Political newcomer Carlson enters race for Congress

PROVIDENCE – A Jamestown resident who oversees the Joseph C. Tsai Leadership Program at Yale Law School is the latest Democrat to announce his candidacy for the U.S. House.

Don Carlson, who has never previously held elective office before, launched Sunday his campaign for Congress. hoping to win the 1st Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I. Carlson is now the 11th Democratic candidate to formally confirm their pursuits for a spot within the U.S. Capitol.

Cicilline will be leaving Congress in June to become the next CEO and president of the Rhode Island Foundation.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Carlson has served as the Tsai Leadership Program’s senior executive director since last June. The program, according to Yale Law School, provides law students more access to legal experts in the field, expands career pathways and also modernizes legal curricula.

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In his campaign profile, Carlson says some of the country’s rights and freedoms are “under direct attack” and that there are a “sizable bunch of yahoos” in Congress who have turned government institutions into “a bad reality TV show.” Carlson also says that true leadership is the “art of summoning others to stretch to reach their full potential.”

“The most vulnerable among us don’t need performative allies,” Carlson said in a statement. “They need curious collaborators, legislators who will do the hard work of using their hearts and minds to listen, strategize and act decisively to enact policies that provide greater opportunity and concrete results for the hard-working families.”

Other confirmed candidates pursuing Cicilline’s seat are Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, Rep. Nathan W. Biah, D-Providence, Providence City Councilor John Goncalves, Sen. Sandra Cano, D-Pawtucket, former secretary of state candidate Stephanie Beaute, former Gina M. Raimondo aide Nick Autiello, former state representative Aaron Regunberg, Sen. Ana B. Quezada, D-Providence and Rep. Marvin J. Abney, D-Newport and former Republican turned Democrat Allan Waters.

No Republican has yet to declare his or candidacy for Cicilline’s seat.

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