PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Another Democrat has thrown his hat into the ring to seek outgoing Congressman David Cicilline’s seat.

State Rep. Nathan Biah, a two-term Providence lawmaker, announced Thursday he is entering the increasingly crowded primary for the 1st Congressional District. Biah filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission earlier this week.

Biah — who came to the country at age 20 as a refugee fleeing the Liberian civil war — was first elected when he unseated then-incumbent Democrat Moira Walsh in 2020. He cited his day job as principal of Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School to explain part of his motivation for running for Congress.

“I have students trying to learn while coping with housing and food insecurity,” Biah, 51, said in a statement. “Other students are struggling with ongoing mental health, trauma of gun violence or are terrified of deportation because they’re an undocumented immigrant. In my district I have elderly community members wondering how they will afford much needed medications and health care.”

Biah added, “I’m running for Congress to fight for big, bold, solutions to these major issues.” He said he would launch a campaign website and announced staff hires “in the weeks to come.”

Biah is the fourth prominent Democrat to announce a campaign for the 1st District seat, joining Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, state Sen. Sandra Cano, and former Raimondo administration official Nick Autiello. The field is expected to keep growing after two big names — House Speaker Joe Shekarchi and former gubernatorial candidate Helena Foulkes — withdrew from consideration over the last week.

Two other candidates have also filed with the Federal Election Commission to run: Allen Waters, who was the Republican nominee against Cicilline last year but is running as a Democrat this time, and a political newcomer, Democrat Mickeda Barnes.

No Republican has launched a campaign for the 1st District seat so far, though the party’s 2022 nominee for lieutenant governor, Aaron Guckian, is among those who’ve expressed interest in running.

The primary to replace Cicilline is expected to take place in August or September, with the special election two months later.

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