By ALEX MALM It's been a week since United States Congressman Jim Langevin stunned the Rhode Island political world when he announced that he wouldn't seek a 12th term in the U.S. House of Representatives this fall. Since then one of the biggest
It’s been a week since United States Congressman Jim Langevin stunned the Rhode Island political world when he announced that he wouldn’t seek a 12th term in the U.S. House of Representatives this fall.
Since then one of the biggest questions across Rhode Island has been who will be running in the first open Congressional seat in Rhode Island since 2010. The list of those considering or who are running for sure includes a number of people from Warwick and Cranston including Joy Fox, the former editor of the Cranston Herald who said she is seriously considering a run for Congress, and Ed Pacheco a Warwick resident who announced his bid for the seat on Monday.
Bob Lancia, a former State Representative for Cranston who ran against Langevin last year, will be running again in 2022. Lancia announced last February before Langevin made his announcement.
“I was asked a while back, ‘What’s the biggest problem with the government?” said Lancia. “ My answer, ‘selfishness vs. selflessness’ I remain active in the community because I personally believe that public service never ends. “There is no doubt in my mind that I am the best person to help lead Rhode Island through these tough times. Following the announcement almost one year ago that I would once again be running for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District, I have worked tirelessly to prove that I am a leader people can trust. As the only Republican candidate to officially enter this race (FEC Filing), I look forward to continuing that work into November.”
The first to enter the Democratic Primary wasn’t an elected official past or present.
Omar Bah the founder and executive director of Refugee Dream Center and a refugee from The Gambia in West Africa announced that he plans on running fit Congress over the weekend.
“I wish to confirm that I plan to run for US Congress. When Congressman Langevin recently announced his retirement, I saw a great opportunity to once again manifest the amazing opportunities I have had in this country since my arrival here as a refugee,” said Bah in a statement. “I will run as a Democrat but my hope is to help in uniting the country, represent the diversity and experiences of people in this country, and to build and promote a moderate tone in Washington. There are numerous issues to tackle such as safe and affordable housing, healthcare, education, homelessness, crime, and climate change. I am not a career politician and therefore hope to help minimize the political polarization and promote the interest of the American people, especially Rhode Islanders. I also hope to be a source of inspiration for folks from various ethnicities who might as a result have the audacity to try out the American Dream and the possibilities abound.”
Pacheco, a former State Representative and Chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party announced that he would be a candidate for the race on Monday.
At the age of 19 Pacheco was the youngest elected official in Rhode Island history, according to his announcement when he joined the Burrillville School Committee. Following that he became State Representative for Burrillville and Glocester.
“This is a pivotal moment in our country’s history. Every day it feels as though we are being pulled further apart and the very fabric of our democracy is under attack. It’s as though politicians in Washington have forgotten us and are more interested in political gamesmanship than focusing on the people who elected them. Now more than ever, we can no longer sit on the sidelines,” said Pacheco. “We must come together to advocate for what is best for our community, our state and our nation.”
Pacheco currently resides in the Riverview neighborhood of Warwick with his wife and two kids. His daughter, a graduate of Warwick Neck Elementary School attends Warwick Veterans Middle School and his son attends International Charter School in Pawtucket.
In his announcement Pacheco listed 50 people who are supporting him including elected officials past and present, along with community members.
On the list of those who have said they will be supporting Pacheco is Warwick City Councilman Anthony Sinapi along with former State Representative from Warwick Frank Ferri.
Former Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, who ran unsuccessfully against Lanegevin in the 2000 Democratic Primary will serve as the campaign’s Honorary Chairperson.
“I am proud to support Ed Pacheco in his campaign for Rhode Island’s second congressional district,” said Taveras. “ I have known Ed for years, he is a person of integrity that will fight for us in Washington and will always listen to the diverse voices across our community.”
State Senator Jessica de la Cruz also announced that she would be a contender in the race.
There are a number of different candidates currently considering a bid on both sides of the aisle.
For the Republicans former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung said that he is seriously considering a run for the seat.
“It’s been a whirlwind since Congressman Langevin’s surprise announcement. Since then I’ve been talking to people nationally and locally about the Congressional race and am taking a serious look at the entire chessboard. I will take some time to thoughtfully think about this race,” said Fung. “One thing I know already is that many Rhode Islanders, especially those in the district, are frustrated with everything going on right now and are desperately yearning for change.”
In Warwick former State Senator, and current Toll Gate High School teacher James Sheehan said that he was considering a run last week. Sheehan in a statement last week said that he is “taking some time to discuss a possible run with my family, friends and others,” as he considers a run for the seat.
“My passion for public service rose out of a deep and abiding concern about how our government best served the interests of the people of nation [and state],” said Sheehan. “But, after the attack on our United States Capitol -- an apparent attempt to block the certification of the election of Joe Biden -- improving our government alone seems woefully inadequate. We must safeguard our democratic system of government. Our American Republic is in peril.”
“Accordingly, voters of District 2, need to elect a congressman whose power of persuasion can pierce through the media echo chambers to help rebuild a consensus of facts upon which common ground may be found,” Sheehan’s statement went on to read. “We also need a congressman who is capable and willing to compromise and whose ideals can remind his/her colleagues what truly makes America great: our shared history, diversity and Constitution.”
Fox, who grew up in Cranston and currently lives in Warwick, has been in the thick of Rhode Island politics for years, most recently serving as the Director of Communications to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo.
Before that she was Raimondo's Transition Director and a Deputy Campaign Manager. She also served as a Deputy Chief of Staff handling communications when Raimondo served as Rhode Island General Treasurer. Fox has also served as the Director of Communications and Community Relations for Langevin and as the Senior Information/Public Relations Specialist for the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
Now Fox is CEO of Clarendon Group. She also serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees for Sophia Academy in Providence.
State Senator Josh Miller as of Monday said that he is continuing to consider a run.
“I continue to seriously consider a campaign to represent Rhode Island's 2nd Congressional District,” said Miller. “Over the last few days I've discussed the possibility with family and friends, and I’ve been humbled by the many people who have reached out to offer support and have encouraged me to run. I believe the person who represents this Congressional district should have experience working to build consensus among people with differing opinions, understands and embraces the Rhode Island values of hard work and commitment to community, and be ready to work tirelessly for the economic well-being of all people in our state. In the coming days, I will continue to consider my candidacy with my family and will make a determination based on how I can best serve the people of our great state.”
State Senator Sam Bell from Providence is also considering a run but is waiting on a diagnosis for his six weeks old son who was born with health complications before he makes the decision.
Dylan Conley, who ran unsuccessfully last year against Langevin in the Democratic Primary said on Monday that he hasn’t made a decision on whether or not he's going to run.
On Friday Warwick City Council President Steve McAllister announced that he wouldn’t be entering the race.
“I was pleasantly surprised how many people from Warwick asked me to consider running for Congress. As City Council President we are doing big things here in Warwick, so I am going to run for re-election to the city council,” said McAllister. “But, I look forward to watching that race and working with the next Congressman or Congresswoman to help strengthen Warwick and our state.”
Another Warwick elected official who was considering a run was House District 24 Rep. Evan Shanley.
On Monday Shanley announced that he was no longer considering noting that it would be difficult to leave the State.
House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi last week said that he wouldn’t be running for the seat. Some thought that he could be a frontrunner in the race if he decided to run.
Cranston School Committee member David Alden Sears said on social media Tuesday that he was no longer considering a bid for the seat.
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