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Head of R.I. Legislative Black and Latino Caucus backing Magaziner for governor

Representative Karen Alzate of Pawtucket stands with the treasurer in a race where he could face three Latino opponents

Representative Karen Alzate, a Pawtucket Democrat who is the chair of the Black and Latino Caucus (far right, in pink) stands behind Democratic state treasurer Seth Magaziner, center, as he announces his candidacy for Rhode Island Governor in front of the Henry J. Winters Elementary School construction project in Pawtucket, R.I., Sept. 14, 2021.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — When state treasurer Seth Magaziner announced his candidacy for governor on Tuesday, the group of supporters standing behind him on a Pawtucket street included the chairwoman of the Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus.

Representative Karen Alzate, a Pawtucket Democrat who became chair of the Black and Latino Caucus in February, said she is backing Magaziner as an individual, not on behalf of the caucus.

Magaziner could face as many as three Latino candidates in the 2022 Democratic primary for governor, including Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea, Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, and Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.


But Alzate told the Globe, “Just because they are Latinos doesn’t necessarily mean we automatically support them. That is something we hear often. I genuinely believe in Seth. Latinos need someone who is going to make those hard decisions, and he will be able to bring us into a new generation of politics.”

This year’s General Assembly is the most diverse group in Rhode Island history, with 21 people of color in the 113-member legislature, and it has coalesced behind a set of legislative priorities.

But Alzate said, “We think for ourselves, and I am sure other members of the caucus will support other candidates” in the 2022 governor’s race.

Alzate noted Magaziner made Tuesday’s announcement in her legislative district at the construction site for the Henry J. Winters Elementary School — a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) school on Broadway. He underscored his role as co-chairman of the Rhode Island School Building Task Force.

“We are about to have a brand new school that the community needs more than anything,” Alzate said. “And it’s a heavily immigrant, African, Portuguese, Latino community.”

Alzate, 33, noted that Magaziner, 38, is part of a younger generation of Rhode Island political leaders. Democratic Governor Daniel J. McKee, by contrast, is 70.


“It’s great to have a new, young fresh face,” she said. “We need new leaders who are not playing the same game we have always been playing.”

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.