Liberian-American, Gabe Amo, Inducted as Member of U.S. Congress
….He is Rhode Island’s first black congressional representative
Gabe Amo, a Liberian-American, recently made history when he was sworn in as a member of the United States Congress, representing the historic state of Rhode Island, the Associated Press (AP) said. He is the state’s first black congressional representative. The 36-year-old Democrat won a special election in November to replace Democratic Rep. David Cicilline. Amo, who was born and raised in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, comes from a family of immigrants. His mother, Weady Socree, is a nurse from Liberia, and his father, Gabriel Amo, owns a liquor store and hails from Ghana.
Having previously worked as a senior advisor to President Joe Biden, Amo has expressed optimism for the future of the black community in Rhode Island. In his floor speech after being sworn in, he paid tribute to the late Reverend Mahlon Van Horn, the first Black man elected to the Rhode Island State House.
“Reverend Van Horn’s dream and the dreams of those who have called Rhode Island home across generations allow me to stand before you today,” Amo said.
“And while we have not arrived at our final destination in this project of our democracy, I am optimistic,” Amo said. “As a Rhode Islander, it’s easy for me. After all, our state model is hope. It is hope that led my parents to come from West Africa, my dad from Ghana, my mom from Liberia to pursue opportunity in the greatest country in the world.”
Amo emphasized the importance of hope and opportunity, which motivated his parents to immigrate to the United States. Amo has set priorities for his tenure in Congress, including improving retirement security, reducing gun violence, and ensuring job security for Rhode Island residents. “That will be something that I’m going to fight vigorously for,” Amo said.
He also intends to advocate for committee assignments that will benefit the state, the Rhode Island Current says. Amo has already spoken with House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries about his preferences for committee involvement.
Amo’s fellow Rhode Island representative, Rep. Seth Magaziner, introduced him to the House floor, acknowledging the historic nature of his election. Magaziner emphasized that Amo came to Congress not just to make history, but to make a difference.
“As one of the original 13 states, Rhode Island has been electing representatives to the House since 1790 and in those 233 years, Rhode Island has never sent an African American or any person of color to Congress until today,” Magaziner said. “But Gabe Amo will be the first to tell you he did not come here to make history; he came here to make a difference.”
Although Amo’s victory in the special election guarantees his position for the remainder of this Congress, he will need to run for election to a full two-year term in November. Given his success in the special election, his chances appear favorable, having garnered 65% of the vote over his Republican challenger, Gerry Leonard.
As the congressman for Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District, Amo represents the eastern parts of the state, including Woonsocket, East Providence, Tiverton, and Newport. House leaders have not yet announced his committee assignments, but are expected to do so in the coming weeks.
With Amo’s swearing-in, the number of Democrats in the House has increased to 213, while the Republicans hold 221 seats. This narrow margin sets the stage for a highly anticipated election year. Additionally, a Republican is favored to win a special election in Utah on November 21. Amo now joins Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, as well as Representative Seth Magaziner, in Washington, D.C., as the fourth member of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation.