PROVIDENCE — State Representative Nathan W. Biah, a Providence Democrat who is a Liberian refugee and high school principal, has joined the rapidly growing field of candidates running for Rhode Island’s First Congressional seat.
Biah is seeking the seat that Democratic US Representative David N. Cicilline will vacate on June 1 to become president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. Other candidates include Nicholas A. Autiello II, Senator Sandra C. Cano, Representative Stephen Casey, Providence City Council member John Goncalves, Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, and Allen Waters.
“I have students trying to learn while coping with housing and food insecurity,” Biah said in a statement. “Other students are struggling with ongoing mental health, trauma of gun violence, or are terrified of deportation because they’re an undocumented immigrant. In my district I have elderly community members wondering how they will afford much needed medications and health care.”
He said he has dealt with those issues as a principal and state representative, and he said, “I’m running for Congress to fight for big, bold, solutions to these major issues.”
“I will always believe that, despite our challenges, Rhode Island is the greatest state in the greatest country on Earth,” Biah said. He said society must find way to come together to solve problems rather than becoming further divided. “And I believe I am up for that challenge,” he said.
Biah, 51, was born in Monrovia, Liberia, and came to the United States at age 20 as a refugee fleeing the civil war in his native country. At 18, he walked 90 miles through the war-torn country to get to the Ivory Coast before coming to Rhode Island.
After arriving in Providence, he received a general equivalency diploma and worked in a factory. He received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Rhode Island College in 1999 and a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Rhode Island in 2007.
Biah became a math and science teacher and then a school administrator. He is now principal of Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence.
Biah was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2020. He is a member of the Finance Committee, which crafts the state budget, the Education Committee, and the Innovation, Internet, and Technology Committee.
Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.