OP-ED: Congressional District One Has a True Winner

A conversation with Gabe Amo on his first months in Congress, and his future plans


Congressman Gabe Amo sat down with us for a quick recap of his first four months in Congress. “I’m in awe every day of the institution, the history, and the responsibility,” he explains. He hit the ground running, and because of resignations, has “rapidly risen in seniority from number 435 to 431,” he notes. With elections every two years, running for reelection becomes a second full-time job – “I feel like I’ve just arrived at the party and they’re announcing ‘last call,’” he jokes.

Elected with only a handful of endorsements, including ours, the party is now fully behind Amo, and no challengers are even on the horizon, but he’ll be working even harder than in his previous elections where he received a third of the vote in the 11-way primary and 65 percent in the general election. “I loved that people in the last election started calling their friends and saying, ‘He’s not going to win… but I like him,’” he notes, “and, I think that it’s created a real positive base of support!”

Gabe is genuine – the real deal. He answers questions in a thoughtful manner that shows his intelligence and strong grasp of the issues, but he is refreshingly humble, not arrogant or off-putting. He is a good listener and takes many lessons from his life experiences growing up with hardworking immigrant parents in Pawtucket. He is highly respected in all circles for his integrity, honesty, and hard work, and comes to the job with no baggage.

“Struggling and seeing people overcome great challenges in my life has given me a solid perspective on many of the issues that my constituents face,” he explains. “When my mother was a nursing student, she would bring me with her because we couldn’t afford childcare.”

Amo continues, “I truly see my role as showing people an open door of opportunity, and if they want to go through it, I’ll work my hardest to make sure that whatever assistance the federal government can provide, they get. I want to be known as the guy who helped people climb the economic ladder.”

“We have to do better helping hardworking people who struggle on every level. On one level, hardworking families must deal with the spiraling cost of daycare, and schools that perpetually need improving in many areas, while others struggle with the challenges of transportation, hunger, and mental health,” he says.

As Amo goes to Washington, the challenging big issues remain unsolved: housing, women’s rights, gun control (he’s already co-sponsor of a bill targeting “ghost” and “zombie” guns, a loophole allowing gun disposal companies to resell the remaining parts of a partially destroyed gun), senior and elderly care, Social Security, Medicare, immigration, and more.

Then there’s TikTok: “When I get calls from eight-year-olds on the phone at home asking me to support it, something seems fishy,” he explains. He would support the sale to a US company, where we can have better controls. Of AI, he says, it’s “a new frontier with tremendous promise. But I’m quite concerned with the ethics of the process and the ability to steer its growth. It offers incredible growth opportunities, but it will require clear rules of the road.”

And issues of particular importance to the district: “Like all Rhode Islanders, I worry about the quality of our public education. We must ensure all our children can read by the third grade. And we must find a way to attract and retain good quality teachers. Perhaps tax incentives should be considered.”

On our local economy, he says, “I’m looking forward to working with Regent Craft, a local company that is working to build all-electric sea gliders for low-cost coastal transportation; plus I want to make high-speed rail service to Boston a reality as this will be a great economic driver.”

And of course there’s the Washington Bridge nightmare. “We need a design to develop a true budget and then we’ll know the timeframe… but it’s a top priority.”

A noteworthy and ambitious agenda, but with a heavily partisan and divided Congress, the ability to get anything done will be a major challenge. “I’m a Democrat,” he notes, “but to accomplish almost anything will require a bipartisan approach. Working for both Presidents Obama and Biden on intergovernmental affairs and the most pressing issues impacting our country and communities, I was able to successfully work with both Republicans and Democrats. I’m a consensus builder and I hope to work with as many fellow representatives  as possible on both sides to get things done.” But from our observations, at least there are a lot of the “smaller, ‘non-lightning’ issues” that are being passed in a bipartisan manner.

Amo also picked Mr. Lemon, while all of the other candidates picked Del’s in the final television debate, showing that sometimes the underdog wins!



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