Supporters of Democrat Joe Biden in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts celebrated Saturday after he was declared president-elect, following a bruising and months-long campaign against President Donald Trump.

“It just feels like such a historic day and for like the first time in over four years I felt there’s some joy and happiness,” Stefanie Furlong, 28, of Attleboro, said while holding a Black Lives Matter sign across from the Providence Place mall. “And I feel like some there’s hope for the country, especially working in education. I just feel like there’s some hope.”


Trump supporters had gathered across the street through the afternoon, but they were gone by dinnertime. About 10 Biden supporters remained, drawing celebratory beeps and at least one critical remark from a Trump supporter driving by.

Furlong said she came out to celebrate because she considers Biden’s victory a big event for the country.

“A president who is known for racism and xenophobia and bigotry is being voted out and that feels so amazing, especially for so many of us who voted the other way and are proud Democrats,” she said. “It just feels so hopeful.”

Jerry Zarrella, co-chair of Trump’s RI campaign, said there will be other causes where the president’s supporters can direct their energy.

“Grudges cannot unite us, and no matter who the president is … we must find common ground and support those who got elected,” he said.

Although the bitterness of the presidential race had raised concerns on possible clashes. Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare told The Public’s Radio that he didn’t expect election-related problems or violence overnight.

Elected officials in Rhode Island were among those celebrating Biden’s win.

“The American people have now spoken,” U.S. Rep. David Cicilline said in a statement. “We choose hope over fear, unity over division, science over fiction, and truth over lies. We choose to take back our democracy and to begin the difficult work of restoring the soul of our country.”

Gov. Gina Raimondo, who is considered a potential candidate for a post in the Biden administration, said, “The American people have spoken in record numbers. Before us is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build back better -- to create an America in which everyone has access to high-quality health care, affordable education, and economic opportunity.”

Raimondo continued: “There’s no question that Joe Biden is the right leader for this moment. I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration as we continue battling the pandemic, rebuilding our economy, combating climate change, fighting for racial equity, and lifting up working families across Rhode Island.”

Two former Raimondo staffers, Stephen Neuman and Gabe Amo, worked on Biden’s campaign, as did Eric Hyers, who managed Raimondo’s 2014 campaign for governor.

Another Rhode Island connection to Biden is his adviser Mike Donilon, a Providence native.

Ian Donnis covers politics for The Public’s Radio. He can be reached at idonnis@ripr.org.