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In the news: Gabe Amo

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In the news: Gabe Amo
Gabe Amo COURTESY PHOTO

Gabe Amo, a former White House aide and son of West African immigrants, has won the Democratic nomination to represent one of Rhode Island’s two congressional districts in the U.S. House.

In the Sept. 5 special primary election, Amo captured 32% of the vote, topping a field of 12 candidates running to succeed David Cicciline, who resigned to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. Six other candidates of color competed in the First Congressional District race.

Amo, 35, is in line to become the first person of color the state has sent to Congress. He faces the Republican nominee, Gerry Leonard, a former Marine, in the Nov. 7 general election. The last time the district elected a Republican was 30 years ago.

Amo was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, near the Massachusetts border to a mother from Liberia and a father from Ghana. Their son graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, and received a Marshall Scholarship to continue his studies at Oxford.

In the Obama administration, Amo worked in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs as a liaison to governors and other state officials. He returned to Rhode Island to serve as director of public engagement and community affairs.

Amo did a second tour in Washington as deputy director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and special assistant to President Biden, working as his principal liaison to mayors and local elected officials.

“I’ve said from day one Rhode Islanders deserve someone who can be effective from day one,” Amo told reporters on primary night. “I’m going to use all that experience I built in Washington and working here in Rhode Island to connect to the key priorities of so many people throughout the first district.”

During the campaign, Amo has vowed to push for a ban on assault-style weapons, making Roe v. Wade an abortion rights federal law, “forcing the uber-wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes” and “rolling back” the Supreme Court’s changes to the Voting Rights Act.