Anchor Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE, R.I., -- Governor Dan McKee has selected Providence City Council President Sabina Matos to be the next Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island. The Lieutenant Governor’s position has been vacant since former-Governor Gina Raimondo’s departure to become President Biden’s Commerce Secretary.
Other finalists for the position such as former-Mayor of Central Falls James Diossa congratulated Matos on Twitter saying, “Congratulations to Council President @Sabina_Matos on her nomination! Wishing her and @GovDanMcKee all the best!”
In addition, Aaron Regunberg, who was exploring a second run for the office in the 2022 election after losing to then-Lieutenant Governor McKee in the 2018 election, said, “Congrats to Council Pres Matos on her selection as Lt. Gov. McKee has made a great choice, and I wish incoming LG Matos the best as she takes on this new role. With all the challenges we face, we must all pull together to fight for the people of RI. We’ve got a lot of work ahead.”
In 2010, Matos was first elected to the Providence City Council representing Ward 15. Five years later in 2015, she became the City Council’s president pro tempore. Four years after that, she became City Council President.
Matos is a Rhode Island College alumni, graduating in May of 2001 with a BA in Communications and Public Relations.
Her council seat will remain vacant until a special election can be held once she is sworn in as Lieutenant Governor following her confirmation by the Rhode Island State Senate. Potential candidates for her vacated council seat are Oscar Vargas, who narrowly lost to her in 2018, Santos Javier, and Doris De Los Santos, who had run for State Senate District 7 twice and lost to Senator Frank Ciccone, III.
City Councilman John Igliozzi, the current longest-serving council member, will temporarily become City Council President due to a vacancy in the council president pro tempore position following Councilman Michael Correia’s resignation in December. Igliozzi is currently attempting to build support from his colleagues to formally select him as City Council President for the remainder of his last term in the council which ends in 2022.
This also changes the landscape for the 2022 Providence Mayoral election since Matos was expected to run for Mayor after serving her final term on the City Council. Statehouse insiders now anticipate the race will be between Gonzalo Cuervo, Brett Smiley, and City Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune. The primary could end up being very competitive, and Matos’ endorsement will be one that could tip the election in one of the candidates’ favor. However, there could still be more candidates who announce they are running for Mayor as Councilmembers Igliozzi and David Salvatore are both term-limited themselves in 2022. Additionally, insiders speculate State Representative Raymond Hull of District 6 is eyeing a Mayoral run as well. That is without considering the possibilities of who could run as an Independent or Republican which is up in the air, but very possible now that there is no incumbent on the ticket.
Politically, Matos could help McKee in what will probably be a packed Democratic primary. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, and General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, all of whom are term-limited in 2022, are anticipated to join the Gubernatorial race.
Once confirmed by the Senate, Matos could end up being in that position for 10 years if re-elected in both 2022 and 2026. This also simultaneously makes her the favorite for Governor if McKee were to opt-out of running for re-election or in a 2030 Democratic primary when McKee would be term-limited.