Former Biden White House staffer, Gabe Amo, announces run for Congress

“Too many hearts have been broken and will be broken because of inaction,” congressional candidate Gabe Amo told theGrio in an exclusive interview.

Gabe Amo, a former long-time White House staffer, will run for Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District in a special election, theGrio exclusively reports.

“This is the time to lean in…an opportunity to stand up for women, but also stand up for the fundamental freedoms, to really thrive both in our country and in our communities,” Amo told theGrio.

Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District
Democratic Candidate Gabe Amo. Credit: Gabe for Congress.

He continued, “We see what the Republicans are doing in trying to cut Medicare and Social Security, doing nothing on gun violence…taking away freedoms like the reproductive rights of so many in our country.”

Last week, Amo left his post at the White House to run for the Rhode Island seat to replace outgoing Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. David Cicilline.  

For the past two years, he served as the special assistant to the president and deputy director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Amo acted as the liaison between the Biden-Harris administration and local elected officials around the nation.

“I played a role at the intersection of the needs of people on the ground,” said Amo, including “implementing and advocating for legislation” like the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Ac and the CHIPS and Science Act.   

With decades of experience in public service, Amo hopes to serve in a larger capacity as a member of Congress. If elected in 2024, he plans to prioritize climate change, inflation and gun violence.

Amo told theGrio he especially sees a “possibility of putting together a meaningful coalition” to fight against gun violence as mass shootings continue to climb in the United States.

He added, “Too many hearts have been broken and will be broken because of inaction.”

Amo attributes his passion for serving the community to his parents, who are African immigrants.

President Joe Biden (left) shaking hands with former White House staffer Gabe Amo (right). Credit: Gabe for Congress.

“My story is a Rhode Island story. My dad was born in Ghana, and my mom born in Liberia…they met in Rhode Island in the ’80s and had me,” he shared.

“My dad owns a small business. My mom’s a nurse at a nursing home,” he said of his parents, who “work[ed] hard to make ends meet.”

Amo told theGrio his political awareness dates back to when he was a teen and was inspired to help others by the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I felt that there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me when I grew up, and having a strong Black figure speak to me — even if it was through the pages of history — just meant a lot and narrowed my interest,” he recalled.

Amo said former President Barack Obama also had a great impact on his political career.

“I saw something in him that I had not seen before, both in terms of the thoughtfulness of his call to public service and also his ability to build coalitions. That is something that inspires me to this day,” he shared.

The congressional candidate previously worked under the Obama-Biden administration in intergovernmental affairs; he tackled Medicaid expansion, the federal response to the Ebola breakout and enrolling Americans in the Affordable Care Act.

The Rhode Island native told theGrio that if he does not win his special election for the state’s 1st Congressional District, he will find other “ways to be involved in public service.”

Former President Barack Obama (left) posing with former White House staffer Gabe Amo (right). Credit: Gabe for Congress.

In the meantime, he said, “I’m going to fight really hard to win this election. This is the most important thing that I could be doing at this time. [Americans] deserve better…and I can make my voice heard on day one.”

Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District primary race is scheduled for Sept. 5, 2023, and the general election is slated for Nov. 7, 2023.

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