Providence Rep. Biah joins growing Democratic field for Cicilline’s seat

PROVIDENCE – Another Democratic candidate has entered the race for Rep. David N. Cicilline’s soon-to-be-vacated seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Nathan W. Biah, D-Providence, announced Thursday that he will run for U.S. Congress seeking the 1st District seat in the U.S. House, entering what is becoming a loaded field on the Democratic side. Biah hopes to succeed Cicilline, who will step down in June to become the next CEO and president of the Rhode Island Foundation.

Biah is currently in his second term as a state representative – he was first elected in 2020. He serves as a member of the finance; education; and the innovation, internet and technology committees in the House.

Biah, according to his bio, is also the principal of Dr. Gorge Alvarez High School in the city. In a statement, Biah says he is running for Congress because the country needs to address the root causes of low student performance in schools.

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“Public schools are for everybody. That means that every student’s challenges end up in our public schools – mental health, immigration status, housing and food insecurity, and the lasting trauma of violent crime and gun violence,” Biah said. “We cannot improve our schools only through more funding or better management.”

Biah, who was born in Liberia, is also the third non-U.S.-born candidate to enter the race for Cicilline’s position – Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos and Sen. Sandra Cano, D-Pawtucket, are the other two. Nick Autiello, a vice president for Boston-based financial firm State Street Corp. and director of impact for global nonprofit Investor Leadership Network, announced his respective candidacy earlier this week.

Two others have reportedly filed paperwork to run as Democrats: Allen Waters, who ran against Cicilline as a Republican last fall, and newcomer Mickeda Barnes.

No Republican candidate has yet to announce his or her candidacy for the 1st 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.