PROVIDENCE — Nicholas A. “Nick” Autiello II, an aide in former governor Gina M. Raimondo’s commerce department, on Tuesday announced he is running for the First Congressional District seat that US Representative David N. Cicilline is vacating.
Autiello, now a vice president at State Street financial services and director of impact at Investor Leadership Network, joins a Democratic field that includes Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, state Senator Sandra C. Cano, and former Republican congressional candidate Allen Waters.
“I got into public service almost a decade ago to help rebuild Rhode Island after decades of decline that hurt families like mine, and as part of Governor Raimondo’s Commerce team I did just that,” Autiello said in a statement. “From working the overnight shift in the hospitality industry to working tirelessly to rebuild our state and address climate change with partners around the world, I have the experience to be a member of Congress who is in touch with Rhode Islanders’ needs and has the proven ability to work on tough issues and get results.”
Autiello, 32, called for Rhode Island to “continue sending a new generation” to Washington, D.C. Last year, Rhode Islanders elected Democrat Seth Magaziner, 39, to the Second Congressional District seat that US Representative James R. Langevin vacated.
“Today, Rhode Island and our country face great threats but even greater opportunities,” he said. “Rhode Islanders deserve another member of Congress who will fight back against the rising tide of extremism and protect our democracy; build a clean energy future that protects the planet and creates thousands of family-supporting jobs for Rhode Islanders; bring down the cost of living and healthcare our working families are facing; ensure our country is able to compete with China; legally protect a women’s right to choose once-and-for-all; keep guns off our streets and out of our schools; and continue Congressman Cicilline’s tireless advocacy for equality.”
Autiello said he now works with some of the world’s largest public pension funds and investors to accelerate the transition to a green energy economy. He had worked as director of SMI Financial Services at the Sustainable Markets Initiative, which was founded by then-Prince Charles, when he was the prince of Wales, “to lead and accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable future.”
Last year, Autiello had considered running in the state treasurer’s race that James A. Diossa won. In 2018, he finished third in a Democratic primary for the Senate District 5 seat now held by Senator Samuel W. Bell, a Providence Democrat.
He graduated from Florida International University and received a master’s degree from the London School of Economic and Political Science.
Born in North Providence, Autiello is a fourth-generation Rhode Islander who said he has “deep roots in the state’s Italian-American community.” He has served on the boards of the National Organization for Women’s Rhode Island chapter, and the Providence Preservation Society. He is active in the LGBTQ community and has served on the campaign board of the LGBTQ Victory Fund. He also sits on the advisory board of Teach for Italy. He lives in Providence with his husband, Eric.