One of Sandra’s earliest memories as a child in Medellín, Colombia, is of waking up filled with fear that the ticking watch she could hear was the sound of a bomb about to explode. Her childhood was shaped by experiences with violence. When Sandra was seven years old, her father was shot by a stray bullet; and when she was 15, he was kidnapped by guerrilla fighters. Sandra and her family immigrated to the United States in 2000, when she was 16, to seek political asylum. Rhode Island has been her home ever since. She is raising her daughter, Arianna Hallel, and her son, Alessandro James, with her fiancé, James.
Sandra’s formative experiences have shaped her values and her vision as a policymaker.
Sandra has been serving Rhode Islanders for the last ten years. On the Pawtucket School Committee, she worked to defend the public education system that welcomed her as a teenager in this country. As a Pawtucket City Councilwoman, Sandra saw how city government directly affects residents and she worked to shape policies that had a positive impact on their daily lives. Now in the State Senate, Sandra proudly gives voice to the diverse communities of District 8. Sandra is chair of the Senate Education Committee – the first Latina to hold the position. She serves as a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the Permanent Joint Legislative Commission on Child Care.
As an advocate and leader in her community, Sandra is steadfast in her belief that no one is free until everyone is free, and she is dedicated to fighting for economic, racial and social justice and equity.
Sandra is running for Congress because she cares deeply about helping people.
She will always carry with her the voices of her community, and advocate on behalf of working people.
Because it’s going to take one of us – to make a difference for all of us.
Professionally, Sandra serves as the Director of Commerce for the City of Pawtucket where she is responsible for working with the City’s business community, with a particular focus on collaborating and providing assistance to local small businesses. She previously worked as the Assistant Vice President of Community Development at Navigant Credit Union, where she was responsible for developing community-based partnerships and developing financial education campaigns for low income and diverse populations.
Cano holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Economics from Bryant University (2007) and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at the University of Rhode Island (2012). She attended the Harvard Kennedy School (2016) where she completed multiple executive leadership programs.