Democrat Gabe Amo defeated Republican Gerry Leonard to win Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District seat Tuesday, changing into the state’s first Black candidate elected to Congress.
Amo, the son of Ghanaian and Liberian immigrants who as soon as labored as a White Home aide, succeeds former Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who stepped down this summer time to turn into president and CEO of the Rhode Island Basis.
Moments after the race was referred to as in his favor, Amo mentioned he was grateful to have the ability to serve the district and state he loves.
“Undoubtedly, I’m humbled by the actual momentous alternative to function the primary individual of shade,” Amo advised The Related Press earlier than strolling out to handle his supporters. “However I didn’t run to make historical past.”
Amo, 35, mentioned he sees himself as a part of an extended line of advocates who got here earlier than him, whether or not they had been folks of shade or these combating for the rights of girl or the working class.
“For Rhode Island it’s been fascinating to have an immigrant story that everybody can relate to,” he mentioned.
Amo mentioned considered one of his prime priorities on arriving in Washington will probably be to assist be certain that the federal authorities begins to perform once more.
He mentioned he may also work to combat gun violence and defend Social Safety.
“I’m going to be a voice for ensuring we will restore confidence and belief regardless of the Republican Celebration that’s rife with chaos,” he mentioned.
Amo, who grew up in Pawtucket, emerged victorious from a crowded Democratic discipline within the September main, claiming greater than 32% of the vote.
He served within the Obama and Biden administrations, most lately because the deputy director of the White Home Workplace of Intergovernmental Affairs. He additionally served at one level within the administration of then-Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo.
Amo, who went to Wheaton Faculty and studied public coverage at Oxford College, has mentioned he was impressed by the drive of his mother and father. His mom studied nursing and his father opened a liquor retailer partially so he could possibly be his personal boss.
“Simply because my mother and father had been born in two totally different West African nations, (it) doesn’t imply it doesn’t match that narrative of how Rhode Island has been a haven for therefore many individuals from so many various locations to thrive and construct their households,” Amo mentioned after his main win.
Throughout the main, Amo gained the endorsement of former Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who represented the district from 1995 to 2011.
Amo mentioned he would combat towards what he described as extremist Republican makes an attempt to slash funding for Social Safety and Medicare. He additionally mentioned he would work to legalize abortion rights nationwide once more and combat for extra laws on the federal stage to fight local weather change.
He mentioned he may also combat to ban assault-style firearms, help funding for analysis into gun violence prevention on the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, and implement common background checks.
His win marks an ongoing transition away from the state’s Italian American political hierarchy, which was embodied by the late Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, Windfall’s charismatic longtime mayor who went to jail for corruption.
“I definitely consider I’m a part of a generational shift that has been underway earlier than me,” Amo mentioned.
Amo defeated Leonard, a U.S. Marine veteran who gained the two-candidate GOP main.
The Republican had criticized “Bidenomics,” saying Biden’s financial plan hasn’t helped peculiar residents. He additionally mentioned he helps U.S. efforts to help Ukraine in its warfare towards Russia.
The final Republican to characterize the first Congressional District was Ron Machtley, who served from 1989-1995.