Rhode Island Elects Its First Black Congressman

Gabe Amo is the son of immigrants from West Africa


Gabe Amo meets with members of the press at an election results party after his win in the Democratic primary for Rhode Island's 1st Congressional district, Sept. 5, 2023 in Pawtucket, R.I. (David Delpioio/Providence Journal via AP, File)

Democrat Gabe Amo has made history in Rhode Island, becoming the state's first Black member of Congress. The 35-year-old defeated GOP challenger Gerry Leonard on Tuesday, reports the AP. Amo is the son of Ghanian and Liberian immigrants, and he has served in both the Biden and Obama administrations. "Just because my parents were born in two different West African countries, (it) doesn't mean it doesn't fit that narrative of how Rhode Island has been a haven for so many people from so many different places to thrive and build their families," Amo said following his relatively easy primary win .

Amo on Tuesday won a special election to succeed Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, and he is expected to be sworn in by the end of next week, per WPRI. This was Amo's first time seeking elected office, but he will have to run again next year to keep his seat. His most recent White House post was as deputy director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Cicilline stepped down to become CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.