Regunberg latest to enter 1st Congressional District race

PROVIDENCE – A former state representative who also ran for lieutenant governor is now jumping into the growing Democratic field for the soon-to-be-open U.S. House of Representatives seat.

Aaron Regunberg, a progressive who served two terms representing Providence in the R.I. House of Representatives from 2014 through 2018, announced Monday that he is running for the state’s 1st Congressional District seat and looking to succeed David N. Cicilline in U.S. Congress. With his announcement, Regunberg marks the seventh confirmed candidate seeking Cicilline’s seat – all of them Democrats – and adds a high-profile name into the mix.

Cicilline is stepping down from Congress in June after 11 years to become the next CEO and president of the Rhode Island Foundation.

Regunburg now joins a race that includes six other confirmed candidates, four of which are currently serving elective office in some capacity. 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 and former Gina M. Raimondo aide Nick Autiello.

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No Republican candidate has announced his or her candidacy to date.

Regunberg, in his time in the R.I. General Assembly, had worked to pass legislation regarding paid sick days, expand harm reduction strategies, enact new renewable energy and community solar programs, and reformed the state’s use of solitary confinement. In 2018, Regunberg ran for lieutenant governor but lost to Daniel J. McKee at the time. Regunberg most recently served in a federal judicial clerkship with U.S. District Court for the Rhode Island district.

Regunberg has similar platforms for his campaign for office, including fighting for a woman’s right to choose and addressing climate change, according to his statement.

My son turned two in March, the same month the United Nations released its final warning that if we don’t start taking urgent action on the climate crisis, all of our children will be permanently locked-in to a dangerous future. But that future hasn’t been decided yet. It’s still up for grabs. Just like the future of our democracy. And the right of every woman to make her own health care decisions. And the ability of workers to build unions for a better life. And our power to stop Big Pharma, Big Banks and Big Oil companies from ripping us off.”

To win these fights, Regunberg said, people need to organize and build coalitions, and make real change. “That’s what I’ve been doing for years here in Rhode Island. And that’s what I’d do in Congress,” he said.

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