Cicilline runs on record, Waters like everyone else in Congressional District 1

CUMBERLAND — Rep. David Cicilline walked into the reception hall at Cumberland Mansion as if this routine stop in his re-election campaign was more like a family reunion.

He greeted people at dinner with handshakes and backslaps, joked about his graying hair, tried rudimentary Spanish with a group at a table and tied a custom apron to serve plates of shepherd’s pie before stepping away. sit down to eat.

“Be careful, it is very hot,” he warned his older table companions.

Many faces in the room were familiar to him. By Cicilline’s tally, it was the eighth time he had held an event like this at the low-income apartment complex that rises above a bend in the River Blackstone. After canceling the previous two years due to the pandemic, he really seemed to be enjoying himself.

And why wouldn’t he? The room was packed with supporters like Richard Conforti, a Cumberland Housing Authority commissioner who said he planned to vote for the six-term Democratic candidate on November 8.

Rep. David Cicilline greets a resident while campaigning at Cumberland Manor seniors' apartments on October 20.

Elections:Progressive push to the left sputters against establishment Democrats in RI primary

“He’s been around long enough to know the ins and outs of Congress,” Conforti said. “It doesn’t matter who comes up against him.”

That person is Allen Waters, a 66-year-old Republican who is running for public office for the fourth time. Two of those attempts were in Massachusetts and both were short-lived, the first in 2017 as an independent against Sen. Elizabeth Warren and two years later against Sen. Edward Markey.

Allen Waters is no stranger to lopsided runs, ‘but they heard my footsteps’

After his mother passed away in the fall of 2019, Waters moved back to the home where he grew up in the West End of Providence. He now lives there with his youngest son, a sophomore at La Salle Academy, while his wife remains in Mashpee, Massachusetts.

Shortly after returning to Rhode Island, Waters launched a campaign for the Senate seat held by Democrat Jack Reed, but he lost by a wide margin. Still, Waters sees the bright side, saying he was able to secure 33% of the vote despite low name recognition.

In campaign :Jill Biden stubs for Magaziner, McKee to get vote in home stretch

Allen Waters at his home on Woodman Street in the West End of Providence, in the house where he grew up.

“Obviously these are big mountains to climb, but they heard my footsteps,” he said, speaking in his kitchen.

Waters thinks the Democratic Party has lost touch with Americans, specifically black men like him. He says the party has “marginalized and feminized black men.” He’s a big fan of Malcolm X’s “Ballot or the Bullet” speech, in which the civil rights leader argued that black people could be the pivotal vote to push for systemic change.

He’s not that enamored with the GOP either, but he’s pragmatic about the need for major party support to run a campaign. He says he won’t just toe the party line if elected. On abortion, while he supported the repeal of Roe v. Wade, he doesn’t support a national ban.

He rails against critical race theory and what he describes as the rise of Marxism, but he says he is not a MAGA Republican. He voted twice for Barack Obama and while he did the same for Donald Trump, he says the first time had more to do with his lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton.

Elections:The race for Secretary of State puts the fight for the right to vote on the ballot

As for why he thinks he’s a better candidate than Cicilline, Waters points to his life experience as a father of five who understands the struggles of the middle class. A retired financial adviser, Waters spends time as a limo driver to pay the bills. He says he wants to lower taxes and reduce the size of government to rein in the costs borne by average Americans.

“I have to hustle to keep the lights on,” Waters said. “I am one of the people I want to vote for myself.”

Cicilline has gradually gained visibility and responsibility in the House

Cicilline, too, makes inflation a priority. He sees the problem as having more to do with energy, and part of what he and other Democrats are saying is price hikes by fossil fuel companies.

“Right now, coping with the high cost of gas and food is the number one issue,” he said.

Representative David Cicilline speaks to residents during his campaign at Cumberland Manor flats.

The 61-year-old former public defender and two-term mayor of Providence has steadily risen to prominence in Washington since entering Congress in 2011. He served as director of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump and has also chaired the Democratic Party. Policy and Communications Committee, a senior position in the party leadership in the House.

He has also drawn attention for leading antitrust efforts to rein in big tech companies such as Amazon and Facebook, and for speaking out on gun control. During an hour-long interview in Providence, he went through a list of laws he supported that passed, such as the COVID relief package and the infrastructure bill that allocated billions of dollars in Rhode Island.

Cicilline says he has learned over the past twelve years how Congress works and how to effectively represent the interests of Rhode Islanders.

“I take work seriously and I do things,” he said.

Cicilline’s first run for House was her closest. Its share of the vote has increased with each subsequent election. In 2020, with no Republican in the race, he won 71% of the vote, beating his closest challenger, independent Frederick Wysocki, by 55 points.

He is expected to win easily again this year. The Cook Political Report rates the seat solidly Democratic.

In the neighborhood next door, Fung and Magaziner are neck and neck

Cicilline’s re-election bid contrasts sharply with Rhode Island’s other congressional race – a nail-biting 2nd congressional district between Democrat Seth Magaziner and Republican Allan Fung to fill the seat vacated by the incumbent. longtime Democrat Jim Langevin.

Judging by past results, had Langevin chosen to run, he would have been blocked for a 12th term. Cicilline said he had no prior knowledge of his colleague’s decision; Langevin called him the morning of the announcement.

State lawmakers redrew district lines last winter, but passed no major changes to House districts. Cicilline said he was never asked if we would have supported giving up part of his district to bolster the Democrats’ chances in the other district.

“It would have been difficult to justify a major overhaul,” he said.

Before serving dinner at Cumberland Manor, Cicilline told the mostly elderly crowd of her support for larger Social Security cost-of-living increases and provisions in recently passed legislation to reduce prescription drug costs. .

“He’s a good man,” said Pauline Charpentier after her speech. “He does a lot for seniors.

Like half a dozen other people at dinner, she couldn’t name Cicilline’s opponent in the race.

Cicilline has little to say about Waters. He only met her once.

“I’m just focused on my work and my record,” he said.

When asked about the incumbent’s reluctance, Waters laughed. He knows his chances of winning are slim, but he still holds out hope.

“As long as you’re on the court,” he said, “there’s always a chance you can hit a buzzer-beater.”

Comments are closed.