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Providence Councilman John Goncalves enters First Congressional District special election

Raymond Baccari

Editor-in-Chief

Photo via John Goncalves's campaign

The field of candidates to replace outgoing Rep. David Cicilline continues to grow. Providence Ward 1 City Councilman, John Goncalves, is the latest candidate to enter the race for this soon-to-be-open congressional district.


“Many people are struggling, and in Congress, we’ll be fighting to cut costs for Rhode Islanders, and also be fighting for economic justice, housing, good jobs, education, climate justice, gun violence prevention, reproductive rights and ultimately a more prosperous Rhode Island for our state's working families,” Goncalves said in a statement Monday.


In his statement, Goncalves also highlighted his background as an educator, councilman and two-time alumnus of Brown University.


“As a millennial, a male of color, an elementary school teacher, a Providence Councilman, 2 time Brown University graduate, a lifelong East Side of Providence resident and Rhode Islander, I bring many diverse perspectives and experiences that could serve as a critical voice for Rhode Islanders nationally,” Goncalves said. “We need responsive and effective leadership with a bold plan and vision for the first congressional district.”


Goncalves’s ward in the Providence City Council is located on the East side of Providence, consisting of the Fox Point, Wayland Square, College Hill, The Jewelry District and Downtown Providence neighborhoods. On the council, he is currently chairman of the Committee on State Legislative Affairs, chairman of the Committee on City Property and chairman of the Committee on Claims and Pending Suits. He was first elected to serve as Ward 1’s city councilor in a 2020 special election and recently won reelection to a four-year term in 2022.


Goncalves would be the first-ever African American to represent Rhode Island in Congress if elected.


Alongside Goncalves’s entry, there are even more candidates either exploring a run or are expected to announce their candidacy soon.


Aaron Regunberg, a former state representative for House District 4 and 2018 candidate for lieutenant governor, is exploring a run.


State Rep. Stephen Casey (D-Dist. 50) is expected to announce a campaign for the seat soon. Casey is also a firefighter for the city of Woonsocket.


Several other Democrats have thrown their hats into the race. This list includes Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, State Rep. Nathan Biah (D-Dist. 3), State Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8), Allen Waters, who ran as the GOP nominee for this seat in 2022, Nick Autiello, a former senior aide for Gov. Raimondo’s Commerce department and Mickeda Barnes.


At the time of publication, there are no Republican candidates who have filed to run. Aaron Guckian said on Twitter following Cicilline’s announcement that he’s exploring a run. Guckian is expected to announce a final decision within the next couple of weeks.

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