Sandra Cano was a Democratic candidate in the race for Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.

Cano currently represents Pawtucket in the state senate and works as the city’s commerce director. She’s the chair of the Senate Committee on Education and a member of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Permanent Joint Legislative Commission on Child Care.

Cano previously served on Pawtucket’s school committee and city council.

She grew up in Colombia before her family immigrated to Rhode Island when she was 16. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Bryant University and master’s degree from URI.

Below are Cano’s responses to a three-question survey from 12 News:

1. What do you think is the biggest issue facing the country today, and how do you think Congress should address it?

“I’m running for Congress because we need to heal the deep division in our country and return to a government that works for the people. As a working mother of two small children, I worry about the future we’re leaving them. Our democracy is more fragile than ever: voting rights, women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, and social safety nets like Medicare and Social Security are under attack. The issues we face are deeply personal to me: rampant gun violence, educational inequities, healthcare injustice, and more. The climate crisis and chaotic weather patterns are threatening our coastline, economy, and public health. Inflation and stagnant wages impact working families like mine – leaving folks to choose between paying their bills or feeding their families. We have a Congress that no longer talks to each other – and we’re the ones who suffer. I want to change that.”

2. What is an under-the-radar issue you are passionate about which you would make one of your priorities in Congress?

“I am deeply passionate about promoting Financial Literacy, and I take great pride in successfully implementing a program here in Rhode Island in 2021. This program mandates that all high school graduates acquire a fundamental understanding of financial management. It equips them with essential skills such as balancing a checkbook, comprehending credit mechanisms, understanding loans (including student loans), and creating a sustainable budget. The significance of this initiative lies in its potential to uplift underserved communities. Without proper financial education, individuals are susceptible to falling into debt and becoming vulnerable to predatory payday lenders. By sponsoring and successfully passing this bill in Rhode Island, I have taken a crucial step towards empowering our youth and safeguarding their financial futures. However, the impact of this program should not be limited to Rhode Island alone. It is imperative that we implement similar initiatives nationwide. In fact, there is currently a bipartisan legislation in Congress, introduced by Representative Beatty and Representative Gallagher, which I am eager to support. By expanding financial literacy education across the country, we can equip future generations with the necessary tools to make informed financial decisions. This will not only benefit individuals but also contribute to the overall economic well-being of our nation.”

3. What do you think voters should know about your background that makes you stand out from the other candidates?

“I am the sole candidate in this race who possesses an extensive background in legislative government at every level in Rhode Island. My journey began in 2012 when I was elected to the Pawtucket School Committee. Subsequently, I was elected twice to the Pawtucket City Council. In 2018, when my senator stepped down, my community encouraged me to run for the seat which I won in a special election. Since then, I have been proudly serving in the Senate, where I currently hold the position of Chair of the Senate Education Committee. My track record speaks volumes about my dedication to forging coalitions that yield effective policies. I have consistently collaborated with colleagues, even those with whom I may have divergent views on numerous matters. This ability to find common ground has been instrumental in my success. Throughout my tenure in these various roles, I have also held significant positions in the private sector. Notably, I have served in a professional capacity at a local credit union and as the commerce director for the City of Pawtucket. These experiences have afforded me regular interactions with Rhode Island’s congressional offices, thereby instilling in me a deep understanding of the significance of fostering strong relationships with these entities. My unique background and multifaceted experience make me the ideal candidate for this position. I am committed to leveraging my expertise and relationships to drive positive change for our community.”

Visit Cano’s campaign website »

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