Cynthia (Cynthia) Mendes (D-SS18)
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Capitol: 401.276.5582
FAX: 401.222.2967
District: 401.688.0399
Senator
State House 82 Smith Street
Providence, RI 02903-1105

District Office:
39 Bullocks Point Avenue
East Providence, RI 02915
Elected: 2020    Next Election: 2022
DOB: 6/14/1980
Committee Assignments
MemberSenate Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans' Affairs
MemberSenate Committee on Commerce
Counties Representing
Providence

Bio

I NEVER imagined getting into politics. And then I thought about how my daughter, Francesca, and her friends talk about not wanting to have kids because she fears the climate crisis. I thought about the working mothers, like me, trying to make ends meet and people I serve on the street - who are not the kinds of people normally in positions of power.

I believe we must use the power we have to uplift and empower others. I bring that belief to the State House every day as a State Senator for East Providence and Pawtucket. I learned it very early on in my life from my father, who gave up law school to become an inner-city minister and a prison chaplain. And I learned it from stories of my family history - my great-grandfather Henrique Mendes was the captain of the historical "schooner Ernestina" which brought many of Rhode Island's Cape Verdean families here in 1894.

My family served the most vulnerable and I knew that was my place in the world too. I've spent most of my life as a single-mom working multiple jobs and dedicating my Sundays to serving breakfast to the unhoused and my free moments mentoring foster youth in my community.

I NEVER imagined getting into politics. I put myself through school, was a healthcare worker in the dental field, and was a manager at a nonprofit dedicated to supporting youth. People like me aren't supposed to run for office.

One day, my friend Scott - who founded the breakfast program for the unhoused that I volunteer at - asked me to meet another friend of his for coffee. Long story short, I got coffee with Matt Brown, who asked if I would consider running for office. I laughed in his face.

And then I thought about how my daughter, Francesca, and her friends talk about not wanting to have kids because she fears the climate crisis. I thought about the working mothers, like me, trying to make ends meet and people I serve on the street - who are not the kinds of people normally in positions of power.

So in 2020 I decided to challenge my Senator, the Chair of the Finance Committee - and one of the most powerful men in the State House. He outspent me 4-to-1, but I won in a landslide. Since being elected to the Rhode Island Senate, I've fought relentlessly for reproductive healthcare, government transparency, racial justice, universal healthcare, and climate action.

But one seat in the State Senate is not enough to get the change we need, which is why I'm running for Lieutenant Governor alongside Matt Brown and dozens of candidates to win a whole new government- one that works for all of us.