Congressman David Cicilline honored the late Newport Mayor Paul Gaines in comments delivered from the floor of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a Rhode Island legend, the late former Mayor of Newport, Paul Gaines, Sr.

At a moment in our nation’s history when we are again confronting the torment of generations of racial inequality, and collectively working to repair the soul of America, Paul Gaines will be remembered as a trailblazer in the fight for equal justice under the law.

As New England’s and Rhode Island’s first Black mayor, Mayor Gaines was an inspiration, an educator, a soldier, a mentor, and a changemaker who succeeded in every endeavor by bridging divides and leading with humility and integrity.

When he died last Thursday at the age of 88, Mayor Gaines left behind an enormous legacy.

As an activist, he spent a decade of his life working to build a memorial to the First Rhode Island Regiment, a Continental Army regiment that is best remembered today for recruiting Black soldiers to serve during the Revolutionary War.

In his recent years, he continued his work to ensuring equality of opportunity regardless of one’s race, who they are, or where they came from.

I offer my deepest sympathies to his wife of 61 years, Jo Eva, and the entire Gaines family.

And with that, I yield back.