit, her love for her constituents, and her thoughtful understanding of the issues facing her community to be inspiring. When the Pawtucket senate seat opened up, I – along with many others – reached out to Sandra and asked her to run. And I’m so glad she did.”
Goldin, who sponsored legislation to protect abortion rights in case Roe v. Wade was overturned, said, “While there were many issues Sandra and I worked on together, what will always stand out is how strong an advocate she is on reproductive rights – taking insults from everywhere, and still forging ahead.”
More than half a million people live in the First Congressional District, and more than half of them are women, Goldin said. “Nearly 20 percent of the district is foreign-born. About one third of the district are people of color,” she said. “Yet in the history of this state only one woman has ever represented Rhode Island – and that was in Congressional District Two.”
Also, Congress contains a handful of people that are immigrants, Goldin said of Cano, who was born in Colombia. “And yet they are the very people making decisions about the health, wellbeing, and future of our nation’s immigrant families,” she said.
Saturday, Aug. 19
Sanders to rally with Regunberg in Providence Aug. 27
US Senator Bernie Sanders will be in Rhode Island for an Aug. 27 rally with former state representative J. Aaron Regunberg, a Democratic candidate in the First Congressional District race.
Sanders and Regunberg will hold a get-out-the-vote rally at the Columbus Theatre in Providence. Doors open at noon. The rally will begin with an opening set from Rhode Island’s Vanessa Carlton, the singer/songwriter who produced the 2002 hit “A Thousand Miles.”
“Bernie Sanders is an American hero, and I’m excited to welcome him to Rhode Island for the rally of a lifetime,” Regunberg said. “Together, we’ll show that our work in delivering progress for Rhode Island and working people everywhere is just getting started.”
Regunberg is one of 12 Democrats running in the Sept. 5 Democratic primary. Sanders, the progressive icon who beat Hillary Clinton the 2016 Democratic presidential primary in Rhode Island, endorsed Regunberg on July 27.
Sanders and Regunberg will be joined by Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, state Representatives Cherie L. Cruz and Leonela Felix, Providence City Council member Sue AnderBois, and grassroots volunteers from across the district.
The rally will be free and open to the public, who can RSVP here.
Friday, Aug. 18
Three local officials endorse Amo for Congress
A Providence City Council member, an East Providence City Council member, and a Little Compton School Committee member on Friday endorsed Gabe Amo in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
Providence City Council member Jo-Ann Ryan said, “I trust Gabe to go to Washington and fight for the resources that the cities and towns of the First Congressional District need. He knows how Washington works, but also has deep Rhode Island values. I trust Gabe, and I know he will make a great congressman.”
East Providence City Council member Rick Lawson said, “I know that our communities face lots of challenges, but with Gabe’s leadership in Congress, I know that we will be in good hands in Washington. Gabe is the candidate I trust to replace Congressman Cicilline.”
Little Compton School Committee member Travis Auty said, “I know that Gabe will be a relentless champion for Rhode Island and for ensuring that every child across the First District has the resources they need to succeed, just like he did growing up in Pawtucket. Gabe is ready to deliver on day one for all of our communities, like Little Compton.”
Amo said he is grateful for their support. “I look forward to working alongside leaders at every level of government to fight for Rhode Island and protect Social Security and Medicare, prevent gun violence, and protect reproductive freedom and a woman’s right to choose,” he said.
Friday, Aug. 18
RI SEIU State Council endorses Bissaillon for Senate
The Rhode Island Service Employees International Union State Council is endorsing Jake Bissaillon for the state Senate District 1 race.
The SEIU State Council consists of four union locals in Rhode Island — Local 1199NE, 32BJ, Local 580 and Local 401 — and represents about 8,500 workers across the state, including health care, Department of Children Youth & Families, Department of Health and Human Services, janitorial, family child care, Department of Labor and Training, security, and workforce development.
“Jake was there when it mattered most for DHS/DCYF workers and Rhode Island’s most vulnerable,” said Matthew Gunnip, president of SEIU Local 580 and vice president of the RI SEIU State Council. “Whether supporting Senate oversight hearings that amplified those voices or helping craft legislation to ensure a more efficient process to fill frontline vacant positions, Jake was always there. Jake understands that effective workforce recruitment and retention is vital for our communities to access critical public services.”
Thursday, Aug. 17
Autiello endorses Matos for Congress in R.I.
Nick Autiello, a former Democratic First Congressional District candidate, on Thursday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in the special election to replace David N. Cicilline.
Autiello, a Providence Democrat, dropped out of the race on July 19 citing a lack of resources and the crowded field.
“Sabina is a strong leader who works hard to get things done for our state,” Autiello said. “Republicans in Congress are threatening the progress we’ve made — from reproductive and LGBTQ rights to Social Security and Medicare — and we need someone who has the right experience to be our voice in Washington: that’s Sabina Matos.”
Autiello noted he had released an internal poll in July that showed Matos leading with 20 percent of the vote, Regunberg at 12 percent, Sandra Cano at 7 percent, Gabe Amo at 6 percent, and Autiello at 5 percent.
“I’m supporting Sabina because I know she is the only person in this race who is ready to be Rhode Island’s next Member of Congress on day one,” he said. “She has proven that she knows how to deliver real progress for working families. She has already built impressive coalitions with Members of Congress, relationships that will help her continue to deliver for our state immediately. I’m looking forward to working hard to help her win this race because she is someone Rhode Islanders can trust to be our champion.”
Matos said she is grateful for Autiello’s support.
“He has a deep commitment to our state’s future and has been a leader in growing the clean energy economy and addressing the climate crisis across the globe,” she said. “Nick also knows personally what’s at stake in Congress right now — the freedoms we have worked so hard to achieve are under threat.”
Thursday, Aug. 17
Environmental groups endorse Regunberg for Congress in R.I.
Four environmental groups on Thursday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg in Rhode Island’s First Congressional race.
Food & Water Action, the Center for Biological Diversity Action, Oil Change U.S., and Friends of the Earth announced their support for Regunberg, a Providence Democrat.
“Aaron is a climate leader who has gone toe-to-toe with the fossil fuel industry in Rhode Island for years,” said Sam Bernhardt, political director of Food & Water Action. “We will work hard to get Aaron elected so he can represent his constituents and this critical movement against fossil fuels in the halls of Congress.”
Stephanie Kurose, Northeast political director of the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, said, “Aaron Regunberg cares deeply about solving the issues of eastern Rhode Island communities, from fighting for environmental justice to confronting the climate emergency. He’s exactly the type of bold, progressive leader we need in Congress and we’re honored to endorse him.”
Ariel Moger, government and political affairs director of Friends of the Earth Action, said, “We are thrilled to endorse Aaron Regunberg for Congress. Aaron is no stranger to holding Big Oil accountable and is not afraid to take much-needed urgent action to address the climate crisis. Rhode Islanders can count on Aaron to be a bold environmental champion and we urge them to support him this September.”
And Allie Rosenbluth, of Oil Change U.S., said, “As communities across the country experience devastating impacts of climate change and the United States remains world’s the largest expander of oil and gas, it’s clear we need more leaders in congress ready to take on the fossil fuel industry. Oil Change U.S. is excited to endorse Aaron Regunberg, who has the experience and commitment to bold climate action Rhode Island and the country needs.”
Thursday, Aug. 17
Former state Rep. Finn endorses Cano for Congress in R.I.
Linda Finn, a former state representative and gun safety advocate, on Thursday endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.
Finn, a Middletown Democrat, served in the House from 2013 to 2014. She is a former executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence.
“Sandra’s dedication to preventing gun violence is unwavering because it has touched her family when her father was shot when she was a little girl,” Finn said. “Since she was elected to the state Senate in 2018, she always stood with us in the fight to prevent gun violence. Sandra was a part of the movement that led to the passage of some of the strongest gun safety laws in the country. We can trust her to be one of the strongest advocates for an assault weapons ban in Congress.”
Cano said she was honored to received Finn’s endorsement, “Linda Finn has been an amazing advocate in the fight for gun safety in our state,” she said. “Her fearless leadership has always been inspiring.”
Wednesday, Aug. 16
Federation of Teachers endorses Cano for Congress in R.I.
The Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals on Wednesday endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
“For more than a decade, Senator Cano has supported our causes at both the local and state levels as a member of the Pawtucket School Committee, the Pawtucket City Council, and the Rhode Island General Assembly,” union President Frank Flynn said. “She has been a staunch advocate for our members and the constituents they serve. She has been an outspoken supporter of children, working families, and the elderly.”
With 12,000 members, the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals plans to run a comprehensive member outreach plan including direct mail, phones, and door-to-door canvassing to help Cano get out the vote.
As a member of Congress, Cano would “continue to fight to improve public education, eliminate student debt, support direct care workers in the developmentally disabled community, provide greater access to health care services for our elderly and infirm, protect Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP benefits, support common sense gun reform legislation, and to help grow our economy and create jobs,” Flynn said.
Wednesday, Aug. 16
Bunnell running for R.I. House District 9 seat
Democrat Lesley Bunnell on Wednesday announced her candidacy for the state House of Representatives District 9 seat now held by Representative Enrique Sanchez, a Providence Democrat.
District 9 includes the Armory, Manton, Mount Pleasant, Olneyville, and West End neighborhoods. The next House election is in 2024.
Since 2013, Bunnell has helped lead the efforts of the state’s Armory Reuse Plan, advocating for the preservation and restoration of the Cranston Street Armory, and she said she decided to run for office after seeing those plans founder. In July, Governor Daniel J. McKee’s administration terminated its contract with Scout Ltd., the Philadelphia-based developer that submitted plans to redevelop the historic armory.
“For almost eight years, I was on the team of volunteers who worked to select a developer for the Armory project,” Bunnell said. “To see all of our work undone compelled me to run for public office. We need elected representation that actually represents our concerns and fights to make things better. I will bring that kind of representation every single day, if elected.”
A graduate of Oberlin College, Bunnell works as a grant writer and communications manager. She serves on the board of Planned Parenthood Rhode Island and the House District 9 Committee. This is her first run for public office.
“My story is very similar to that of many of my neighbors: I moved to Providence almost 17 years ago in search of a better life for my daughter and myself,” Bunnell said. “Being a single mom, there were many times I relied on support from my community to get by. Now, I want to give back. I’m running to fight for every single resident of District 9: to make sure my neighbors have access to great job opportunities, children can receive a quality public school education, and families can feel safe.”
Tuesday, Aug. 15
United Auto Workers RI endorse Amo for Congress
The United Auto Workers Rhode Island Community Action Program Council on Tuesday endorsed Gabe Amo in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
UAW members in Rhode Island work in a variety of industries like gaming and manufacturing, including at Electric Boat, Foxwoods, and Twin River Tiverton.
“Gabe has the background and experience to fight for workers and unions in Congress as our representative from Rhode Island,” said Dave Sherman, vice chair of the UAW’s Rhode Island CAP Council and member of UAW Local 2121, which represents workers at Foxwoods Resort and Casino. “As Rhode Islanders and union members, we are proud to support his run for Congress.”
Amo said he is honored to have the union’s endorsement. “I have honored and respected hard-working people my entire life, starting at home with my parents,” he said.
He said that in Congress he would champion priorities of the United Auto Workers such as the PRO Act to expand worker and union protections, the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe v. Wade, and historic voting rights legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
“I am excited to work alongside the UAW to pass the PRO Act, fight for our democracy, and defend against extreme Republican attacks on programs like Social Security and Medicare,” Amo said. “When we have strong labor unions, our country is better off. I look forward to working alongside unions, including the UAW, as the next congressperson from Rhode Island.”
Tuesday, Aug. 15
Lincoln Democrats endorse Cano for Congress
The Lincoln Democratic Town Committee on Tuesday announced its endorsement of state Senator Sandra Cano in the First Congressional District race.
The Lincoln Democrats are the third Democratic town committee to back Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat.
“She has been an advocate for her hometown community of Pawtucket, and all Rhode Islanders, for many years and will continue to be a strong advocate for them in the US Congress,” Lincoln Democratic Town Committee Chairperson Cameron Deutsch said. “Throughout her time in public service, she has fostered relationships with local leaders and members of communities across the state to understand how to best advocate for their needs, and Senator Cano will continue to do so at the federal level.
He said her responses to a survey from the committee showed a strong commitment “fight the influence of the wealthy on Capitol Hill and make government work for the people.”
“In Congress, she will fight hard to bring down healthcare costs, preserve our clean air and clean water, improve our democratic institutions, and more,” Deutsch said. “We are excited to work more with her and spread the word to vote to send Sandra Cano to Congress on or before September 5.”
Cano said she was excited to have the committee’s endorsement. “They are organized and thoughtful,” she said, “and I am ready to get to work with them as we begin voting this week.”
Tuesday, Aug. 15
R.I. Senate President Ruggerio endorses Cano for Congress
Rhode Island Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio on Tuesday endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano in the First Congressional District race.
Ruggerio, a North Providence Democrat, is one of 55 individuals and organizations who have endorsed Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat.
“I have been tremendously impressed by Sandra Cano during her time in the state Senate, which is why I asked her to serve in one of our most vital leadership roles — as chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee,” Ruggerio said. “Sandra is thoughtful and compassionate, and she has demonstrated the ability to bring diverse groups together to deliver results, even on some of the most difficult challenges facing our state.”
He said she has worked on issues ranging from increasing support for minority-owned businesses to ensuring a complete census count, and from analyzing the state budget as part of the Senate Finance Committee to expanding access to quality child care.
“As chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, Sandra has worked to close achievement gaps, increase mental health supports, improve financial literacy and civics education, and improve access to education and quality of education at all levels. She has been a star for us in the state Senate, and she will make a great congresswoman,” Ruggerio said.
Cano said she was honored to have Ruggerio’s support. “He has prioritized student mental health, child care, and civics education, and has shown that by working together we can make substantive policy work for people,” she said. “I look forward to working with him in these final weeks of the election to get out the vote.”
Monday, Aug. 14
Ajello backs Cano to replace Cicilline in Congress
State Representative Edith Ajello endorsed Pawtucket Senator Sandra Cano on Monday for the special election in the First Congressional District.
Ajello, a longtime lawmaker from the East Side of Providence, cited Cano’s immigration story where she “came to Rhode Island under political asylum as a teen speaking no English,” along with her legislative accomplishments.
“Sandra’s approach to advocacy on gun safety, immigration reform, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, climate action, and access to affordable housing is rooted in building effective coalitions to make substantive change that benefits everyone,” Ajello said.
Cano has been endorsed by progressive lawmakers such as state Representatives Karen Alzate and Rebecca Kislak, along with state Senator Sam Bell. She also has more moderate Democrats backing her run, including Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien and North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi.
She has union backing from the United Nurses and Allied Professionals and National Education Association Rhode Island.
The Democratic primary is on Sept. 5.
- Steph Machado
Monday, Aug. 14
Senator Tiara Mack endorses Regunberg in First Congressional District race
Congressional candidate Aaron Regunberg picked up an endorsement Monday from progressive state Senator Tiara Mack, a Democrat from Providence.
“On environmental justice, housing access, abortion rights, and more, Aaron has organized with us, marched with us, and fought alongside us,” Mack said in a news release. “He stands with and for the people, and I’m proud to stand with him.”
Mack split with one of the Rhode Island Senate’s other prominent progressives, Senator Sam Bell, who previously endorsed Senator Sandra Cano for the open seat in the First Congressional District. A dozen Democrats and two Republicans are running.
While Rhode Island progressives have been divided in the race, Regunberg has the backing of the R.I. Working Families Party and has picked up endorsements from prominent left-wing leaders including Bernie Sanders.
The Democratic primary is on Sept. 5, but early voting starts on Wednesday of this week. Boston Globe reporters will moderate a Democratic primary debate at Roger Williams University on Thursday at 7 p.m.
- Steph Machado
Friday, Aug. 11
Leonard blasts Jane Fonda endorsement of Regunberg
Gerry W. Leonard Jr., a Republican candidate for Congress, on Friday criticized Jane Fonda’s recent endorsement of Democrat J. Aaron Regunberg in the First Congressional District race.
“I served our country for three decades in places like Kuwait, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan and have seen the ramifications of war,” Leonard in a press conference held at Memorial Park in Providence.
Leonard, a Jamestown resident and former US Marine Corps officer, said, “As a veteran, I find it reprehensible that one of my opponents would accept her endorsement. This is a slap to the face of every veteran and every veteran family who have sacrificed so much for our country. Jane Fonda’s actions during the Vietnam War placed the lives of countless service members in danger.”
In July, the Jane Fonda Climate PAC endorsed Regunberg. The actress and activist founded the national political action committee to help defeat fossil fuel-backed politicians and elect “climate champions.” Fonda will appear in a new TV ad urging Rhode Island voters to support Regunberg in the Sept. 5 Democrat primary.
“We need leaders in Washington, D.C., who understand the decisions they make and the votes they take have consequences on the lives of American families,” Leonard said. “I decided to run for Congress because I am concerned about the direction our state and country are headed.”
In response, Regunberg campaign spokesperson Matt DaSilva said, “Jane Fonda is a leader in the fight for climate justice and our campaign is proud to have her support. Republicans love to try to distract from the fact that their party continues to break our country’s promises to its veterans by underfunding and privatizing services.”
DaSilva said Republicans are attacking Regunberg because they know he’s the strongest candidate in the race “to stand up for our Democratic values.” He said, “In Congress, Aaron will fight to fully fund the VA with the staff and infrastructure needed to provide the benefits our nation’s veterans earned and deserve.”
Friday, Aug. 11
Young Democrats RI PAC endorses Bissaillon for state Senate
The Young Democrats Rhode Island PAC on Friday endorsed Jake Bissaillon in the state Senate District 1 race.
Bissaillon, chief of staff to Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, is one of four Democrats running in a Sept. 5 primary for the seat left vacant after the death of Senate Majority Leader Maryellen Goodwin.
“Jake has been a tireless public servant, and the Young Democrats of Rhode Island are proud to support Jake in his campaign,” said Mary-Murphy Walsh, president of the Young Democrats of Rhode Island PAC.
“Jake has demonstrated he will be a fierce advocate for the residents of his district,” she said. “The board members of the Young Democrats of Rhode Island know Jake will be an advocate towards protecting workers’ rights, fight for affordable housing in his district and throughout the state, while working towards protecting citizens against gun violence.”
Thursday, Aug. 10
Walsh elected president of Young Democrats R.I. PAC
Mary-Murphy Walsh has been elected president of the Young Democrats Rhode Island PAC, succeeding Sam Ackerman, the group announced Thursday.
The new leadership team includes Anthony Cherry, who has been elected vice president, and Robert Craven Jr., who will remain secretary-treasurer.
Ackerman stepped down earlier this week as he transitions to a role as a judicial law clerk on the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
“I’m so proud of the YDRI team,” Ackerman said. “From developing and advocating for youth-empowering legislation to supporting students speaking out against anti-LGBTQ proposals to helping to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, the Young Democrats are back and in excellent hands under the leadership of Mary-Murphy Walsh and Anthony Cherry.”
Walsh said, “Sam did an excellent job reviving and shepherding the Young Democrats through an exciting first year. His leadership will be sorely missed. I know this new leadership team will work on expanding our presence in Rhode Island, through helping elect Democrats, while championing our organization’s legislative priorities next year, and organizing young people across the state.”
Thursday, Aug. 10
SEIU State Council won’t endorse in R.I. congressional race
The Rhode Island SEIU State Council, which can be a force in Rhode Island campaigns, on Thursday announced it will not endorse a candidate in the First Congressional District race.
Twelve Democrats are running in the Sept. 5 primary for the seat that David N. Cicilline vacated on June 1 to lead the Rhode Island Foundation.
“This year, the field of candidates running for Congressional District 1 contains many qualified individuals, each with impressive accomplishments and contributions to make Rhode Island´s future better,” said Jesse Martin, president of the SEIU State Council. “At this time, the Rhode Island SEIU State Council will not be offering our endorsement to one specific candidate. Instead, we are encouraging everyone to vote in this election, as there are many candidates who will do a great job representing Rhode Islanders in Washington.”
The SEIU State Council consists of four union locals in Rhode Island — Local 1199NE, 32BJ, Local 580 and Local 401. It represents about 8,500 workers across the state, including healthcare, Department of Children Youth & Families, janitorial, family child care, Department of Labor and Training, security, and workforce development.
Meanwhile, the Rhode Island Democratic Party is not endorsing a candidate in the primary, and Patrick Crowley, secretary-treasurer of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, has said it’s looking like the labor organization will not make an endorsement in the special election because a two-thirds majority is required to back a candidate.
Thursday, Aug. 10
US Representatives Casar and Ramirez endorse Regunberg for Congress in R.I.
Two progressive Latino Democrats — US Representatives Greg Casar of Austin, Texas, and Delia Ramirez of Chicago, Illinois — on Thursday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
Both are members of BOLD PAC and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Casar, the 34-year-old son of Mexican immigrants, was elected in 2022. A former Austin City Councilor and movement organizer, he led a fight to pass paid sick days legislation in Austin, as Regunberg did in Rhode Island. Chosen as whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, he recently held a thirst strike on the steps of the Capitol that successfully ramped up pressure on the Biden administration to pass a federal heat stress standard and take more urgent action on the climate crisis.
“We need a new generation of progressive leaders to make our Democratic Party the best version of itself that it can be,” Casar said. “Aaron Regunberg has been doing that in Rhode Island for years. He’s organized to win real change for working people, and he’s shown he’s not afraid to take on corporate power. I’m proud to endorse him, and can’t wait to work alongside him in Washington to advance our shared vision of a government that works for everyone.”
Ramirez, the daughter of working-class Guatemalan immigrants, is a longtime community leader and social service director who co-founded the Illinois House Progressive Caucus during her time as a state representative. In 2022, she became the first Latina congresswoman from the Midwest.
“I first met Aaron Regunberg in 2018 at the U.S.-Mexico border, where we were both involved in protesting Donald Trump’s inhumane immigration policies,” Ramirez said. “It was clear then that he cared deeply about immigrant justice, and I am looking forward to working with him in Washington. We need partners in Congress who will help us stand up for workers and immigrants, who will join our fights for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. Aaron is ready to help lead this work on day one, and I’m excited to endorse his campaign.”
Regunberg said he is honored to have their support. “Congressman Casar and Congresswoman Ramirez are incredible leaders who I’ve been looking up to for years,” he said. “They represent the future of the Democratic Party.”
Wednesday, Aug. 9
PAC backing Black women endorses Matos for Congress in R.I.
The Higher Heights for America PAC, a political action committee dedicated to electing more Black women to office, on Wednesday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
“Sabina is a remarkable leader whose dedication to public service and commitment to advancing equity and inclusion make her the ideal candidate,” said Glynda Carr, the PAC’s president and CEO. “Matos’ impressive track record in the nonprofit sector, her exemplary service on the Providence City Council, and her historic achievements as the first Black woman to hold statewide office in New England and the first Dominican American elected statewide in the United States demonstrate her unwavering passion for uplifting communities and creating positive change. I am confident that Matos’s leadership, integrity, and vision will make her an invaluable asset in shaping a brighter future for Rhode Island and beyond.”
Matos said she is proud to have the group’s support.
“With our reproductive rights under attack, our democracy at risk, and guns in our schools, their mission is more critical than ever,” she said. “I’ve led on the issues facing Rhode Island families for more than a decade, and I’m ready to put my experience to work for our state in Congress. With Higher Heights’ support, we’re continuing to build a broad coalition that has the strength to win this election.”
Tuesday, Aug. 8
Save Democracy PAC endorses Matos amid probe of nomination papers
The Save Democracy PAC — a political action committee “dedicated to confronting and defeating Republican extremism by electing strong democratic leaders who will protect our right to vote, ensure the security of our elections, and reform our broken campaign finance system” — on Tuesday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
The endorsement comes amid a criminal investigation into Matos’ nominations forms. At least three communities — Jamestown, Newport and East Providence — have reported suspect nomination signatures submitted for her campaign, including forms bearing the names of dead people. Matos has said a vendor hired to collect signatures “engaged in a widespread and outrageous attempt to defraud my campaign.”
And the endorsement comes hours before the state Board of Elections is scheduled to meet to “discuss the ongoing investigation in connection with the nomination papers submitted on behalf of” Matos. The board “may vote to commence further investigatory actions in this matter,” according to the agenda.
Ben Waldon, a member of the Save Democracy PAC board, backed Matos, saying, “Throughout her career, Sabina has been a champion for strengthening our democracy and protecting access to the ballot box. Voters can trust in Sabina Matos to continue standing up for the right to vote and our democracy when she’s in Congress. With all that’s at stake in Washington, we need people with Sabina’s life experience and record of leadership leading in these fights for the future of our country.”
In her first campaign ad, Matos highlighted threats to democracy as a key motivator for her running for Congress.
“I immigrated to the United States as a young woman in pursuit of the American Dream which is only possible if our democracy is strong,” she said. ”I couldn’t believe what I saw on January 6th as rioters attacked our nation’s capital — it’s critical that we have leaders in Congress who will stand up against these assaults on our freedoms. We must work to strengthen our democracy, not tear it down. That’s why I strongly supported the Let RI Vote Act here in Rhode Island. In Congress, I’ll work to expand access to the ballot box and ensure we protect everyone’s right to vote.”
Tuesday, Aug. 8
Cumberland Democrats back Cano for Congress in R.I.
The Cumberland Democratic Committee and Cumberland Mayor Jeff Mutter are endorsing state Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in the First Congressional District race, her campaign announced Tuesday.
The committee met this past weekend to hear from candidates and the “overwhelming” majority voted to back Cano. Town Committee Chairman Thomas Kane said, “It was important to me as chair to make sure there was a clear and transparent process and that all the candidates were able to make their case to our members. After the committee voted, it was clear that Sandra had strong support from the members of our committee, which was evident in the overwhelming results of our endorsement.”
Mutter backed Cano, saying, “I trust Sandra to remain fully rooted in the community and to not only represent us with integrity in Congress, but to operate within the framework of a true local-federal partnership. She’s served in local government, has been a municipal employee, and she understands the potential of local partnership with Congress. One thing we can count on with Sandra is that she won’t turn her back on us.”
Council member Bob Shaw said: “As a community member, local government employee and mother, Sandra values our public open spaces and knows how critical it is to maintain funding for recreation programs. I want to see someone in Congress that’s connected to the community at the local level and understands how collaboration across levels of government can be built to support everyday Rhode Islanders.”
Council member Lisa Beaulieu said: “There is no stronger advocate for students and schools than Sandra Cano. From starting her public service career on school committee to now serving as the chair of the Senate Education Committee for the State of Rhode Island, she’s consistently prioritized Rhode Island students throughout her time as a legislator.”
School Committee member Mark Fiorillo said: “When I first met Sandra years ago, I was struck by her intelligence, her knowledge of schools and education issues, her commitment to community, and her deep care for people. She stands up for lower income, multilingual, undocumented, and LGBTQ+ students and their families with a real focus on equity across all that she does.”
Former council member Stephanie Gemski said: “Sandra understands the importance of supporting small businesses and local economies. She’s dedicated a lot of time and effort to economic revitalization throughout the Blackstone Valley, and we’ve really benefited from that work here in Cumberland.”
Former council president Jim Higgins said: “Across the country and even here at home, LGBTQ+ Americans have been systematically under attack. It’s vital that we send someone to Congress who understands what it means to be of a marginalized community and who will stand strong for rights, protections and equality. Sandra has a demonstrated track record of championing all marginalized voices at the local and state levels, and I know she’ll do the same in Congress.”
Cano said she is thankful for the endorsements. “As the saying goes, all politics is local,” she said. “I am so honored to have received support from so many local leaders across the state.”
Monday, Aug. 7
BLM RI PAC hosting state Senate District 1 debate
The Black Lives Matter Rhode Island Political Action Committee will host a debate in the state Senate District 1 race on Wednesday.
This event will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Smith Hill Library, 31 Candace St., in Providence.
The debate is expected to include all four Democrats who have declared their candidacies: state Representative Nathan Biah; Jake Bissaillon, chief of staff to Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio; Mario Mancebo, who has run for state Senate twice before; and Michelle Rivera, policy director at Progreso Latino.
And it is expected to include the one Republican candidate, Niyoka Powell, second vice chairwoman of the Rhode Island Republican Party.
The Black Lives Matter RI PAC just hosted a debate on Friday, at the Providence Public Library, that included eight of the Democratic candidates for the First Congressional District seat.
Friday, Aug. 4
National Education Association RI PAC endorses Bissaillon for state Senate
The National Education Association Rhode Island Political Action Committee for Education on Friday endorsed Jake Bissaillon in the state Senate District 1 race.
Bissaillon, chief of staff to Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, is facing three other Democrats in a Sept. 5 primary for the seat left vacant after the death of Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin.
“Jake Bissaillon is a powerful voice for public education in Rhode Island and our members are confident that as a State Senator he will fight for better funding for public education from Pre-Kindergarten through college,” said NEARI President Valarie J. Lawson, a Democratic state senator from East Providence, “He is the son of teachers and knows the struggles that working Rhode Islanders face every day. We are proud to encourage our members to support Jake in the primary election and look forward to him serving in the General Assembly.”
The National Education Association Rhode Island has nearly 12,000 members, including classroom teachers, education support professionals, higher education faculty, staff, graduate students, municipal and state workers, and retirees.
Bissaillon said he is honored to have the union’s support.
“Raised by educators, I have witnessed firsthand the importance of paying our teachers a good wage, empowering them in the classroom, and providing them with the necessary tools and resources to educate our children,” he said. “I will be a loud and proud advocate for our working Rhode Islanders, especially our teachers and education support professionals, and I will fight tirelessly for the right to an equal and equitable education for our children regardless of their ZIP code.”
Friday, Aug. 4
Social Enterprise Greenhouse co-hosting candidate forum Tuesday
Democratic candidates in the First Congressional District race will take part in a forum co-hosted by the Social Enterprise Greenhouse on Tuesday.
The event will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Social Enterprise Greenhouse’s Hub, at 10 Davol Sqaure in the Providence Jewelry District, and it will be co-hosted by the Rhode Island Black Business Association, Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hope & Main, and the Center for Southeast Asians.
The forum will focus on economic development, entrepreneurship, issues impacting small businesses and social impact ventures — especially those led by women, people of color, and other individuals who often face barriers to start or grow a business.
The forum will be moderated by SEG’s Chief Executive Officer Julie Owens and Lisa Ranglin, executive director the the Rhode Island Black Business Association. The candidates who have agreed to participate in the forum are Gabe Amo, Stephanie Beauté, Walter Berbrick, Sandra Cano, Don Carlson, Stephen Casey, John Goncalves, Sabina Matos, Ana Quezada, and Aaron Regunberg.
The public is invited to attend. The Social Enterprise Greenhouse will livestream the forum on its Facebook page beginning at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for networking. Event registration available here.
Friday, Aug. 4
R.I. AFL-CIO endorses Bissaillon for state Senate
The Rhode Island AFL-CIO on Friday endorsed Jake Bissaillon in the state Senate District 1 race.
Bissaillon, chief of staff to Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, is facing three other Democrats in a Sept. 5 primary for the seat left vacant after the death of Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin.
“Jake Bissaillon is the best candidate to represent working people in the Democratic Primary in this special election,” Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee said. “He has dedicated his life to public services, working for government at both the municipal and state level. Our affiliated unions know that Jake will be a strong advocate for issues that affect all Rhode Islanders, especially on issues like their rights on the job, the need to develop more affordable housing, and ensuring workers’ voices are heard in our transition to a carbon-free economy.”
The AFL-CIO will engage in member-to-member efforts to support Bissaillon during the remainder of the campaign. The Rhode Island AFL-CIO represents more than 275 affiliated local unions, collectively representing 80,000 union members across the state.
Bissaillon said, “I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, a movement that I have proudly worked with to raise wages, protect the right to organize, and improve working conditions throughout our state. Growing up in a household of union members and educators, I have seen with my own eyes the challenges that working families endure. I promise to carry their stories, hopes, and aspirations with me to the floor of the Rhode Island Senate, where I will be a loud and proud advocate for the rights and well-being of every working Rhode Islander.”
Thursday, Aug. 3
US Rep. Huffman endorses Regunberg for Congress
US Representative Jared Huffman, a California Democrat, on Thursday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
Huffman said he was excited to support Regunberg, a Providence Democrat endorsed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, in the race to replace David N. Cicilline, who stepped down June 1 to lead the Rhode Island Foundation.
“On all the issues I have fought for during my time in Congress — from climate, to the environment, to the defense of our democracy — Aaron Regunberg has the strongest record,” Huffman said. “He knows how to organize and win real legislative change, and I can’t wait to work with him on these critical issues once he is elected.”
Regunberg said, “Congressman Jared Huffman has been a leader in the fights to defend our democracy against MAGA Republicans, including on the critical issue of separation of church and state. We have a special connection to that fight here in Rhode Island, and I look forward to working with Congressman Huffman to honor the principles of Roger Williams’ ‘Lively Experiment’ as we fight the GOP’s attempts to impose their own religious beliefs onto our communities.”
Thursday, Aug. 3
Senate Majority Leader Pearson endorses Cano for Congress
Rhode Island Senate Majority Leader Ryan W. Pearson, a Cumberland Democrat, on Thursday endorsed Senator Sandra C. Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.
“I have worked closely with Sandra on many issues since she was elected to the Senate,” Pearson said. “From our collaboration to address inequalities in our education system to ensuring there were allocations in the state budget to help Rhode Island’s working families, Sandra has a keen eye on the details and understands the importance of building relationships and coalitions to make big changes. That is exactly what we need in Congress and is why I am proud to endorse her.”
Cano said she is honored to have Pearson’s support.
“We have worked together to help create childcare programs in Rhode Island, enhance educational opportunities, and pass policies that keep our communities safe,” she said. “I look forward to working with him for many years to come.”
Pearson is one of more than 40 local leaders who have endorsed Cano, the announcement said. “These leaders have committed to working with Sandra in their communities to get out the vote for her in the Democratic primary,” it said. “This includes knocking on doors, making phone calls, sending emails and texts, and hosting events.
Thursday, Aug. 3
Peace Advocates’ Candidate Forum set for Monday
Democratic candidates for the First Congressional District seat will take part in a Peace Advocates’ Candidate Forum hosted by a coalition of Rhode Island peace groups from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Weaver Library in East Providence.
Eight of the 12 Democratic candidates in the Sept. 5 primary have accepted the invitation to attend the forum, the coalition announced. Journalist Steve Ahlquist will serve as the moderator.
The eight candidates participating are Gabe Amo, Stephanie Beauté, Walter Berbrick, Sandra Cano, Don Carlson, Spencer Dickinson, John Goncalves, and Ana Quezada.
Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos has not responded to an invitation, and former state representative J. Aaron Regunberg has another commitment and “regretfully” cannot attend, said Nancy Hood, one of the organizers. The two Republican candidates — Terri Flynn, and Gerry W. Leonard Jr. — were invited but have not responded, she said.
The candidates will all be asked for yes/no answers on four pledges on foreign policy issues, and will then be asked questions on Ukraine, US security, our role in the world, military spending, the UN Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and other topics. Candidates have received the list of questions, which will also be available for the forum audience.
This forum is designed to raise foreign policy and budget issues of high importance with which Rhode Island’s newest national politician will need to contend. Organizers want candidates to show what new approaches they have to offer.
“In light of our two US Senators’ support for the current astronomical US military budget increase, we would like to know our next congressperson’s thoughts on this important issue,” Hood said.
The event will be open to the public, but space at the library is limited so people are urged to arrive early. The forum will be recorded for later viewing.
Thursday, Aug. 3
New Democrat Coalition endorses Matos for Congress
The New Democrat Coalition Action Fund on Thursday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
“Sabina has a proven track record of delivering real results for communities across Rhode Island, and NewDems are thrilled to endorse her candidacy for Congress,” New Democrat Coalition Chairperson Annie Kuster said. “Sabina had the courage to run for public office as a young mom, and ever since she’s worked diligently to break down barriers and ensure Rhode Islanders have the opportunity to succeed in every aspect of their lives. There’s no question she’ll bring that same initiative to the House.”
The group’s recruitment co-chairperson, Pat Ryan, said, “I know firsthand what it takes to win a tough special election, and Lieutenant Governor Matos’ unwavering commitment to protecting Americans’ fundamental freedoms and her tireless work to improve the lives of her constituents makes her the best candidate to represent Rhode Island’s First Congressional District.”
Matos said she looks forward to joining the coalition in Congress.
“From making healthcare more affordable, to addressing the costs of housing, to tackling the climate crisis, to prioritizing job creation — NewDems have been on the frontline of taking the most important challenges facing our communities,” Matos said. “These are the same issues I’ve spent my career working on as president of the Providence City Council and as Rhode Island’s lieutenant governor. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and continuing to get things done for Rhode Island with the New Dem Coalition in Congress.”
Wednesday, Aug. 2
Progressive Turnout Project backing Regunberg for Congress in R.I.
The Progressive Turnout Project — the country’s largest voter contact organization dedicated to mobilizing the Democratic Party and defending democracy — on Wednesday endorsed former state representative J. Aaron Regunberg in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
Progressive Turnout Project is supported by more than 2.6 million donors, and raised more than $48 million in the 2022 election cycle.
“It is very rare for Progressive Turnout Project to endorse in primaries,” said Alex Morgan, president of Progressive Turnout Project. “But we’re making an exception in this race, because it’s clear to us that Aaron Regunberg is the strongest progressive candidate, and the person who will be most effective in standing up to MAGA Republicans and defending our Democratic values. That’s why we’re all in on his race, and are excited to do what we can to make sure he’s successful in September.”
Regunberg, a Providence Democrat, said he was glad to have the group’s support.
“Progressive Turnout Project is committed to doing the critical, person-to-person grassroots contact necessary to actually drive turnout among voters,” he said. “I appreciate their work supporting Democrats, and am honored that they are willing to go against their usual rule and endorse our campaign in the primary. RI-01 is a deep blue district — whoever is elected here should be committed to spending most of their political energy not on their own re-election, but on supporting Democrats in the districts we need to take back the House in 2024. That’s the work I’m committed to, and I’m excited to fight alongside Progressive Turnout Project to achieve this absolutely critical goal.”
Tuesday, Aug. 1
R.I. Senator Bell endorses Cano for Congress
State Senator Samuel W. Bell, a progressive Democrat from Providence, on Tuesday endorsed Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.
“She’s the best choice for progressive voters in this race,” Bell said. “Motivated by her compassion for the most vulnerable, Sandra has the most consistent record of championing progressive values of anyone in this race.”
He cited Cano’s work to restore Medicaid coverage to all low-income children and to expand child care support.
“We need politicians who care about those of us who aren’t rich,” Bell said. “I’ve put a lot of thought into this decision, and the choice is clear. I urge Rhode Islanders who want to see a government that truly cares to vote for Sandra in this critical Democratic primary.”
Cano said she is proud to have Bell’s support.
“We are continuing to build a large coalition of supporters from all across the district,” she said. “Sam is someone who understands what it takes to run a winning campaign and having his support is invaluable.”
Tuesday, Aug. 1
Bricklayers union backs Matos for Congress in R.I.
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 3 on Tuesday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in the First Congressional District race.
The union represents skilled trowel trades workers, including bricklayers, tile setters, plasterers, cement masons, marble masons, restoration workers, and terrazzo and mosaic workers.
“Working people have a strong champion in Sabina Matos,” said Richard Pacheco, business manager of Bricklayers Local 3. “She shows up, works hard for our members, and understands the challenges our members face. She’s never wavered on her commitment to fighting for good-paying jobs and supporting organized labor. We’re looking forward to working hard to help her win this campaign so she can continue her strong track record of getting things done.”
Matos said she is grateful for the union’s support.
“I’m proud of the work that’s been done in recent years to move Rhode Island’s infrastructure forward — investments that strengthen our state’s economic future,” Matos said. “Our skilled workforce is vital to what makes Rhode Island a great place to live, work, and raise a family, and I’m always proud to have their backs. When I’m in Congress, working families can count on me to always fight for good-paying jobs and projects that move our state forward.”
Trades Council endorses Bissaillon for R.I. Senate
The Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council on Tuesday endorsed Jake Bissaillon in the state Senate District 1 race.
Bissaillon, chief of staff to Senator President Dominick J. Ruggerio, is one of four Democrats who have declared their candidacies for the seat left vacant after the death of Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin.
Bissaillon previously worked as legal counsel to the Senate majority leader, and chief of staff to the Providence City Council. He has a master’s of business administration from Providence College and is licensed to practice law in the state.
“Jake Bissaillon’s education and extensive experience in government will be invaluable in working for the constituents of District 1, our union members, and the citizens of Rhode Island,” council president Michael F. Sabitoni said. “He is clearly the most qualified person in this race. The building trades enthusiastically supports his candidacy.”
The council is a coalition of 16 local trade unions with about 10,000 members in and around the State of Rhode Island, and many live in Providence.
Tuesday, Aug. 1
First Dominican American congressman endorses Matos for Congress in R.I.
US Representative Adriano Espaillat, a New York Democrat, on Tuesday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in the First Congressional District race.
Espaillat made history in 2017 as the first Dominican American to serve in Congress. Matos would make history as the first Afro-Latina and the first Dominican American woman ever elected to Congress.
“I’m excited to support my good friend, Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in her campaign for Congress,” Espaillat said. “She is someone working people have always been able to count on to have their backs and understand the challenges their families face — because she’s been in their shoes.”
He said Matos has focused on important issues such as affordable housing, good-paying jobs, and gun safety.
“She is the proven fighter we need in Congress to stand up to MAGA Republicans and get things done,” Espaillat said. “I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves to help her win this campaign — we’re going to make history in Rhode Island by electing the nation’s first Afro-Latina to Congress.”
Monday, July 31
Transportation Workers endorse Matos for Congress in R.I.
Transportation Workers Union Local 2054 on Monday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in the First Congressional District race.
The union represents members across the airline, railroad, and transit, university, utility, and service sectors.
“Sabina Matos is exactly the type of person Congress could use right now,” said Ed Flaherty, president of Transportation Workers Union Local 2054. “I grew up in public housing and I was able to secure a good living for my family thanks to a union and strong backing from our friends of organized labor like Sabina Matos. Working people can count on Sabina Matos to be strongly in their corner and work to create good-paying jobs.”
Matos said she was proud to have the union’s support.
“I’ve always stood on the side of working people who need a champion and a voice in government,” she said. “Working Rhode Islanders can depend on me to have their backs and fight for good paying jobs that enable them to support their families.”
Matos also has received union endorsements from the Laborers, the Building and Construction Trades Council, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 51, Iron Workers Local 37, and Painters District Council 11.
Friday, July 28
North Providence Town Council members back Cano for Congress in R.I.
A majority of the North Providence Town Council on Friday endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano in the First Congressional District race.
Town Council President Dino Autiello, an at-large member, Town Council District 1 members Steven Loporchio and Ronald R. Baccala Jr., and Town Council District 2 member Ken Amoriggi announced they are backing Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat.
Autiello, who had considered running for Congress himself, said, “I’m backing Sandra for Congress because she has the experience to be effective in Congress that no other candidate has. She started out serving in local government, where she built an understanding of all the ways in which our federal delegation works with cities and towns to support everyday Rhode Islanders. She knows the vital importance of staying connected to the community and working across all levels of government to bring results for the working people and small businesses that sustain our state. Sandra won’t just be a strong voice for our values in Congress — she’ll be dedicated and unwavering in service to the people of Rhode Island.”
Loporchio said, “Sandra has what it takes to represent us in Congress and will be able to get things done. She is a focused, driven individual who’s deeply connected to the community. That drive means she’ll stop at nothing in pursuit of what she knows is right — and she has the track record to show for it.”
Baccala said, “I appreciate a legislator who’s an independent thinker that can see all sides of the issues. Sandra is a level-headed, thoughtful, deliberative person. I trust her to always do the right thing, even when it’s hard, and not just fall in line. Her ability to work with all kinds of people while staying true to her values is admirable, and under the current political climate it’s exactly the kind of person we need in Congress.”
Amoriggi said: “What’s most compelling is her approach to leadership and legislation. She’s willing to sit down with anyone — even those with whom she’s diametrically opposed — and listen to the human side of what’s really important to them. She builds relationships and coalitions in order to bring real results. She’s a different kind of leader: She’ll ask you what’s important to you, why it’s important, and how we can best accomplish it together. The issues she fights for are issues that affect all of us.”
R.I. painters union endorses Matos for Congress
The Rhode Island Painters Union on Friday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District Race.
The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 11, represents local industrial, bridge, residential, and commercial painters, drywall finishers, glaziers, and glass workers.
“Sabina has been a champion for working families from her time at the Providence City Council, and we know she will bring that experience and leadership with her to Congress,” said Scott Duhamel, international union representative. “She has the skills we all need in our next member of Congress. She is hard-working, honest, and above all prepared for the job, and we know that she will be a congresswoman who supports all working folks, including the craftspeople we represent.
Justin Kelley, the union’s political director, said, “Sabina is a proven leader who understands the issues that the members of the finishing trades face. She has stood up for working families of the IUPAT in her support for prevailing wages for construction workers when developers receive tax subsidies in the form of City of Providence (tax stabilization agreements). We know Sabina will work in Congress to fight to end wage theft, support working people’s rights to organize and continue to ensure investments are made in Rhode Island’s vital infrastructure.”
Matos, a Providence Democrat, said she is honored to have the union’s support.
“I’m deeply committed to ensuring that every Rhode Islander has the opportunity of a good paying job that allows them to support their family,” she said. “I’ve been proud of the work we’ve done to invest in projects that strengthen our states infrastructure for the future, utilizing our highly skilled workforce. Organized labor contributes to what makes our communities strong and what makes Rhode Island a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”
Thursday, July 27
R.I. Senators DiPalma and Lawson endorse Cano for Congress
State Senators Louis P. DiPalma and Valarie J. Lawson on Thursday endorsed Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
DiPalma, a Middletown Democrat, said he has worked with Cano since she was elected to the Senate, serving on the finance and education committees together.
“I have watched her work hard to build support to pass policies that affect children and families across Rhode Island,” DiPalma said. “I know that she will bring this tenacity to Congress and will work hard to make sure Rhode Island is well represented. Sandra is a hard worker and she really has what it takes to make a difference. She has secured wide-spread support across the district. She can and will win this. I am proud to support her.”
Lawson, an East Providence Democrat who is president of the National Education Association Rhode Island, said Cano is one of the hardest working leaders she knows.
“Year after year, she fights to improve our schools and the lives of our children and families,” Lawson said. “She pays attention to the details and works to build support amongst her colleagues — because that’s what matters. Sandra always shows up and does the work to build coalitions and support for the issues that matter to Rhode Islanders. Sandra is the right leader at the right time to lead us in Congress, and I encourage everyone to vote for her in this special election.”
Cano said she is honored to have their support. “Together we have made big changes for Rhode Island,” she said, “and now we are building a large coalition that is spreading across the district, and a movement to win in September and November.”
Thursday, July 27
VoteVets PAC endorses Berbrick for Congress in R.I.
VoteVets PAC, the country’s largest progressive group of veterans, on Thursday endorsed Navy veteran and Naval War College professor Walter Berbrick in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
“Walter Berbrick embodies the spirit of service, always putting his country and community above himself and committing to helping communities in a changing world,” said VoteVets PAC Chairman Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran.
“In Congress, we need these credible voices like his to help maintain the strength of our military, bolster our national security, and ensure that those who serve, and their families, receive the benefits they’ve earned,” Soltz said. “At the same time, we need people like Walter who recognize that climate change isn’t just an environmental issue. It’s a national security issue. We’re proud to endorse him.”
Founded in 2006, VoteVets PAC helps veterans and national security experts win elected office at the federal, state and local levels. The group runs independent spending campaigns (more than $100 million to date), raises and donates millions of dollars, runs an innovative texting program in order to connect veterans and military families with other veterans and military families to get out the vote.
Berbrick said he is honored to receive the group’s endorsement.
“As a Navy veteran, brother of a Marine veteran, and grandson of a Navy veteran and Army veteran, I’m proud to build on their legacy of putting people and country first, a value I first learned listening to their stories and working in my family’s restaurant,” he said. “I’m humbled to join VoteVets’ tradition of electing more servant leaders who can use their experience to get things done for our communities, like lowering costs for hardworking families, defending women’s reproductive rights, and getting weapons of war off of our streets.”
Wednesday, July 26
BLM RI PAC and RI Black Business Association to host congressional debate
The Black Lives Matter Rhode Island Political Action Committee and the Rhode Island Black Business Association will host a First Congressional District debate on Aug. 4.
The event will run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Providence Public Library, 150 Empire St., in Providence.
The confirmed candidates are Democrats Sabina Matos, Ana Quezada, John Goncalves, Stephanie Beauté, Aaron Regunberg, Gabe Amo, Sandra Cano, and Don Carlson.
The panelists will be Zainabou Thiam, CEO of Sunu Body and a youth advocate; Ellijah McLean, education policy program officer at the United Way of Rhode Island; Paige Clausius-Parks, executive director of Rhode Island Kids Count; and Lisa Ranglin, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Black Business Association.
“This debate is not only about political discourse, but it’s also about engaging in meaningful conversations that can drive positive change in our communities,” BLM RI PAC President Harrison Tuttle said.
Ranglin said, “The candidate from Rhode Island lucky enough to sit in the congressional seat must move with urgency as it relates to advocating for economic equity at the federal level, cascading down to the local level. The elected candidate must advocate boldly for greater investment and resources for communities of color to counter racial and economic inequities.”
Tuesday, July 25
Defend the Vote PAC endorses Matos for Congress in R.I.
Defend the Vote — a political action committee that backs candidates who will fight to ensure fair elections, voting access, voter education and voter protection — on Tuesday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos for the First Congressional District seat.
The endorsement comes amid a criminal investigation into Matos’ nominations forms. At least three communities — Jamestown, Newport and East Providence — have reported suspect nomination signatures submitted for her campaign. Matos has said a vendor hired to collect signatures “engaged in a widespread and outrageous attempt to defraud my campaign.”
The endorsement from Defend the Vote also comes as Matos has launched the first TV ad of her congressional campaign. In the ad, titled “Worked Hard,” she shares her story of working hard to secure the American Dream, and she affirms her commitment to standing up for the rights, freedom, and democracy that make it possible to achieve.
“Sabina Matos is a public servant to her core,” said Brian Lemek, a Providence native who is Defend The Vote’s executive director. “Rhode Islanders deserve a representative who will relentlessly combat MAGA extremism, champion democracy, and protect American freedoms, including the right to vote and a woman’s right to choose.”
After serving on the Providence City Council and as lieutenant governor, Matos has proven she is “a leader with unquestionable integrity and unmatched experience,” Lemek said.
Matos said, “As a young woman, I immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic, learned English while working in a jewelry factory, and got an education at CCRI and Rhode Island College. Only in our strong democracy is it possible for someone like me to serve my community in elected office. Our democracy and the right to vote has been under threat by MAGA Republicans, and I will do everything I can to ensure they are not successful in weakening our freedoms.”
Tuesday, July 25
Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC endorses Regunberg for Congress in R.I.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC on Tuesday endorsed former state representative J. Aaron Regunberg in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
The PAC is the political arm of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the largest Democratic ideological caucus, and exists to elect strong progressive leaders to Congress. In the 2022 cycle, the PAC raised more than $4 million and helped to elect 17 new members to Congress.
“Aaron Regunberg has dedicated his life to promoting the common good and taking on special interests and it is critical that Congressman David Cicilline’s successor has the record and values necessary to build on his substantial progressive legacy,” said the PAC’s co-chairs, US Representatives Mark Pocan, Pramila Jayapal, and Jamie Raskin.
“Aaron’s history as a state legislator, a community organizer, and a climate lawyer makes it clear that he will come to Washington ready to organize on behalf of working people,” the three legislators said. “Like David, Aaron has direct experience overcoming gridlock and corruption to stand up to corporate power and win real progress. Aaron will fight to deliver bold and transformative policies in Congress and we are proud to endorse him as the best candidate to fill David Cicilline’s seat.”
Regunberg said, “People sometimes ask me what progressive means. My answer: being progressive means fighting for a government and an economy that works for everyday people, not just big corporations and wealthy campaign donors. That’s why I’m so excited to be endorsed by the CPC PAC — because I have seen the Progressive Caucus working to do just that. I know a better world is possible, and I’m excited to work with the CPC to win the housing, health care and livable future that everyone needs and deserves.”
Monday, July 24
Ironworkers endorse Matos for Congress
Iron Workers Local 37 on Monday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in the First Congressional District race.
The union represents more than 500 members who assemble and erect steel framework and other metal parts in buildings and on bridges, dams, skyscrapers, factories, and other steel structures.
“Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos has been a steadfast champion for working people, and Local 37 is proud to support her campaign for Congress,” said David Langlais, business manager for Iron Workers Local 37. “She has fought for the projects that strengthen our state’s infrastructure and keep Rhode Island’s economy moving forward. She is someone who has proven her commitment to helping workers get good paying jobs and economic security — and we’re going to work hard to help her win this campaign because she’s exactly who we need in Congress.”
Matos said she was honored to have the union’s support.
“Their members have been involved in some of the biggest projects in our state, and I am excited to work together as we continue to grow Rhode Island’s economy,” she said. “When I’m in Congress, working families can count on me to fight for good paying jobs, fair wages, and projects that strengthen our state’s infrastructure and future.”
Thursday, July 20
R.I. State Association of Firefighters endorses Casey for Congress
The Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters on Thursday endorsed state Representative Stephen M. Casey, a Woonsocket firefighter, in the First Congressional District race.
Casey, who chairs the House Municipal Government and Housing Committee, is one of 12 Democrats who will appear on the ballot in the Sept. 5 primary.
“This endorsement represents a strong vote of confidence from the firefighting community in Casey’s ability to lead and prioritize the needs of first responders across the state,” Casey’s campaign said in statement. “The endorsement by the RISAFF unions underscores Casey’s steadfast commitment to first responders.”
The announcement listed 27 firefighter union locals that have endorsed Casey — ranging from Barrington and Central Falls to West Warwick and Woonsocket.
“As a state representative in Woonsocket District 50, Casey has demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by firefighters,” the statement said. “He has an exemplary track record of advocating for their rights, which has earned him the respect and endorsement of these distinguished firefighter associations.”
Casey said he is “deeply honored and humbled” to receive the endorsement. “They put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe,” he said. “As a public servant, I will continue to work tirelessly to address their needs and promote a safer Rhode Island for all.”
Wednesday, July 19
Amo to hit airwaves with new TV ad in congressional campaign
A Democratic candidate for the First Congressional District is hitting the airwaves next week. Democrat Gabe Amo, a former White House official and Pawtucket native, has made a $225,000 TV advertising buy, according to his campaign. Spokesperson Matt Rauschenbach said the new commercial, which hasn’t yet been released, will run through the day of the primary on Sept. 5.
While multiple candidates have been running digital ads, TV commercials have not yet been dominating the airwaves in the crowded race to replace Congressman David Cicilline. Several candidates have been amassing enough cash to get on the air. Don Carlson has the most cash on hand in his campaign account, with $770,000, a majority of which is personal money. Aaron Regunberg and Amo have both raised more than $450,000, and Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos has raised $338,000.
Democrat Nick Autiello, who dropped out of the race Wednesday, was the first candidate to run a TV ad for one week earlier in the campaign.
- Steph Machado
Wednesday, July 19
NEARI PAC endorses Senator Cano in R.I. congressional race
The National Education Association Rhode Island Political Action Committee for Education has endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano in the First Congressional District race, the union announced Wednesday.
The teachers union, which has 12,000 members, is a force in Rhode Island elections, and Cano is one of 12 Democrats running in a Sept. 5 primary for the congressional seat that David N. Cicilline vacated to lead the Rhode Island Foundation.
“From her very early days in public life as a Pawtucket School Committee member to now chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, Cano has demonstrated a deep commitment to prioritizing and strengthening public education in Rhode Island,” said NEARI-PACE Committee Chair and NEARI Vice President Amy Mullen. “While Cano’s background and education are impressive, it is her track record that moved the committee. Senator Cano is a steadfast champion for public education advocating for school construction, universal pre-K and early childhood education, healthy school meals for all, increased school mental health services, and expanded affordable access to higher education.”
Mullen said, “We look forward to activating our 12,000 members with a robust member-to-member campaign, so she can bring her expertise, passion, and energy to Congress.”
NEARI President Valarie J. Lawson, a fellow Democratic state senator, said, “I’m thrilled the NEARI-PACE Committee saw in Sandra Cano what I see every day from my colleague in the Rhode Island Senate.
Lawson, an East Providence Democrat, said, “Sandra is a fierce advocate focused on effective policy that truly makes an impact on people’s lives and she does not shy away from reaching across the aisle to get the work done. Sandra has been involved at all levels of government and her number one priority has always been education. She believes that a high-quality public education begins with opportunity and access no matter your ZIP code, and she works tirelessly to make that reality possible for Rhode Island students and families.”
Cano said, “When I came to this country at age 16, I spoke no English. My public education allowed me to learn the language, and ultimately live my own version of the American Dream. Children deserve the best possible opportunity in life, both inside and outside the classroom. When we support teachers, our students have a better chance to thrive. I’m committed to this work, and I’m so proud to have the support of NEARI in my campaign.”
Wednesday, July 19
East Bay officials endorse Regunberg for Congress
Nine current and former East Bay elected leaders on Wednesday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
The support came from former state senator J. Clement “Bud” Cicilline, state Senator Linda Ujifusa, and state Representatives Susan Donovan, Lauren Carson, Michelle E. McGaw, and Terri Cortvriend. Regunberg also received backing from Portsmouth Town Council Vice President Len Katzman, Portsmouth Town Councilor J. Mark Ryan, and Portsmouth Town Councilor Daniela Abbott.
Regunberg, a Providence Democrat, is one of 12 Democrats vying to replace David N. Cicilline, a Democrat who stepped down June 1 to lead the Rhode Island Foundation.
“Bud” Cicilline, a Newport Democrat who is the former congressman’s uncle, said, “When my nephew David resigned from Congress, I was bummed to be losing him as a representative. But knowing Aaron Regunberg’s running, I feel much better. He’s got integrity, he’s got smarts, and he’s ready to outwork everyone else. Reminds me of another public servant I know.”
Ujifusa, a Portsmouth Democrat, said, “Aaron Regunberg will be a fearless champion for environmental protection, affordable comprehensive health care, and policies that are vital to protect our democracy. I know he will build coalitions and fight for an economy that works for all of us.”
Donovan, a Bristol Democrat, said, “In the General Assembly I was always amazed by how effective Aaron was at actually getting stuff done. I’m endorsing his campaign because I know he will be a powerful voice in Congress for all of us in the East Bay.”
Carson, a Newport Democrat, said, “I’ve known and worked with Aaron for many years. We’ve worked together to win climate action, support our small business community, and more. He’s always brought incredible energy to his advocacy, and I’m confident he has what it takes to represent us with the same vigor and passion as David Cicilline.”
McGaw, a Portsmouth Democrat, said, “I’ve been making a spreadsheet with the positions of each of the candidates in this race, both for myself and to share with my constituents. It’s clear that Aaron has the strongest platform and record on all the issues I care most about, and I’m very excited to be supporting his campaign for Congress.”
Cortvriend, a Portsmouth Democrat, said, “When I thought of losing David Cicilline as my Representative in Congress I worried who was going to pick up the torch to represent the values of our district. When Aaron told me he was running I was excited to be able to support someone who is so passionate about addressing climate change and protecting our environment, which is my top priority.”
Tuesday, July 18
Plumbers and Pipefitters endorse Matos for Congress
Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 51 on Tuesday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in the First Congressional District race.
The union represents more than 1,200 members of the plumbing, pipefitting and refrigeration industries.
“For over a decade in public service, Sabina Matos has been a champion for hard-working Rhode Island families,” said Paul Alvarez, business manager for Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 51. “She has worked tirelessly to support projects that put our members to work and strengthen Rhode Island’s economic future. She has proven that she stands firmly on the side of working Rhode Islanders and Local 51′s members.”
Matos, a Providence Democrat who previously served as president of the Providence City Council, said she was proud to have the union’s support.
“I will always stand up for working people and their families,” she said. “As lieutenant governor, I’ve fought hard for working people, and in Congress I will continue to work hard to ensure that every Rhode Island worker has the opportunity of a good-paying job that allows their family to enjoy a high quality of life.”
Friday, July 14
R.I. Laborers’ District Council endorses Matos for Congress
The Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council on Friday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in the First Congressional District race.
The union endorsement is significant because the council includes seven local unions with more than 10,000 members in Rhode Island.
Arthur Jordan, the council’s business manager, said the organization is proud to back Matos, a Providence Democrat. “She is an experienced community leader who has made a difference throughout her life,” he said, “and Rhode Island needs her leadership in Congress.”
The union noted that Matos emigrated from the Dominican Republic and became the first Latina president of the Providence City Council.
“Sabina Matos represents the American dream,” said Donato A. Bianco Jr., Laborers’ International Union of North America vice president and New England regional director. “She is prepared to represent all Rhode Islanders in Washington with a common-sense approach to getting things done while never forgetting the needs of working families.”
LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer Michael F. Sabitoni said, “Over her public service career, Sabina Matos time after time has stood with the men and women of LIUNA, never wavering in her support for construction development, pathways to apprenticeship, and support for public employees.”
Matos said she is honored to receive the council’s support.
“I am proud of the work we’ve done together to fight for good-paying jobs, fair wages, and economic security for working people across our state – work that means a stronger economy for future generations of Rhode Islanders,” she said. “For over a decade in public service, supporting working people has been one of my top priorities and Rhode Islanders can count on me to continue that work in Congress.”
Thursday, July 13
Her Bold Move PAC endorses Matos for Congress in R.I.
Her Bold Move PAC, which aims to fill a gap in the support system for women running for office, on Thursday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
Matos, a former Providence City Council president, is one of 21 Democrats running for the seat the David N. Cicilline vacated June 1 to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
“We are impressed by her deep understanding of how policy can affect her constituents’ real lives, and encouraged by her commitment to being a champion for women and the issues they care about,” said Jordan Zaslow, Her Bold Move founder and executive director. “She has been a remarkable and fearless trailblazer in her public service and, if elected, she would become the first Democratic woman and first person of color elected to Congress in Rhode Island’s history. We are eager to see her shatter those important glass ceilings.”
Matos said she’s grateful for the group’s support.
“With abortion rights under attack, it’s more important than ever that we elect more pro-choice women to office — up and down the ballot,” she said. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done in Rhode Island to protect and expand reproductive freedom, and I’m ready to continue the fight in Congress.”
Wednesday, July 12
Quezada calls for R.I. congressional candidates to release tax returns
State Senator Ana B. Quezada, a Providence Democrat, on Wednesday released her tax returns and called for other First Congressional District candidates to release theirs.
“When I promise to fight for the hardworking families of Rhode Island, I want people to understand that I don’t just talk about these issues, I live them,” Quezada said. “My family and I have been fortunate to live the American dream, but we’re not part of the political or financial elite. We’re regular people just trying to make our way in challenging times — just like so many other Rhode Islanders who are working hard every day.”
Quezada, who works as a code enforcement inspector for the City of Providence, released her federal and state tax returns for 2022. They show that she and her husband earned combined total income of $131,563, including $17,664 from the state for being a senator. They paid $4,351 in federal income taxes and $4,285 in state income taxes in 2022.
“I am making my personal finances public because I believe in transparency and integrity,” Quezada said. “I’m calling on all my fellow candidates to do the same. The amount of money flooding into this race is crazy. You have some candidates that can afford to lend their own campaigns more than many Rhode Islanders make in a year. Others portray themselves as champions for working families, but maybe they haven’t really lived that life. So I’m saying to all of them, put your cards on the table. Let’s see who you really are.”
Tuesday, July 11
US Representatives Khanna and Schakowsky endorse Regunberg for Congress
US Representative Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, and Representative Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, on Tuesday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
Regunberg, a Providence Democrat, is one of 35 candidates who have declared their candidacies for the seat that Democrat David N. Cicilline has vacated.
Khanna is a leading House progressive member who is mentioned as a potential contender for future Democratic presidential nominations. He serves as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, and he chairs the House Oversight and Reform Environmental Subcommittee, which brought the CEOs of six major fossil fuel companies before Congress to testify under oath about climate disinformation for the first time in history.
“Aaron Regunberg is the only candidate in this race with a record of standing up to Big Pharma and the health insurance industry to fight for Medicare for All,” Khanna said. “He’s the only candidate with a record of taking on Big Oil to fight for a livable future. As the clear progressive choice in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District, he represents the future of the Democratic Party, and I’m very excited to endorse his candidacy.”
Schakowsky serves in the House Democratic leadership as a chief deputy whip, she was a leader in passing the Affordable Care Act, and she serves as co-chair of the Task Force on Aging and Families.
“David Cicilline has been a powerful advocate and an important voice in Congress,” Schakowsky said. “We need someone who can bring that same passion and efficacy to succeed him. As an organizer with a record of winning real progressive change, Aaron Regunberg is exactly the kind of leader we need more of in Congress, and the best candidate to fill David Cicilline’s shoes.”
Friday, July 7
Johnston Republicans endorse McKay for US Senate
The Johnston Republican Town Committee has endorsed Raymond T. McKay for US Senate, the McKay campaign announced Friday.
McKay, a Warwick Republican, plans to run against the Democratic US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in November 2024.
“We take great care in choosing candidates to support in elections,” committee chairwoman Sandra Taylor said. “Mr. McKay is a constitutional conservative and wants to protect our Social Security, our borders, and reduce our overall D.C. spending.”
Taylor said McKay has always been supportive of the Johnston Republican Town Committee and its grassroots efforts in the community. Committee members said they are honored to stand with McKay for Senate.
Thursday, July 6
Jane Fonda Climate PAC backs Regunberg for Congress
The Jane Fonda Climate PAC on Thursday endorsed Democrat J. Aaron Regunberg in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
The actress and activist founded the national political action committee to help defeat fossil fuel-backed politicians and elect “climate champions.”
“We are proud to endorse Aaron Regunberg in this critical special election because he is the only candidate we can trust to truly stand up to Big Oil,” Fonda said. “Aaron has proven his commitment to tackling the climate crisis.”
For example, she said that when Regunberg, a Providence Democrat, was a state representative he created new clean energy programs. When he was a community organizer, he helped block “dangerous new gas infrastructure,” and as a lawyer, he supported litigation to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their climate deception and fraud, she said.
“That’s why so many climate organizations are coming together to make sure Aaron wins this September,” Fonda said, “and we are thrilled to support that effort in every way we can.”
Regunberg said he is thrilled to have support from Fonda and her PAC. “We already have everything we need to secure a clean energy transition,” he said. “The problem is political — we need to overcome the stranglehold the fossil fuel industry has on our government. That’s why I’m in this race, and I look forward to working with Jane Fonda as well as local leaders and volunteers to take on Big Oil and win the livable future we all deserve.”
Wednesday, July 5
Carlson puts $600,000 into campaign for Congress, raises $312,000
Democratic congressional candidate Don Carlson on Wednesday announced he has poured $600,000 into his campaign while raising another $312,000 since April — for a total of $912,000.
Carlson, a renewable energy investor from Jamestown, said that after campaign expenses, he has $750,000 cash on hand — more than any other candidate has announced so far.
An eye-popping 35 candidates have declared their candidacies for the First Congressional District seat that Democrat David N. Cicilline vacated on June 1, including 22 Democrats, four Republicans, and nine independents. The Democratic primary is set for Sept. 5.
“The state of this race is clear — our campaign’s resources establish Don Carlson as a top-tier candidate in this field,” said Nick Marroletti, Carlson’s campaign manager. “We’ve worked hard every day for the past 10 weeks to make sure our campaign has the resources we need to get Don’s message out to Rhode Islanders. We’re excited for voters to get to know Don and learn more about his commitment to gun safety, women’s autonomy over their own bodies, and building the clean-energy economy of the future right here in Rhode Island.”
Carlson said he is “heartened” by the support he has received.
“Every day, folks across the district tell me they want someone in Congress who can stand up to the hateful MAGA agenda of repression and division,” he said. “They want someone who can find ways to bring people together around shared values of inclusivity and mutual respect to implement solutions to the problems we face on climate change, affordable housing, and access to high-quality education. I’m the only candidate in this race with deep experience in government, private sector business, and education who can do just that.”
Saturday, July 1
Amo, Regunberg each raise more than $460,000
Democratic candidates Gabe Amo and J. Aaron Regunberg announced that they have each raised more than $460,000 in the First Congressional District race.
Amo, a first-time candidate and former White House official, announced that his campaign has raised $460,000 from more than 1,000 donors in the 10-1/2 weeks since its launch.
“I am so grateful for the outpouring of support from people who know that I will be able to deliver results from day one,” Amo said. “This is a grassroots campaign about ensuring that Rhode Islanders have effective leadership in Congress that will fight for key priorities like protecting Social Security and Medicare, passing common-sense gun safety legislation, and protecting reproductive rights and access to abortion.”
Regunberg, a former state representative in Providence, announced that his campaign has raised $470,000 in the second quarter while accepting no donations from corporate political action committees.
“I’m deeply grateful that our promise – to take on a rigged economy and broken politics to deliver real change for Rhode Island families – is resonating with so many people across the First Congressional District,” Regunberg said. “We’re not self funding. We’re not taking a dime of corporate PAC money. This campaign is powered by people, and by our shared dreams for a safer, more affordable, more equitable future. We’re just getting started.”
The second quarter ended on Friday, and campaign finance reports are due with the Federal Election Commission by July 15. In all, 35 people have filed declarations of candidacy to run for the seat that Democrat David N. Cicilline vacated June 1, but most have not announced fund-raising totals.
Friday, June 30
East Bay leaders endorse Cano for Congress
Former state senator James A. Seveney, Bristol Town Councilman Timothy Sweeney, and Portsmouth School Committee Vice Chairman Juan Carlos Payero have endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.
Seveney, a Portsmouth Democrat, said: “If there is one single underlying issue that needs to be addressed in this state and in this country — it is our education system. Sandra Cano will be a fighter for our schools, our students, and our teachers. She understands what we’re currently doing, and she knows how to fix it. I worked with her in the state Senate on these issues and I know that she is the voice we need in Congress to advocate for students and teachers across America.”
Sweeney said Cano has worked on school committee budgets, city budgets, and the state budget as a member of the Senate Finance Committee. “She understands what goes into the budget process and also knows how critical it is that America not default on its debt,” he said. “Sandra cares about the issues I care about, and that people in my community care about. I am proud to support her.”
Payero said he and Cano are both parents of young children. “We both work hard to make our schools better every day,” he said. “I have watched Sandra work on these issues and the positive impact she has made for our schools. I am confident that she will lead the way for education policy in Congress, because Sandra knows that it all starts with education.”
Thursday, June 29
Mayor Lombardi and former mayor Murray endorse Cano for Congress
North Providence Mayor Charles A. Lombardi and former Cumberland Mayor Bill Murray on Thursday endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.
“I’m supporting Sandra Cano because she is the only candidate in this race that has the experience that matters,” Lombardi said. “She has served at every level of government in Rhode Island in policy making roles and has proved that she can get things done. This, paired with her deep financial knowledge and experience, is exactly what we need in Congress.”
Murray said that when he was mayor of Cumberland, he saw Cano’s “pragmatic approach to problem solving.”
“Whether it was in her role as a banking official at Navigant Bank or in her electoral duties on the Pawtucket School Committee, City Council, and in the state Senate, her involvement always led to better results,” he said. “She is exactly the type of leader we need in Washington, and I strongly urge voters to consider her candidacy.”
Cano said she is honored to have support from Lombardi, Murray and Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “I look forward to working with them in the future to collaborate on projects that will help bring resources to Rhode Island to continue making improvements that will enrich the lives of everyone who lives and works here,” she said.
Monday, June 26
Progressive Democrats of America endorse Regunberg for Congress
Progressive Democrats of America on Monday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
The group, which has chapters in 32 states, including Rhode Island, conducted an online poll of its Rhode Island members, requiring at least 60 percent support to make an endorsement. And in a field of 16 candidates, Regunberg received more than 75 percent support.
“Aaron Regunberg is going to be a great progressive member of Congress,” said Alan Minsky, executive director of Progressive Democrats of America. “We know this from his record as a two-term member in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. We also know this from the overwhelming support that Aaron received in PDA’s official endorsement poll.”
Simon Korn, Regunberg’s campaign manager, said the campaign is “thrilled” by the endorsement.
“Progressives, climate organizations, unions, and legislators are consolidating behind Aaron Regunberg because they know he’s the only candidate in this race with a record of standing up to Big Pharma, Big Oil, and Big Banks to fight for everyday Rhode Islanders,” he said.
Friday, June 23
US Representative Jamie Raskin endorses Regunberg for Congress
US Representative Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, on Friday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg in the First Congressional District race, and will attend a fundraiser for him Sunday in Newport.
Regunberg is one of 16 Democrats running the seat that David N. Cicilline vacated on June 1 to lead the Rhode Island Foundation. Last month, on the Rhode Island Report podcast, Cicilline called Raskin one of his two favorite members of Congress, describing him as “one of the finest human beings I’ve ever met.”
In 2021, Raskin joined Cicilline and Ted Lieu in introducing articles of impeachment against former President Donald Trump, and Raskin served on the House Select Committee in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
“Rhode Island punches way above its weight class in Congress,” Raskin said. “My close friend David Cicilline was an essential force for progressive change in the House who never cowered before MAGA Republicans or even the world’s largest corporations, and his departure is a sharp loss to Democrats. We need Rhode Island to send another fighter, organizer and leader to take David’s place, and that’s why I’m endorsing Aaron Regunberg as David’s replacement.”
Raskin said he was introduced to Regunberg by his late son, Tommy Raskin, who entered Harvard Law School in the same class in 2019.
“What impressed Tommy so much about Aaron Regunberg over time was that he was still every bit as much an activist and an organizer even though he was now a law student,” he said. “He told me how much faith he had in Aaron’s political integrity and moral purpose.”
Raskin said the US House needs an organizer like Regunberg. “I’m confident from Aaron’s record leading successful fights on paid sick days, higher wages, and clean energy programs that he’s got the passion and skills to make a real difference in the House of Representatives,” he said.
Regunberg said he is honored to have Raskin’s support.
“Jamie Raskin is one of the most deeply principled, honorable people serving in politics today,” he said. “When I think about what kind of congressperson I’d hope to be, there’s no model better than the one he’s provided. David Cicilline leaves massive shoes to fill. I’m profoundly moved to know that Congressman Raskin thinks I’m up to the task.”
Thursday, June 22
R.I. Representative Sanchez endorses Quezada for Congress
State Representative Enrique Sanchez on Thursday endorsed state Senator Ana B. Quezada, a fellow Providence Democrat, in the First Congressional District race.
“Ana Quezada is the fighter that Rhode Island needs in Washington,” Sanchez said. “I’ve seen her in action at the State House. She knows how to get things done and she does so with integrity and a fierce dedication to the people she serves. I know she’ll do the same in Congress.”
Sanchez said Quezada knows firsthand the issues affecting working people. “She’s experienced those challenges,” he said. “She represents the rich diversity and everyday struggles of real Rhode Islanders, and that will make her a new and important voice in Congress.”
Quezada thanked Sanchez for his support. “Every day, our movement gets bigger and I’m grateful to have Representative Sanchez join the fight,” she said. “He understands how important it is to have someone in Congress who sees this as a chance to serve our communities, not just a career opportunity.”
Four R.I. state senators endorse Cano for Congress
Four fellow Democratic state senators on Thursday endorsed Senator Sandra Cano in the First Congressional District race.
Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, received backing from Senators Meghan E. Kallman, of Pawtucket; Melissa A. Murray, of Woonsocket; Robert Britto, of East Providence; and Mark P. McKenney, of Warwick.
Kallman said, “Serving together on the Pawtucket City Council and now in the state Senate, we have worked together to advocate and pass legislation for affordable housing and to strengthen R.I.’s gun safety laws, expand access to reproductive healthcare, and prioritize the mental health of our youth. With her tenacity and ability to build coalitions, Sandra will be an incredible voice for us in Washington.”
Murray said, “Through our work together on the school funding formula, adult education, the RI Works program, environment, health care and many other initiatives, she’s proven that she has the best interests of her constituents at heart. Sandra is deliberative and intentional about legislating, because she’s in it for all of us. She truly cares about working people. She is also a strong ally for the LGBTQ+ community, and is someone I trust to do what’s best for all Rhode Islanders.”
Britto said, “Sandra is the role model of what a great legislator should be. She really listens to her constituents and carries their voices and stories with her in everything she does. Her advocacy is strong, but her passion for doing the right thing is even stronger.”
And McKenney said, “Sandra is a one-of-a-kind leader. Her kindness, her political courage, and most of all her compassion for her fellow Rhode Islanders shines through in her legislative work. She’s been a real champion for children and working families in the state Senate, and we need that voice in Congress.”
Wednesday, June 21
Representative Himes endorses Carlson for Congress
US Representative Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat, on Wednesday endorsed Don Carlson in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
Carlson, a renewable energy investor from Jamestown, is one of 16 Democrats running for the seat vacated by David N. Cicilline, who stepped down to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
Himes represents Connecticut’s 4th District and is serving his eighth term. In 2008, Carlson helped to elect Himes to Congress. He said he served as his chief of staff from Election Day through orientation and about four months after Himes was sworn in.
“I’m proud to endorse my longtime friend, Don Carlson, for Congress,” Himes said. “Don is a business and community leader focused on creating good solutions and producing results, and he understands the importance of creating new, green jobs, protecting reproductive rights, mitigating the effects of climate change, and advocating for common-sense gun legislation not just in Rhode Island, but across America.”
Carlson said, “I sleep better at night knowing that Jim is the senior Democratic member of the Intelligence Committee. I look forward to continuing our close friendship and decades-long partnership in Congress where we can both put our skills together for the American people. Jim serves our country with compassion, curiosity, and courage. I’m proud to stand with him as a friend and a colleague.”
Flight attendants association backs Regunberg
The Association of Flight Attendants on Wednesday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
Regunberg said he is honored to receive support from the association, which represents 50,000 flight attendants.
“Unions like AFA are the most powerful tool working people have to win a real voice in our government,” he said, “and I’m so excited to be fighting alongside the members of AFA to win an economy that works for all of us.”
McKay calls for Whitehouse to return donations
Raymond T. McKay, a Republican candidate for the US Senate, on Wednesday called for Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse to return $12,000 in campaign donations from lobbyist Vincent Roberti Sr.
McKay said Whitehouse has accused Republicans of enabling Russia while accepting donations from Roberti, whom he described as a top lobbyist for the Nord Stream Pipeline 2 AG, a Switzerland-based subsidiary of Russian oil giant Gazprom.
“Sheldon Whitehouse is a hypocrite,” McKay said. “He talks tough about Russia, but behind the scenes he cozied up with the Nord Stream lobbyist. I call upon my opponent to return all campaign donations he received from Mr. Roberti.”
A Whitehouse spokeswoman declined to comment on McKay’s statement.
Last year, Politico reported that Roberti Global severed ties with Nord Stream 2 AG following US economic sanctions against Russia for its escalated aggression in Ukraine. And McKay noted Whitehouse reported a $1,000 donation from Roberti as recently as March 2023.
McKay described Vincent Roberti Sr. as one of the Democratic Party’s biggest supporters who has donated to the Democratic National Committee, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
McKay cited data from Open Secrets showing Roberti Global received $2.42 million in 2021 and another $1.63 million in 2022 from Russian oil giant OAO Gazprom to lobby on behalf of its subsidiary, Nord Stream 2 AG.
Regunberg endorsed by Climate Hawks Vote
Climate Hawks Vote, a national group that backs candidates it sees as leaders in fighting for climate action, on Wednesday endorsed J. Aaron Regunberg in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
The announcement represents the first endorsement by a national climate organization in the race to replace David N. Cicilline, who stepped down June 1 to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
“Climate Hawks Vote doesn’t endorse in Democratic primaries without first surveying our grassroots members in the district,” said RL Miller, political director of Climate Hawks Vote and president of Climate Hawks Vote Political Action. “To our surprise in this very fractured field, 100 percent of the survey respondents in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District told us to endorse Aaron Regunberg.”
Regunberg said he is excited to have the group’s support.
“And it was incredibly meaningful to learn that 100 percent of the climate hawks in our congressional district are supportive of our campaign,” he said. “I am committed to taking on Big Oil and winning real climate solutions in Congress, and I’m looking forward to working with national groups like Climate Hawks Vote as well as local groups like Climate Action Rhode Island to rein in the fossil fuel industry and fight for a livable future.”
EMILYs List endorses Matos for Congress
EMILYs List, which helps to elect Democratic female candidates who support abortion rights, on Wednesday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race.
EMILYs List President Laphonza Butler said the political action committee has backed Matos since her first run for Providence City Council in 2010.
“And we have been thrilled with all she has accomplished for Rhode Islanders in the years since,” she said. “Matos has been a champion for women, youth, and working families, and she has been a strong supporter of reproductive freedom throughout her time in elected office.”
Matos said she is honored to have the group’s support.
“For decades, EMILYs List has been working to help pro-choice women run for and win office,” she said. “With our rights under attack in Congress and across the nation, that mission is as important as it has ever been.”
“I want my daughter to grow up in a world where she has the same rights as men and more rights than I had but that isn’t true today,” Matos said. “I have fought to protect our rights as president of the Providence City Council, I have fought to protect our rights as lieutenant governor, and I will fight to protect our rights in Congress.”
Tuesday, June 20
Hassett backs Bissaillon in R.I. state Senate race
Former long-time Providence City Council member Terrence M. “Terry” Hassett won’t run for the state Senate District 1 seat after all, and will instead endorse Jake Bissaillon in that race.
Hassett had previously said he intended to run for the Senate seat left vacant after the death of Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin, a Providence Democrat.
But in a statement issued Tuesday, he backed Bissaillon, saying, “Maryellen Goodwin was a lifelong friend who served her community and constituents selflessly and honorably. I have known Jake for over a decade and he embodies the same youthful passion for civic engagement that Maryellen, myself, and our friends had at that age.”
Hassett said Bissaillon “served admirably” as chief of staff for the Providence City Council.
“Together, we worked on numerous issues to improve the quality of life on Smith Hill, including road repaving, a streetscape improvement program, and numerous Community Development Block Grant programs to assist the underprivileged and underserved,” he said. “Jake understands that affordable housing, safe, and clean streets, and education are the bedrock of strong communities, and I believe his dedication to public service will improve Smith Hill, Elmhurst, and the North End of Providence.”
Bissaillon, who now works as chief of staff to Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, thanked Hassett for his support.
“Terry has cared deeply about our community and improving the lives of others since he was a teenager hosting block parties on Lennon Street to introduce his neighbors to their elected officials,” he said. “I have immense respect for Terry Hassett’s 25 years of unwavering commitment to our city. His dedication to public service is inspiring and has made a profound impact on Providence — and me. I am truly humbled to receive his endorsement, and I hope to continue his legacy of strong leadership and service to our community.”
State Representative Nathan Biah, a Providence Democrat, dropped out of the First Congressional District race to run for the Senate District 1 seat, and Democrat Michelle Rivera, policy director at Progreso Latino, and Niyoka Powell, second vice chairwoman of the Rhode Island Republican Party, are running for the seat.
Singer Vanessa Carlton endorses Regunberg
Carlton — who lives in Rhode Island, where she has become an outspoken local environmental activist — will also be headlining an end-of-quarter Zoom fundraiser on June 27 for Regunberg’s campaign alongside other high-profile supporters, including human rights lawyer Steven Donziger and Working Families Party’s national Director Maurice Mitchell.
“Rhode Island is my adopted home,” Carlton said. “It’s where my husband and I are raising our daughter. That’s why I’m so excited about Aaron’s campaign. Aaron and I share a passion for restoring the environment and protecting frontline communities that are most impacted by pollution. He’s someone I trust to stand up to corporate special interests in order to fight for the healthy, livable future that all our children deserve. Aaron is the future and I’m all in!”
Regunberg said his generation grew up on Carlton’s music. “But that’s not the only reason it’s so cool to have her support in this race,” he said. “Since moving to Rhode Island, Vanessa has invested incredible time and energy into local environmental activism. She really cares about our community. So I couldn’t be more honored to have her endorsement. And I’m super excited to join her and other supporters for our end-of-quarter event.”
Matos endorsed by Elect Democratic Women
Elect Democratic Women, a PAC formed by Democratic members of Congress to elect more Democratic women to Congress, on Tuesday endorsed Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos in the First Congressional District race.
“Sabina has been an active member in her community, leading with passion, determination, and empathy,” said Representative Lois Frankel, a Florida Democrat who is chairperson of the group. “At a time when anti-choice Republicans are repeatedly attacking women’s rights, Sabina has been at the forefront of protecting a woman’s right to reproductive freedom.”
During her 10 years on the Providence City Council and now as lieutenant governor, Matos has advocated for affordable housing, strong gun safety laws, and expanded voting rights, Frankel said. “It is clear that she is the right voice for Rhode Island to meet this moment and will make a great congresswoman,” she said.
Matos said she was honored to receive the endorsement. “With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and the constant dismantling of women’s reproductive rights across the country, we need leaders in Congress who are going to fight for women and protect their right to reproductive freedom,” she said. “I would be proud to stand alongside the members of Elect Democratic Women in Congress to ensure that our rights are protected and I am grateful for their support.”
Monday, June 12
Mayor Grebien endorses Senator Cano for Congress
Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien on Monday endorsed state Senator Sandra Cano in the First Congressional District race.
Cano, a Pawtucket Democrat, works as the city’s director of commerce, and she is one of 15 Democrats vying for the seat the David N. Cicilline vacated June 1 to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
Grebien, who had considered running for the seat himself, was joined by Pawtucket City Council President Terrence Mercer and City Council members Michael A. Araujo, Roberto H. Moreno, Yesenia Rubio, Mark J. Wildenhain, Neicy Coderre, and Marlena Martins Stachowiak, plus the entire Pawtucket School Committee: chairman James T. Chellel Jr., deputy chairwoman Kimberly Grant, Joanne Bonollo, Jennifer Carney, Gerard Charbonneau, Erin Dube, and Marsha Fernandes.
“Sandra Cano has done the work of making our city a better place,” Grebien said, noting she served on the School Committee and City Council, and now serves as chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee. “Sandra understands the problems confronting our residents every day. As a mother, former credit union banker, and now as commerce director for the City of Pawtucket, she knows, firsthand, what it takes to help people.”
Grebien said Cano has never lost a race. “Over the years she has earned our votes with action,” he said. “Her passion and life experiences are what we need in Congress.”
Cano said she appreciates the support. “It is so heartwarming that my friends and colleagues in Pawtucket are coming out in force to support my campaign,” she said. “Mayor Grebien’s support means a lot because he’s been by my side as a friend, confidant, and adviser ever since my first campaign for School Committee. I am running for Congress to be an advocate for the people — for our community and for hardworking Rhode Islanders.”
Highland Park, Ill. mayor endorses Amo for Congress in R.I.
The mayor Highland Park, Ill. — the site of a mass shooting at an Independence Day parade last year — on Monday endorsed Gabe Amo in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District race as Amo spelled out his legislative priorities on gun violence.
In 2022, Mayor Nancy Rotering led her city through a time of tragedy following a shooting that left seven dead and 48 injured. As President Joe Biden’s deputy director for intergovernmental affairs, Amo was the initial federal government contact for Rotering.
“When my city was the victim of a mass shooting, a fate that far too many communities in the United States know, Gabe provided immediate support,” Rotering said. “He was a constant source of communication from Washington, D.C., and helped to kick start the process of healing in Highland Park.”
She noted that some people will wonder why the mayor of a city in Illinois is asking voters in Rhode Island to support Amo. “The answer is clear: gun violence is a crisis that affects all of us,” she said. “Gabe will champion the necessary types of federal solutions as your next US Representative, and I hope you join me in supporting Gabe Amo for Congress.”
Amo outlined his gun safety legislative priorities, saying, “My top four goals are to finally achieve universal background checks, pass red flag laws, ban assault-style weapons, and build on the progress of the Biden-Harris Administration and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act by increasing our investments in gun violence prevention research.”
Amo thanked Rotering for her support, saying, “When we come together, to tackle this issue and so many others, we are able to make progress in our country. I look forward to working on behalf of Rhode Islanders every single day in the United States Congress to make their lives better and to make all of our communities safer.”
Internal poll shows Matos leading R.I. race for Congress
Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos’ campaign on Monday said a new internal poll shows her leading by double digits in the crowded Democrat field for the First Congressional District seat.
The polling memo shows Matos leading the 15 Democratic candidates with the support of 22 percent of likely voters in the Sept. 5 primary for the seat the David N. Cicilline vacated on June 1 to lead the Rhode Island Foundation.
Former state representative J. Aaron Regunburg trails at 9 percent, state Senator Sandra Cano at 6 percent, Providence City Councilman John Gonsalves at 5 percent, and House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin L. Abney at 4 percent. They are followed by former Raimondo administration aide Nick Autiello and former Biden White House aide Gabe Amo at 3 percent each, plus Representative Stephen Casey, renewable energy investor Don Carlson, and Senator Ana B. Quezada at 2 percent each, according to the poll.
No independent polling has been done on the First Congressional District race. But the Matos campaign hired Pete Brodnitz of Expedition Strategies to conduct an internal poll June 5-8. The pollster interviewed 400 respondents who are registered to vote and likely to vote in the primary. The margin of error for overall results is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
“I first decided to get into this race, thanks to an outpouring of calls and support from voters across Rhode Island, encouraging me to run,” Matos said. “There’s so much at stake — abortion rights, protecting our democracy, housing costs, and keeping our community safe from guns. These are exactly the issues I’ve been working on for more than a decade in public leadership and I’m grateful that voters have confidence in me to continue working on their behalf.”
Matos campaign manager Brexton Isaacs said, “These results are affirmation that Sabina Matos is the commanding frontrunner for Rhode Island’s First District special election. Even in a crowded field, this poll confirms that voters recognize Sabina’s record of leadership and experience on the issues that matter most to Rhode Island families. We look forward to continuing to connect with voters to earn their support in the final weeks of this campaign.”
Erik Balsbaugh, a consultant for the Goncalves campaign, said, “All this poll shows is that this race is wide open. Half of the voters are still undecided. John is one of the top contenders in this race – even though our campaign hasn’t yet spent a cent on paid media like some of our opponents. He’s leading the field in reaching out to voters and we expect his numbers to climb through the summer.”
CWA Local 1400 endorses Regunberg for Congress
Communications Workers of America Local 1400 on Monday endorsed former state representative J. Aaron Regunberg in the First Congressional District race, marking the first union endorsement in the race.
Regunberg, a Providence Democrat, is one of 15 Democrats running for the seat that David N. Cicilline vacated on June 1 to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
CWA Local 1400 represents workers in the telecommunications, tech, media, utilities, and other sectors across New England.
“Aaron Regunberg has always walked the walk when it comes to taking on corporate greed and supporting workers,” said Don Trementozzi, president of CWA Local 1400. “When our members at Verizon were striking, we didn’t need to wonder whether Aaron would be with us — he was there at the picket line every day. Rhode Island workers have benefited from Aaron’s leadership already, on issues from paid sick days to higher wages. In Congress, we know he’ll continue to fight for working people, which is why CWA members are excited to knock on doors, make phone calls, and help turn out the vote to elect Aaron Regunberg in September.”
Regunberg said he is honored to receive the union’s support.
“The labor movement built this country’s middle class, full stop, and unions like CWA are by far the most powerful tool working people have to win a real voice in our government,” he said. “I’m excited to continue standing with the members of Local 1400 to fight for an economy that works for all of us, not just corporate CEOs and their bought-and-paid-for Republican allies.”
Progressive veterans group endorses Berbrick for Congress
New Politics, a progressive group of veterans and national security leaders, on Monday endorsed Democratic former Naval officer and Naval War College professor Walter Berbrick in the First Congressional District race.
New Politics, a bipartisan organization, supports veterans and national security leaders running for office across the country. They have endorsed veterans in Congress, including Massachusetts Representatives Seth Moulton and Jake Auchincloss, Virginia Representative Abigail Spanberger, and others.
“As a proud Rhode Islander, veteran, and educator, Walter has made his life’s work building bridges between leaders in our government and defending our country and communities from military threats and climate change,” said Emily Cherniack, founder and executive director of New Politics. “We’re proud to endorse this brilliant, forward-thinking servant leader who puts the needs of others and our country first, and I can’t wait to see the impact he makes when he gets to Washington.”
Berbrick said he is grateful for the endorsement. “Throughout my 17 years in public service, I have worked with great leaders across our military and government, and learn by their example,” he said. “The most important lessons I’ve learned are the simple ones: Always listen, be honest, and work hard. I will continue to follow these principles in Congress to represent the people of Rhode Island’s First District.”
Sunday, June 11
R.I. congressional candidate Gabe Amo endorsed by former White House chief of staff Ron Klain
Former White House chief of staff Ron Klain is endorsing Gabe Amo in the First Congressional District race, Amo’s campaign announced Sunday.
Amo, who served as special assistant to President Joe Biden and deputy director of intergovernmental affairs, is one of 15 Democrats running for the seat David N. Cicilline vacated June 1 to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
In a tweet, Klain said, “Just had a great chat with @gabeamo — who did great work in biden WH and now running for congress in RI. He’d be a huge force for progress on Capitol Hill. Gabe knows how to produce effective change we need in DC!”
Amo said he was grateful for Klain’s support. “Under his leadership, President Biden’s agenda created millions of jobs, had historic legislative wins, and delivered for Americans,” he said. “In Congress, I’ll use my experience to take on big fights for Rhode Islanders.”
Thursday, June 8
Quezada endorsed by Roias and Azar
State Senator Ana Quezada, a candidate for Congress, on Thursday announced endorsements from Providence City Council member Justin Roias (Ward 4) and Lincoln Town Council member Pamela Azar (District 4).
Quezada, a Providence Democrat, is one of 15 Democrats running for the First Congressional District seat that US Representative David N. Cicilline vacated on June 1 to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
Roias – the brother of Quezada’s campaign manager, Jason Roias – said, “Ana Quezada is the only candidate I trust to truly wage a relentless, real, and authentic fight for Rhode Island in Washington. She’s not here just to enhance her media exposure or seize a convenient career opportunity. Ana is a straight shooter with an independent mind who is dedicated to changing the material conditions of people’s lives. She’s not an empty suit, but a principled advocate who is driven by a genuine passion for making a tangible difference”
Azar said she had planned to run for this First Congressional District seat herself.
“But I felt confident standing down because Ana Quezada is the fighter we need,” she said. “Like her, I know what it’s like to be a mother raising a family and needing the safety net of public assistance. That experience shapes you and keeps you grounded in a way that some of these candidates will never understand. She fought hard to get where she is today, and that same toughness will make her an ideal advocate for Rhode Island in Congress.”
Quezada said she is thankful for their support. “As municipal officials, they truly understand what our communities want and need,” she said. “By adding their voices to this fight, they’re showing that our campaign has support across the district at every level.”
Monday, June 5
Biah will run for state Senate instead of Congress
State Representative Nathan Biah on Monday announced that he will end his campaign for the First Congressional District seat and instead run for the state Senate District 1 seat left vacant by the death of Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin.
Biah exits a race that includes 15 other Democrats who are vying to replace US Representative David N. Cicilline, who stepped down last week to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
And he enters a race that is expected to include three other Democrats — Jake Bissaillon, chief of staff to Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio; Michelle Rivera, policy director at Progreso Latino; and Terrence M. Hassett, a former longtime Providence City Council member — and Republican Niyoka Powell, second vice chairwoman of the Rhode Island GOP.
Biah, a Providence Democrat, said he is running for the same reasons he initially entered the congressional race — “to give every child access to a good public education; strengthen gun laws and enforce our existing laws to make sure everyone is safe, no matter their zip code; and help people get good jobs that pay a living wage.”
“Maryellen Goodwin was a mentor to me and a passionate advocate for our district,” Biah said. “We spent nearly three years working together as colleagues in the General Assembly and I am excited to build on her legacy of leadership as a member of the Senate.”
Biah works as the principal of the Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence. He was born in Liberia and came to the United States as a refugee from the Liberian Civil War. He worked as an extractor operator at the Worcester Textile Company in North Providence while earning a GED and then attending Rhode Island College.
”I entered politics to solve the problems I see every day as a principal and a father,” Biah said. “Whether it’s gun violence, untreated mental health problems, housing insecurity, or the lack of good jobs — every problem we face as a state and as a nation ends up walking through the doors of a public school. I have been a leader in addressing those challenges and will continue to do so as a State Senator.”
East Providence Mayor DaSilva won’t run for congressional seat
East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva won’t run for the First Congressional District seat, he told reporters Monday.
“There’s much too much work to be done here in the city of East Providence,” DaSilva, a second-term Democrat and former state representative, said outside a Day of Portugal celebration at City Hall. “We’ve started a lot of it, and I want to see it come to completion.”
The seat was vacated as of last week by David N. Cicilline, who’s taking over the helm at the Rhode Island Foundation.
DaSilva said he’s undecided about endorsing a successor for Cicilline. Some of the crowded Democratic field that may try to get the support of DaSilva, a popular incumbent in this vote-rich municipality, were in the crowd at Monday’s celebration, including state senators Ana Quezada and Sandra Cano, who gave joint comments, and renewable energy investor Don Carlson.
The primary is Sept. 5, and the general is Nov. 7.
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 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
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’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.
“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, 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.