“My vision is of a Rhode Island that rose its economy in a way that is more equitable and just because more people are engaged in making our state better,” said Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea. Gorbea spoke about what she hopes to accomplish as governor as she has as Secretary of State on the Latino News Network podcast, “3 Questions With…”.
Secretary Gorbea is the first Latina to run for governor in New England. If she wins, she would also be the first Puerto Rican governor on the mainland. Gorbea is no stranger to making history in public office. In 2015, she was sworn in as Secretary of State, becoming the first Hispanic-Latina to hold statewide office in New England – a position she was re-elected to in 2018.
“We made government work for people,” said Gorbea in describing the work she is most proud of during her tenure as Secretary of State. The list includes:
- New voting machines and electronic poll books
- Re-building the state’s election management database
- Upgrading election cybersecurity
She also led bills to improve the state’s lobbying system and created automated voter registration.
Rhode Island is home to 180,000+ Hispanics-Latinos, making up approximately 18-percent of the state’s total population.
Gorbea was born and raised in Puerto Rico; moved to Rhode Island in the mid-1990’s. She says that her ethnicity is a piece of the state’s immigrant history, and that it has shaped her approach to leadership.
Secretary Gorbea was also part of a group of Latino activists who began developing the community’s political power, through the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee and the Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund.
“Having a diversity of opinions, perspectives, and backgrounds around the policy making table makes all the difference in the solutions that we implement, and how long lasting and how good they are,” Gorbea said. “Diversity is good, and Rhode Island proves it.”
Publisher’s Note: This story is written in part from an interview in Rhode Island Monthly.