Cano in, Foulkes out of Congressional race

Senator Sandra Cano (D-Pawtucket) is seen at a 2019 State House rally. File photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News


State Senator Sandra Cano of Pawtucket announced on Monday that she will run for the soon-to-open seat in Congress from Rhode Island’s first district, while former gubernatorial candidate Helena Foulkes said she would not join the race.

Cano’s announcement followed by one week, Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos’ announcement that she is running for the seat being vacated by David Cicilline, the seven-term Democrat who made a surprise announcement last month that he is resigning June 1 to assume the presidency of the Rhode Island Foundation.

“Our community needs someone who is going to be able to relate to the challenges that so many of our neighbors face,” said Cano, now in her third term in the state senate following elections to the Pawtucket school board and city council. In the General Assembly, she chairs the Senate Committee on Education.

Cano was born in Colombia, and moved to the United States with her family in 2000. She is the partner of state General Treasurer James Diossa, and mother of of two young children.

Within minutes of Cano’s announcement, former candidate for governor Helena Buonanno Foulkes issued a news release, saying, ” I wanted you to hear it from me first: I have decided not to run for Congress.”

Foulkes, a former high level executive at CVS said in her statement that while she is “deeply passionate about serving the people of Rhode Island,” “But right now, I believe that I can have a bigger impact in the long run by working with members of our community on local issues here at home.”

Helena Buonanno Foulkes cast her vote in the September 13, 2022 Democratic primary race for RI governor. File photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Last week, Rhode Island House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi announced he will not run for the seat in Congress. Earlier, former Republican candidate Allen Waters, who lost to Cicilline in the 2022 race, announced he will run for the seat as a Democrat.

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