de la Cruz wins second term with landslide victory in District 23

de la Cruz, center, campaign with her son and husband.

BURRILLVILLE – District 23 Sen. Jessica de la Cruz will continue her work in the Rhode Island General Assembly following a landslide election win this week over Democratic challenger Paul Roselli.

With nearly all votes counted in the uncertified election results, de la Cruz, a Republican representing Glocester, Burrillville and North Smithfield, had secured 9,589 votes to Roselli’s 4,561.

Burrillville resident Mary Ryan, who launched an independent write-in campaign late in the race, won just 80 votes statewide.

A 39-year-old North Smithfield resident and mother of three, de la Cruz won the seat previously held by retiring Sen. Paul Fogarty in 2018, after beating out Councilor John Pacheco in a primary race, and Democrat Kevin Heitke in the General Election.

In her freshman term, she served on the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committees, citing as achievements her work to secure a $65 million federal grant for improvements to Route 146.

Her opponent, 68-year-old Roselli, serves as president of the Burrillville Land Trust.

Roselli did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday, simply stating, “thank you,” in a reaction to the results on social media.

de la Cruz said she believes her first-term work representing northern Rhode Island won her support with voters.

“I was standing outside all day and the feedback was all absolutely positive,” she said of Tuesday’s election.

She said she is set up for success representing the district in her second term, despite status as a member of the minority party in the state legislature. de la Cruz is one of just five Republicans in the 38-member Rhode Island Senate.

“I made a deliberate effort to build bridges in my first term, and it didn’t matter what party people were from – Democrat or Republican,” de la Cruz told NRI NOW.

In the House, Republican Reps. Brian Newberry and David Place ran unopposed.

de la Cruz said she intends to continue her monthly,  “Coffee with Jess,” events in her second term.

“It’s a great way to hear from people and find out what’s on their minds,” she said.

She thanked voters, volunteers, donors and family for their help in the decisive win.

“I couldn’t have done it without their love, support, and patience,” she said.

“I’m going to work continue my work on behalf of the people of Burrillville, North Smithfield and Glocester.”

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