The occasional RI Future contributor (and supporter) filed papers to run for the seat currently held by Sen Paul Jabour. The Providence Journal reports there could be a three-way Democratic primary for the seat.
“We need to take on the fight to resist the Trump agenda right here in Rhode Island,” he said in his campaign announcement. “This will
be a difficult fight, but I know we will prevail.”
Bell helped transform the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats of America into an influential organ of the left in Rhode Island politics. He also led the effort to prevent the PawSox from leaving Pawtucket for a stadium in downtown Providence. He might be best known for unearthing campaign finance violations made by the NRA. TPM once called him “the Brown grad student who chased the NRA out of Rhode Island.”
Bell he called attention to his NRA investigation his campaign announcement. “After 20 first graders were murdered in the tragedy at Newtown, I felt heartbroken,” Bell said. “Even though we couldn’t go back and save those children, I knew we had to do something to protect Rhode Islanders from gun violence. But when I talked to people about the NRA’s power in our statehouse, the conversation always came back to one thing: money. Everyone said we could never win gun control in our state because of all the money the NRA was giving our state’s most powerful legislators.”
He’s an ardent critic of House Speaker Nick Mattiello, often painting him as out of touch with Rhode Island Democrats, and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Governor Gina Raimondo, for her ties to Wall Street and for cuts to social services. In his campaign announcement, he took aim instead at Trump.
“The most disturbing part of the Trump agenda has been fanning the flames of racism,” Bell said. “Our country has made great progress, but systemic racism remains one of our greatest challenges. Everyone in America- no matter their race or ethnicity- must be treated equally. We must dismantle the school to prison pipeline, address mass incarceration and police brutality, and protect our immigrant neighbors. And we must address the racial roots of our affordable housing crisis.”
In 2014, Bell considered running for a House seat before Aaron Regunberg declared his interest.
Read Bell’s full press release here.