Gabe Amo, President Joe Biden's deputy director of intergovernmental affairs, resigned last week, the Washington Post reported. Amo is reportedly preparing to run for Congress to replace retiring Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI).
The 35-year-old White House aide previously held positions for a Rhode Island former governor and a current senator from the state. He resigned on April 10 but received high praise from Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the White House director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Amo was often a liaison between the administration and local officials in pushing Biden's agenda. He also was in charge of the official response to crises such as mass shootings which Biden has used as an excuse to ram through gun control.
"I have often been the person on the other end of the line calling a mayor of a city to offer my condolences about people being murdered in the streets,” Amo said, according to NBC News. "So whether it’s banning assault weapons, whether it’s calling for more corporate accountability and ending the protection that gun manufacturers have, that’s something that I care really strongly about," Amo added.
He noted that despite legislative successes, there is more Democrats can do. "In the areas of child care and elder care, we have much more work to do to ensure that we’re protecting our most vulnerable," Amo said.
Amo will join several other candidates in a bid for Cicilline's seat. The 61-year-old announced his retirement in February after he lost out on a leadership spot in the House Democratic caucus.
Cicilline will move on to become CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation in May to further the non-profit's mission of community organization. Rhode Island Secretary of State Gregg Amore announced the special election to be held on Nov. 7 with a Sept. 5 Democratic primary.
Amo said he's spoken with the outgoing Senator "numerous times," who told the former aide to keep his nose to the grindstone if he wishes to win. Amo has touted his upbringing as the son of first-generation immigrant parents from Liberia and Ghana as his motivation.
His mother and father met and married in Rhode Island after coming to the U.S. separately. Amo claims they "had me know what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet" as part of his origin story.
"I have benefited tremendously from the values that they put forward," Amo said. "And that has bridged to the values that I’ve been able to carry out as a leader in the White House and as a leader in a governor’s office."
Although Amo has a strong backstory and solid work experience, he will vie for the seat against at least a dozen other qualified candidates, the Brown Daily Herald reported. If one of the four of female candidates is elected, she would become the first woman to represent Rhode Island.
Rhode Island could also elect its first woman of color if either State Sen. Sandra Cano, State Sen. Ana Quezada, or Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos win the seat. Most of the candidates are career politicians, with the notable exception of bus driver Mickeda Barnes.
Biden's presidency has been a disaster, but the Democratic Party doesn't seem to notice. Therefore, Amo has as good of a chance as any of the others to successfully parlay his experience into a spot in Congress.