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Alexander-Scott not running for Congress: Former RI health director bows out of politics for now

“Pandemic Groundbreaker” Dr Nicole Alexander-Scott on the cover of Motif, May 2021.

Dr Nicole Alexander-Scott, who resigned from her post as director of the RI Department of Health a few weeks ago (“RI Health Director Alexander-Scott resigns: Led state’s COVID-19 response from the beginning”, by Michael Bilow, Jan 13, 2022), sent Motif a statement ending speculation that she would be a candidate for the open seat being vacated by Rep. James Langevin who said he will not run for re-election.

Other than today’s statement, she has given no public indications of the reasons for her resignation nor of her future plans.

Gov. Daniel McKee said at his press conference on Jan 27, “The doctor said she had ‘a window of opportunity’ in more than one meeting. I asked her to stay, each time it accelerated… She felt as though she had ‘a window of opportunity.’ That’s her words. My word was ‘stay.’ But if not, let us do a professional exit strategy.”

“I am writing to let you know that after taking the time to fully explore the real possibility of me running for the seat opening up in Rhode Island’s second congressional district, I have decided to not enter the race,” Alexander-Scott said in the statement. “It was an honor to be contacted and urged to run by so many fellow Rhode Islanders over the last few weeks. I gave serious consideration to running because I saw this as a unique opportunity to advocate for change on the national level on the issues that I have committed my career to: health, equity, and the need to give every person and every community an equal opportunity to thrive. I also gave running serious consideration because diversity in representation matters. While a person from any background or gender could make an exemplary congressperson, we need to work to ensure that the group of people we elect is reflective of all of the communities served.”

Alexander-Scott is among the most widely known and recognized persons of African-American heritage in RI, appearing with then-Gov. Gina Raimondo at live televised press conferences first daily and later weekly and bi-weekly with Gov. Daniel McKee. Motif featured her on the cover of its May 2021 issue on the theme of “pandemic groundbreakers.”

“While I will continue to be open to opportunities like this in the future, I remain as committed as ever to building strong, healthy and resilient communities in every ZIP code from any position I am blessed to serve in. I look forward to still advancing this critical work and having a strong impact on policies at a national level that will benefit the public’s health, as part of the next opportunity that I take on, in this unique moment,” she said in the statement. “Hopefully, all Rhode Islanders will join with me in making sure we invest in better communities for all families.”