PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s official: Democrat Gabe Amo is now a junior congressman.
The 35-year-old Pawtucket native and former White House aide was sworn into office Monday night, becoming the state’s first-ever Black representative.
Amo, the son of Ghanaian and Liberian immigrants, was chosen to represent Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District during last week’s special election.
He succeeds former Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who stepped down earlier this year to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
Amo joins Rep. Seth Magaziner, who was sworn into office back in January. This is the first time two millennials will represent Rhode Island in Congress.
“Gabe Amo will be the first to tell you he did not come here to make history,” Magaziner said. “He came here to make a difference.”
Magaziner held the bible as House Speaker Mike Johnson administered the oath of office. Amo was then given a standing ovation from his new colleagues.
While addressing Congress for the first time, Amo was quick to highlight Rhode Island’s motto: Hope.
“It was hope that led my parents to come from West Africa … to pursue opportunity in the greatest country in the world,” he said. “But this is not just my story. It’s a Rhode Island story. It’s an American story … and that shared story is why I am proud to represent Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.”
The Rhode Island Board of Elections has not yet certified the special election results. But that didn’t prevent Amo, who won nearly 65% of the vote, from being sworn in.
Amo also received his first committee assignment from Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries Monday night, who recommended he be appointed to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“Congressman Amo will bring a unique perspective to this important committee during a pivotal time for America’s relationships around the world,” Jeffries said. “Gabe is an extraordinary public servant who has made history as the first Black member of Congress from Rhode Island. I know he will be a powerful advocate for the Ocean State and I am proud to welcome him to the House Democratic Caucus family.”
Amo took the oath of office at a crucial time as Congress feverishly works to avoid a partial government shutdown.
With the deadline slated for Friday night, Johnson unveiled a two-step, stopgap spending measure over the weekend in an effort to appease hardline conservatives.
Johnson’s continuing resolution would first extend funding for veterans programs, transportation, housing, agriculture and energy through Jan. 19. The continuing resolution would also fund the rest of the government, including defense, through Feb. 2.
Amo previously expressed support for Johnson’s spending measure.
“I want to be a vote in favor of keeping the government open,” Amo told 12 News.
The House is expected to vote on Johnson’s proposal as early as Tuesday.