Pawtucket Sen. Cano to run for Congress

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s latest congressional race grew by one candidate on Monday.

Sen. Sandra Cano, D-Pawtucket, announced that she is running to succeed Rep. David N. Cicilline in the U.S. House. Cicilline on June 1 will shift his role from being a congressman to becoming the next CEO and president of the Rhode Island Foundation.

Cano, a Democrat who was first elected to the R.I. Senate in 2018 and is the wife of R.I. Treasurer James Diossa, is currently the chairwoman of the Senate education committee and is a member of the Senate finance committee. On Monday, she told Providence Business News it was a personal decision to go for Cicilline’s seat in Congress. Cano said once Cicilline announced his new role with the Rhode Island Foundation and after speaking with both family and community members, she felt going for Congress now is “the right time for me to continue service.”

In addition to looking to work to protect workers’ rights, Cano said she if elected she wants to advocate for a woman’s right to choose, much like how she helped champion the state’s Reproductive Privacy Act, as well as advocate for the environment similar to how she co-sponsored and supported the passage of the Act on Climate.

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“I want to be a leader who will continue the advocacy of Rep. Cicilline after he leaves and protect the right of workers,” Cano said, “and most importantly, make sure our working families are very well represented in Congress.”

Cano’s announcement comes a week after Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos – a fellow Democrat – threw her respective hat into the ring. As of now, there will be a Democratic primary, with election dates still to be determined, unless candidates suspend their campaigns beforehand.

No Republicans as of yet have formally declared their candidacy for the 1st Congressional District seat.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.