EAST PROVIDENCE — Nearly a year to the day of the 2022 primary election, city native and incumbent District 65 State Representative Gregg Amore announced his candidacy to be the Democratic …
EAST PROVIDENCE — Nearly a year to the date of the 2022 primary election, city native and incumbent District 65 State Representative Gregg Amore announced his candidacy to be the Democratic nominee for Rhode Island's next Secretary of State during a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 15, held at his career-long place of employ, East Providence High School.
Mr. Amore, first voted into elected office in November 2012, is currently the East Providence School District Director of Athletics. He was previously a baseball and hockey coach for the Townies and was a Government, History and Civic Education teacher at the high school for 26 years. He ran unopposed and was re-elected to the District 65 seat, comprising Kent Heights and portions of Riverside, for a fifth team in 2020.
“I have spent the vast majority of my adult life here at East Providence High School, first as a Government, History and Civics teacher and coach, and more recently as the city’s Athletic Director,” Mr. Amore said last week in his announcement statement.
“My passion for teaching is deeply connected to the subject I taught. To educate students about our collective history and show them how to engage in the government process has been a labor of love. In my role as State Representative, I am particularly proud of the successful school construction bond legislation – which culminated in the overwhelming passage of a statewide bond referendum and many accompanying local bond questions, including the one to build the new East Providence High School. This is a shining example of civic engagement leading to good policy and tremendous public support.”
Mr. Amore was a vocal proponent of the new $189.5 million EPHS project in city as well as the $250 million state-wide bond school housing referendum on the November 2018 ballot, both of which passed with significant majorities. The state-wide initiative received similar overwhelming support from voters around Rhode Island.
Of his reason for seeking the Democratic nomination for secretary of state, Mr. Amore continued, “My passion for and experience in civic engagement and government, my heartfelt belief in public service, instilled in me by my parents, and a deep reverence for the protection of the most fundamental right in our democracy – the right to vote – has brought me here today, among my family, friends, students and colleagues, to officially announce my candidacy to be Rhode Island’s next Secretary of State. I believe my background and life experiences have uniquely prepared me for this job, at a time when voting rights across the country have come under attack.
“As a Government, History and Civics teacher, I understand the importance of ensuring an open, accessible, safe and secure electoral process – and as your Secretary of State, this will be my top priority. In 2020, we saw a record number of votes cast in a safe, secure manner. This is how it should be – and I will work to expand on this progress. I will also heavily promote Civic Education for educators and the general public, so everyone can truly understand how state government works. I will fight to keep our government open, and ensure government officials and lobbyists are transparent, honest, and accountable. And I will ensure a smooth process for those with a vision and a dream to start and maintain a business in Rhode Island. I plan to use this office to make life better for all Rhode Islanders.”
Fellow members of the city’s General Assembly delegation, State Senator Valarie Lawson (D-District 14) and State Representative Katherine Kazarian (D-District 63) were among the local elected officials to show initial backing of Mr. Amore’s candidacy. Rhode Island Speaker of the House Joe Shekarchi and State Representative Karen Alzate (D-District 60, Pawtucket) also were in attendance to provide endorsements. Mr. Amore’s long-time East Providence High School colleague Richard Martin, himself a retired teacher in the Social Studies Department, spoke as well in support.
The current office holder, Nellie M. Gorbea, is term-limited. Ms. Gorbea is running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination along with like-wise term-limited current General Treasurer Seth Magaziner as well as sitting governor Dan McKee, who rose to the position from lieutenant governor after Gina Raimondo left for a role in the administration of President Joe Biden earlier in 2021.
To date, Mr. Amore is the lone announced candidate in the Democratic Primary, which takes place on September 13 of next year.
Mr. Amore concluded his remarks last week with the following, “The 2020 election shined a bright spotlight on Secretaries of State across the nation, and a handful of them in battleground states stood firm in the face of intense political pressure, hyper partisan attacks, and in far too many cases, threats of violence. This job requires a steady hand and the ability to set party politics aside and withstand partisan pressure. It requires the ability to communicate clearly with the public on how our elections are conducted and certified. These men and women proved themselves to be true public servants who placed their country above their party and simply did the job they were elected to do. I believe that in my years in the classroom, as a community volunteer, as an administrator, and in my time in the General Assembly, I have proven myself similarly to be a steady hand – a thoughtful and measured voice, a clear communicator, and a duty-bound public servant – and that’s why I’m running to be your next Secretary of State.”
Mr. Amore is seeking to become the first city native to win state-wide office since Paul Tavares was elected General Treasurer in 1998 and served to 2006.
Robert Weygand, born in Attleboro, Mass., ran state-wide for lieutenant governor, and won in 1993, after representing East Providence in the General Assembly from the former House District 84, also comprising Kent Heights, from 1985-1953.
Patrick Lynch, a transplant from neighboring Pawtucket, won election as Rhode Island's attorney general at the 2002 election while a resident of the city's Rumford section. He served for eight years, term-limited, until 2010.