PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A North Smithfield technology professional and first-time candidate has jumped into the Democratic primary for secretary of state.

Stephanie Beauté, a graduate of Hope High School in Providence and the University of Rhode Island, formally announced her campaign on Monday after qualifying for the ballot last month. She noted that she is the first Black woman to run for secretary of state in Rhode Island.

“Some have tried to say that this being my first time in politics is a weakness, that I don’t have the experience, but I see it as a strength,” Beauté said in a news release. “I have no agenda here other than to serve the Rhode Islanders who are currently suffering due to the same tired old ways in which their government does business.”

Beauté said one of her top priorities would be to “protect, improve, and expand – not restrict – the voting process.” She also expressed concern about Rhode Island’s No. 45 ranking on the latest CNBC Best States for Business list.

“I know how to roll up my sleeves and get things done,” she said. “I have a track record of looking at complex problems and crafting solutions that work for everyone.”

Beauté will be an underdog against state Rep. Gregg Amore, an East Providence Democrat who has been running for secretary of state since last year and piled up endorsements from party leaders and labor unions. (The incumbent secretary, Democrat Nellie Gorbea, is term-limited and running for governor.)

“Democracy functions best when voters are presented with choices,” Amore said in a statement. “It is up to the candidates to share who they are, why they are qualified, and what their vision is for the seat they’re seeking.”

He emphasized his track record in the General Assembly, citing laws that made it easier to vote, put more restrictions on guns, codified the right to abortion, and funded school construction projects.

The primary election is Sept. 13.

Republican Pat Cortellessa, who challenged Gorbea unsuccessfully in 2018, is once again running for secretary of state this year. No other candidates qualified for the ballot.

Ted Nesi ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook