CRANSTON – Republican Sen. Jessica de la Cruz formally launched her campaign for the 2nd Congressional District seat on Wednesday, at a press conference that was followed by visits to several small businesses across Rhode Island.
de la Cruz, a state senator who currently represents District 23 in Burrillville, Glocester and North Smithfield, hopes to succeed U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, who has held the seat since 2001, and announced in January that he will not seek reelection.
The 40-year-old two-term senator, a North Smithfield resident, was critical of Pres. Joe Biden, stating the country has seen, “economic chaos and increasing division,” since the 2020 election, rather than the moderation and unity that was promised.
“As a state senator, every single day my inbox is filled with messages from Rhode Islanders who are struggling to feed their families, to put gas in their vehicles, to pay their bills and make ends meet,” de la Cruz said during the announcement at 39 West Restaurant and Lounge. “Rhode Islanders need relief now, Rhode Islanders need change now.”
de la Cruz, a mother of three and native of East Providence, entered the political arena in 2018, serving on the judiciary and labor committees in her first term. She was named Senate Minority Whip in her second term.
The campaign announcement was followed by visits to several small businesses, including Boomerang’s Roadhouse, Bayco Auto, and Heritage Gun and Coin in West Warwick.
“Big corporations can absorb the pain of inflation while small businesses are on the brink of closing,” de la Cruz noted on social media. “Just another reason to suspend the gas tax and work towards energy independence.”
The other Republicans who have announced runs for the 2nd Congressional District are former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and former state Rep. Robert Lancia. Democrats who have officially joined the race include state Treasurer Seth Magaziner; former political strategist Michael Neary; former Langevin rep Joy Fox; former state representative Ed Pacheco; Biden administration official Sarah Morgenthau; and Omar Bah, executive director of The Refugee Dream Center in Providence.