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Eight Queer Progressive Candidates Fighting for Equity

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Mar 25, 2022

The Rhode Island Queer Political Action Committee recognizes EIGHT progressive candidates that uphold the values of community, intersectionality, representation, and equity. These candidates have proven that they will fight for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community and all of Rhode Island.

We are proud to support these leaders, and we dedicate ourselves to making sure they get elected:

Senator Sam Bell (He/Him) - RI Senate District 5 - Providence

Elected in 2018, Sam represents Senate District Five in the Rhode Island Senate. An openly bisexual man, he has a record of fighting for LGBTQIA equality and fiercely opposing anti-LGBTQIA initiatives. He even made the successful motion to end the segregation of same-sex marriage solemnization bills. Sam was driven to activism in college at Brown University when he discovered the NRA was illegally obtaining out-of-state money and that many Rhode Island politicians had accepted those funds. He has tenacity in the Senate and isn’t afraid to say “no” to the corrupt politicians that work against progress for all.

In the Rhode Island Senate, Sam demonstrates constantly that he fights for all Rhode Islanders. He has fought to de-privatize and make Medicaid more accessible, abolish tax exemptions on luxury housing, protect our undocumented neighbors from ICE, make it a crime for police to sexually assault people in their custody, and create safety nets for those losing their homes due to a leaseholder’s death. Sam has proven that he will relentlessly fight for the rights of all Rhode Islanders and we are proud to support him.

Support Sam:

Lenny Cioe (He/Him) - RI Senate District 4 - Providence/North Providence

Lenny is a proud gay man and registered nurse who has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. The son of an educator and a union leader, he has always known the value of strong schools and good jobs, which is why he is pushing to ensure school teachers earn a livable wage and that quality education is a Constitutional right in Rhode Island. Lenny plans on bringing solutions to our Senate—from building a fairer tax system to increasing access to green affordable homes for all.

Lenny is running against current Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, who as the most tenured senator in Rhode Island has sat in office since 1985. The time for change is here, and we can no longer allow our government to be run by the same corrupt politicians that have failed to make meaningful change for LGBTQIA+ residents for almost 40 years. Lenny, we thank you for stepping up to the challenge of replacing corruption with integrity and a commitment to serving everyday Rhode Islanders.

Support Lenny:

Jackie Goldman (They/Them) - Providence City Council Ward 5

Jackie is a queer and non-binary person running for Providence City Council in Ward 5, which comprises Mount Pleasant, Elmhurst, and Manton. Jackie works as a public health researcher whose work focuses on overdose prevention. At work, Jackie routinely sees how the War on Drugs, lack of affordable and low-income housing, and stigma surrounding addiction leave people in poverty and trapped in cycles of incarceration and houselessness right here in Rhode Island. Outside of work, Jackie is an activist and organizer with the Providence Democratic Socialists of America, where they’ve worked on political and legislative campaigns around Medicare For All, Harm Reduction, and decreasing the burden of the carceral state.

Jackie’s strong passion for our state’s capital and those that live there is palpable in all the actions they take. They understand that a community-run city will create more transparency in government and provide solutions that help ALL residents. Jackie brings government back to the people, and we support them in their journey.

Support Jackie:

Alex Kithes (He/Him) - RI House of Representatives District 49 - Woonsocket

Alex was born to a family of working-class Greek immigrants in Woonsocket and is a proud graduate of the Woonsocket public education system. Alex understands what it is like in the working world, having jobs as a waiter, an engineer, a researcher, a writer, and an organizer, and he has even served a term on the Woonsocket City Council. He also is the co-founder and Executive Director of Rebuild Woonsocket, an organization focused on building the foundation for community politics in Rhode Island’s northern-most city. He also organizes with local progressive groups: Sunrise Providence, the W.A.T.C.H. Coalition, BLM RI PAC Advisory Committee, and Climate Action RI.

Alex’s support for the queer community is embedded in who he is, not just as a bisexual man but in his values as well. He helped organize Woonsocket’s first-ever Pride parade—a feat that faced many challenges—alongside entrenched prejudice in local government. Alex refused to back down and has continued to march on in defense of LGBTQIA rights and visibility. We commend Alex for his perseverance in helping the queer community stand strong in the face of adversity.

Support Alex:

Damián Lima (He/Him) - RI House of Representatives District 6 - Providence/North Providence

Damián Lima and his husband have made Rhode Island a place where they could build a home and raise a family together. Damián is a proudly queer and transgender immigrant, who has known housing and food instability firsthand and uses his experiences to inform his advocacy. He believes in showing kindness to people who are struggling and bringing communities together to address the failures of their government. His work in healthcare, LGBTQIA youth advocacy, and immigration advocacy have shown his responsiveness to the leadership of the communities he serves and his dedication to championing the voiceless. First in his family to graduate from college, he recently finished a Master’s degree in health equity.

Most importantly, Damián understands that the issues people face are not exclusive to the groups they belong to. Damián shows true compassion for his neighbors in Rhode Island, and we are proud to be supporting him.

Support Damián:

Senator Tiara Mack (She/Her) - RI Senate District 6 - Providence

Tiara is an educator and activist raised in the South. She moved to Providence to attend Brown University in 2012 and fell in love with the city. She started her journey in education by teaching sex-ed in Providence schools as an undergraduate. Since then, she’s worked in Providence as a recruiter for educators, ensuring that students have teachers who represent their backgrounds, experiences, and future selves. She now works as a youth organizer, empowering young people to fight for social justice on local and national scales. Tiara is also a Board Member of Women’s Health and Education Fund (WHEF) and of the East Side/Mt. Hope YMCA.

In 2020, Tiara ran a successful campaign against a powerful moderate Democrat who had been in the Senate since 1985. Since she assumed office, she has sponsored bills that would repeal LEOBOR, establish a tax system that fairly taxes the rich, require more robust sex education in public schools, and provide healthcare for a broader range of Rhode Islanders. In only a year, she has taken the initiative to fight for systemic change that would benefit our state and those who live here.

Tiara describes herself as “unapologetically Black and queer” and has proven that she will not back down against systems that oppress our community. She will continue her advocacy for housing, education, criminal justice reform, climate change, and healthcare. We stand with you, Tiara, and we are excited to see you continue to serve our state.

Support Tiara:

Jenna Magnuski (She/Her) - RI Senate District 12 - East Bay/Middletown/Newport

Jenna was raised in the Chicago area by working-class parents. When the local school budget was slashed, Jenna’s family moved to an area they struggled to afford so that she and her siblings could get a better education. This cemented education as central to Jenna’s life, and she is proudly “public school made” in her K-12 education, her undergraduate degree, and both of her Master’s degrees.

Last year, Jenna helped host Little Compton’s first ever Pride month celebration and is a founding member of Love Wins Little Compton, an organization aimed at nurturing a more welcoming, safe, inclusive, and equitable environment for LGBTQIA+ people in the area. Jenna’s dedication to the queer community does not go unnoticed. We are proud that you are part of our community and that you’ll continue to fight for all of Rhode Island.

Support Jenna:

Zakary Pereira (He/Him) - RI House of Representatives District 22 - Warwick

Zakary is an openly gay candidate and is a champion for LGBTQ+ rights and women’s rights. He is a progressive Democrat who lives in the Riverview neighborhood of Warwick with his partner Aaron. He believes it is important that LGBTQ+ people get involved in the political process, especially in the current climate of anti-trans bills and #DontSayGay legislation.

Zakary grew up the youngest of four in a middle-class family, the son of an immigrant grocery store worker and a public-school teacher. Throughout his upbringing, he learned what it means to work hard and fight against a system rigged against working people. When elected, Zakary is looking forward to passing legislation that protects the LGBTQIA community against discrimination and working to address bread-and-butter issues affecting our community like a living wage, affordable housing, and healthcare. The RI Queer PAC supports Zakary in his efforts to bring true representation for queer Rhode Islanders to the General Assembly.

Support Zakary: www.zakaryforri.com

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