Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos

Rhode Island May Elect Its First Afro-Latina Congresswoman, Sabina Matos

History may be in the making for Afro-Latina Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. 

Amid several races today, significant attention will be on the votes in the Democratic primary for the 1st congressional district to replace the seat held by seven-term Democrat, U.S. Representative David Cicilline. As the residents of Rhode Island cast their votes, the ballot can be expected to have spots for 11 viable candidates. However, history will be made if one candidate gets the right number of ballots cast in their favor. This candidate is none other than Lieutenant Governor Matos. 

According to Essence, if Matos were to win, Rhode Island would send “its first person of color to the U.S. House and give Congress its first Afro-Latina.”

Before becoming lieutenant governor, Matos served as a councilwoman on the Providence City CouncilMatos became “the first Latina to hold the position of City Council President Pro Tempore in 2015, and in 2019, she was elected city council president by her peers. She is the first Latina to hold both positions in the city’s history,” according to the outlet. 

Matos attributes her opportunity to achieve success to the “strong democracy” in the United States. She recalled her experience working in a factory and learning English after immigrating to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic. She spoke about having the opportunity to “go to college, get a degree and represent [her] community and become an elected official.”

Matos discussed the details of her campaign with the outlet and said she was initially hesitant about running for office; however, that changed one day as she listened to Stacey Abram’s audiobook, Leading From the Outside, as she traveled to a Black History Month celebration at the White House.

“There’s a real, tangible experience that I bring to Congress….This is the moment that needed me to step up,” Matos said.

Matos also shared her concerns about democracy: “I feel that we’re taking that for granted. Democracy is too important. And we need to fight.” As a wife and mother, Matos spoke about the need for “a strong voice for women’s rights” in Washington and “making sure that abortion is protected at the federal level.” 

Matos said she hopes to go to Washington to create a future for her daughter where she has more rights than people have now. 

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