The 1st Congressional District is the eastern half of Rhode Island, divided from the state’s only other congressional district by a boundary line that cuts through the state capital of Providence and then proceeds north to the Massachusetts border. It includes the eastern coast of Narragansett Bay and the small island chain off Rhode Island’s coast. In recent years, Providence has been revived, with a more accessible waterfront, active night life, and restoration of neighborhoods around the state capitol.
The district takes in much of the city, including the East Side and College Hill around Brown University. It also captures all of next-door Pawtucket, whose Slater Mill is known as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. It is home to CVS Pharmacy and Hasbro, the nation’s second-largest toy company. The first district is also home to defense-related companies like Raytheon and General Dynamics.
The onetime textile mill towns of the Blackstone Valley, Woonsocket, and Central Falls, are in the 1st district, along with Barrington and Bristol. To the south on the ocean, is the old city of Newport, with its restored 18th-century houses and summer cottages. Newport is home to the America’s Cup races and now hosts a popular jazz festival in the summer. It is also the site of the oldest synagogue in North America, where George Washington once told a congregation that the United States gives “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance."
The first district is a culturally rich and ethnically diverse district that includes Italian neighborhoods in Providence and North Providence, Irish areas in Newport, Portuguese and Cape Verdean communities in Fox Point, East Providence, and Cumberland, and growing Latino and African immigrant populations including Liberian, Cape Verdean, Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Guatemalan.
Rhode Island 1st District Demographics
Source: National Journal's Almanac of American Politics 2014
Rhode Island 1st District Presidential Politics
Source: National Journal's Almanac of American Politics