The first-ever Black person elected to Congress from the state of Rhode Island is now an official member of one of the most exclusive and influential clubs on Capitol Hill.
Gabe Amo on Tuesday was sworn into the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), one day after the Democrat took the oath of office for Congress and less than a week after he was determined the winner of a special election in Rhode Island to replace U.S. Rep. David Cicilline.
The son of West African immigrants from Ghana and Liberia, Amo notably previously served as a White House aide for both the Obama and Biden administrations before running for office in his home state. Amo won his race with about 65% of the vote in a landslide victory.
It was decidedly in that context that CBC Chairman and Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford issued a statement officially welcoming Amo to the club:
Today, the Congressional Black Caucus is proud to welcome U.S. Representative Gabe Amo as the Caucus’ historic 60th member, and the first person of color to represent Rhode Island in the House of Representatives. Born to Ghanaian and Liberian immigrants, Rep. Amo would go on to be a trusted advisor in the Obama-Biden and Biden-Harris Administrations, and will now serve Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District and our country at a pivotal time in our nation’s history. Rep. Amo will bring to the CBC and the House Democratic Caucus a diversity of lived experience and a shared commitment to standing up to extreme Republicans, keeping our communities safe, and protecting our fundamental freedoms.
Amo, who turns 36 next month, smashed racial barriers with his victory last week, which he acknowledged when he was sworn into Congress on Monday. He looked to his own African heritage and said he was following in the footsteps of Rev. Mahlon Van Horne, the first Black person elected to Rhode Island’s General Assembly.
“Reverend Van Horne’s dream and the dreams of those who have called Rhode Island home across generations allow me to stand before you today,” Amo said during the ceremony. “And while we have not arrived at our final destination in this project of our democracy, I am optimistic. As a Rhode Islander, it’s easy for me. After all, our state motto is ‘Hope.’ It is hope that led my parents to come from West Africa – my dad from Ghana, my mom from Liberia – to pursue opportunity in the greatest country in the world.”
After securing his congressional victory, the Wheaton College grad told the Associated Press on Election Night that he was grateful for the support but also ready to get to work.
“Undoubtedly, I’m humbled by the real momentous opportunity to serve as the first person of color,” Amo said. “But I didn’t run to make history. I’m going to be a voice for making sure we can restore confidence and trust despite the Republican Party that is rife with chaos.”
Amo has outlined his legislative priorities and said he plans to fight to protect Social Security and Medicare, work to legalize abortion rights nationwide and fight climate change.
“I certainly believe I am part of a generational shift that has been underway before me,” Amo said.
House Minority Leader and fellow CBC member Hakeem Jeffries immediately assigned Amo to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Amo was part of a group of historic and victorious Black candidates who won big for Democrats last week.
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Congressional Black Caucus Swears In 60th Member, Gabe Amo, Newly Elected US Rep From Rhode Island was originally published on newsone.com
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