When David Segal moved from Maryland to Rhode Island at 21, his reason for coming to the state was to figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. A graduate of Columbia University with …
When David Segal moved from Maryland to Rhode Island at 21, his reason for coming to the state was to figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. A graduate of Columbia University with a degree in math, Segal has left his impression on Rhode Island’s government by serving four years on Providence’s City Council and spending four years as a state representative for District 2 (East Providence – Providence). Segal now seeks to represent Rhode Island on the federal level by running for Rhode Island’s second Congressional district (CD2) seat previously held by Jim Langevin
As a democratic candidate, Segal faces a primary against Omar Bah, Joy Fox, Seth Magaziner and Sarah Morgenthau on Sept. 13. The winner will face republican candidate Allan Fung in the polls on Nov. 8.
Segal’s involvement in politics began in 2001 with the movement for fairer wages in Providence and police reform. He successfully ran for Providence City Council as a member of the Green Party in 2002 and played a role in advancing elements of the living wage ordinance and ensuring that eviction notices for tenants were given in several languages.
On the state level, Segal co-sponsored legislation to bring Roe v. Wade into law; this measure, introduced in 2007, passed in 2019. Segal also helped pass a renewable energy bill, assisted with criminal justice reform and – during the Great Recession – led a group that blocked cuts in funding to cities and towns. He’s spent time forwarding equitable development and environmental stewardship and has been part of bills that defend minority and LGBTQ+ rights. On the federal level, he’s testified before the House and Senate in support of election reforms and protecting communications infrastructure.
If elected to the CD2 position, one of Segal’s top priorities include making sure the economy is more fair. He advocates for universal healthcare, fairer taxes, less power in the hands of the largest corporations, massive investments in green energy and a proactive approach to inflation.
As for how he would implement change, Segal said he has been part of a number of bills in the House and Senate which crack down on monopolies – specifically in the technology industry – and will continue to push back against these big companies.
He said one issue that many Democrats and Republicans agree on is needing to break up monopoly powers and put measures in place so they don’t get as big as they have.
An advocate for affordable housing, Segal plans to pursue numerous housing affordability solutions in Congress – the first being passage of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, which would invest $445 billion in the national Housing Trust Fund. As for supporting workers, families and organized labor, Segal will support legislation like the PRO Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act; he will also fight for paid family and parental leave, paid sick days and at least a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation while continuing to oppose trade deals that outsource domestic productive capacity and undercut unions. Segal, who ran for Congress in 2010 but lost the race, said he is running on a similar platform as last time.
He said campaigning has been enjoyable so far. From conversations with residents, the most common topics brought up have been inflation and the economy, healthcare, access to decent employment, protecting abortion rights and gun control.
Segal is also the co-founder of Demand Progress which started in late 2010 and is a policy/grassroots advocacy group that has more than 1 million members across the country; the organization, according to its website, is a leader on the No Corporate Cabinet Campaign, which fights to ensure that “the Biden administration is staffed with people who have demonstrated records of working in the interest of the general public instead of those stepping through the revolving door from Wall Street, Big Tech, military contractors, Big Pharma, the health insurance industry or the fossil fuel industry.”
Segal is excited to have received endorsements from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Our Revolution — an organization founded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Segal said Warren understands the details of rules and policy considerations while Sanders incorporates more broad movements and helps channel that into policy positions.
“Each of them individually and combined are important forces of politics,” Segal said.
Segal cites political corruption as blocking progress and the reason why people have been fighting the same fights for the past 20 to 30 years.
“In order to make progress on these issues, we need people in office not to say they agree, but to push back,” said Segal.
If elected to the CD2 position, Segal would be able to work across party lines on issues, just like he had while on City Council and in the state Legislature. While Segal and others may not see eye to eye all the time, he said he’s able to identify opportunities where he might agree on 10 percent of what someone else is saying and will then work with the individual on driving change through that 10 percent.
He said he’s worked his whole career this way and has been successful — adding that he believes voters respect that way of working since not everyone is going to agree on something 100 percent of the time but there are still ways to advance policy work.