Matos nomination heads to full Senate for approval

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve the nomination of Sabina A. Matos as lieutenant governor on Thursday. The nomination will now move to the full Senate for consideration, and a final vote on April 13.

Gov. Daniel J. McKee, who selected Matos from among 80 applicants, said, “It’s time to leverage the lieutenant governor’s office, and Sabina is the right person to do the job.” McKee asked the Senate to strongly consider moving the nomination along to the Senate floor.

McKee said, “Having been lieutenant governor, I know the good work the office can do. The lieutenant governor leads the small-business advocacy council, the long-term care coordinating council, and the emergency management advisory council. Sabina is ready to take on these responsibilities from her first day in office.”

Matos said she felt “honored to be nominated as Rhode Island’s next lieutenant governor. This is a privilege I never dreamed of when I arrived in this country in 1994 from the Dominican Republic. This is an example of the greatness of the United States and the opportunities provided here.

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“I’m grateful to Gov. McKee for asking me to serve as the lieutenant governor, and I am humbled by his trust in me,” said Matos, who noted the role her parents played in her upbringing. “My father was the mayor of my hometown and my mother was a teacher for 17 years.”

Matos said she “learned public service by watching them serve our community. I learned honesty, respect and dedication from them.”

McKee nominated Matos on March 31 during a ceremony held on the steps of the Statehouse. Matos was nominated almost a month after former Gov. Gina M. Raimondo resigned to become the U.S. commerce secretary and McKee was sworn in as governor on March 2.

Matos, 47, a first-generation immigrant, is the Providence City Council president and has served on the council representing Ward 15 since 2010. She was the first Latina council president pro tempore in Providence’s history and the city’s first Latina council president.

If confirmed on Tuesday, Matos would be the first Afro-Latina to serve as Rhode Island’s second-in-command and earn a salary of $123,000. As lieutenant governor, she will serve in primarily an advisory role with no authority over policy decisions. The office has a budget of about $1 million and support staff at its 82 Smith St. address at the Statehouse.

Cassius Shuman is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Shuman@PBN.com.

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