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R.I. Elections Roundup: Mack ’16 wins election to State Senate as R.I. Dems reelected to U.S. House, Senate

Voters also approved removal of ‘plantations’ from R.I.’s official name in referendum

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 4, 2020

While the presidential race continues to be drawn out by counts of mail-in ballots in several swing states, Rhode Island results rolled in sooner. Progressive Tiara Mack ’16 won a State Senate seat to represent the Ocean State’s District Six, while Democratic Senator Jack Reed and Congressman David Cicilline ’83 and Jim Langevin all won reelection at the national level. Voters also approved of the removal of “plantations” from Rhode Island’s official name in a referendum.

Brown alum Mack ’16 elected to R.I. State Senate District 6

Tiara Mack ’16 has been elected to represent District Six of Rhode Island in the State Senate, according to Ballotpedia.

A former Public Health concentrator at Brown and Youth Organizing Specialist at Planned Parenthood, Mack ran on LGBTQ rights, affordable healthcare, criminal justice and voting rights among other issues, according to her website.

“Growing up, I didn’t see many people who looked like me in politics,” Mack says in her official campaign video. “I never knew that I could have a voice in the decisions that … shaped the fight for quality education, clean air, food and healthy communities … I want to use my story and my experience to dare to dream.”

Among other things, Mack is fighting voter ID requirements in Rhode Island that primary election opponent Harold Metts originally proposed, according to Social Media Manager and Field Director Jenna Israel ’21. She said that Mack argues the requirement is “a form of voter suppression” that “disproportionately affects Black people.” 

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 11 percent of US citizens lack government-issued ID. For African-American citizens, the number is 25 percent.

Mack won by a landslide, bringing in 88.7 percent of the votes, according to RI.gov.

“We’re really proud of all the work our team has done to get us here and incredibly grateful to District 6 for believing in Tiara and the bold, progressive policies she looks forward to fighting for in the State Senate,” Israel said.

Rhode Islanders reelect Rep. Cicilline, Rep. Langevin, Sen. Reed to U.S. House, Senate

Senator Jack Reed was reelected for a fifth term, according to the Associated Press

Democratic Congressman David Cicilline ’83 and Jim Langevin were also reelected. Cicilline has served R.I.’s 1st district since 2011, while Langevin has served the 2nd district since 2001. 

In light of Langevin’s win, the congressman told The Herald Tuesday night that he has worked increasingly hard to “try to find common ground” and take a “bipartisan approach toward governance.” 

“The President has worked to divide the country, and I believe now, more than ever, we have to come together as a country,” he said.

Langevin said his most pressing issues include affordable healthcare, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, job growth, education, national security and cybersecurity.

Madison Verschleiser ’22, an intern for Langevin’s District Office in Warwick, said she admired the congressman’s commitment to representing the concerns of the local Rhode Island community. Langevin returns to the state often from Washington D.C. to attend events and talk to residents. 

“He wasn’t really a national Congressman. He really was there representing the community of Rhode Island,” Verschleiser said.

In referendum, voters approve change to R.I.’s official name

Rhode Island will remove the phrase “and Providence Plantations” from the state’s official name after 52.9 percent of voters expressed support for the amendment, according to Ballotpedia.

Democrats in R.I. pushed to drop the “and Providence Plantations” wording from the state’s name following the death of George Floyd this summer, stating that the language was offensive amid a national reckoning of the country’s history of racial injustice. 

On June 22, Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order to remove “plantations” from state documents, websites and correspondences. 

The results show the increased support for the name change over the past 10 years: In 2010, 77.9 percent of voters rejected a similar amendment, according to Ballotpedia.

The University removed “plantations” from its own official name after a unanimous Corporation vote in August, The Herald previously reported.

Rhode Island was incorporated as The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations when it declared statehood in 1790. 

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Mack is fighting voter ID requirements in Rhode Island that Independent opponent Kevin Gilligan originally proposed. In fact, primary election opponent Harold Metts proposed them. The Herald regrets the error.

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