Representative Nathan W. Biah (D-Dist. 3, Providence) was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2020. He serves as a member of the House Finance Committee, the House Education Committee, and the House Health and Human Services Committee.
In the 2022 session, Representative Biah sponsored a new law which
requires guidance departments to ensure that notices are provided to students and their parents or guardians regarding the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form and the Rhode Island alternative financial aid application form. He was also the sponsor of legislation which would
add direct state support for costs associated with employing school resource officers and a bill which
promotes the use of state surplus property by permitting the Department of Administration to obtain an appraisal and sell property to be used for housing development purposes.
During his first legislative session, Representative Biah sponsored a new law which streamlines the English as a second language (ESL) and/or English language learner (ELL) teaching certification process to increase the number and percentage of teachers in the state that are certified as ESL and/or ELL teachers. He also sponsored a new law that allows students unable to legally complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to participate in the RI Promise Scholarship program.
Representative Biah was named as a fellow in the National Conference of State Legislators Early Childhood Program and appointed as a member of the Office of Postsecondary Commissioner Advisory Committee.
Born on December 4, 1971, he grew up in Monrovia, Liberia. At age 20, he escaped the violence of a civil war by walking nearly 90 miles to freedom. After arriving in Providence, he passed the GED and worked in a factory. He studied criminal justice and earned a degree at Rhode Island College in 1999 and then a Master’s degree in Education Administration from the University of Rhode Island in 2007.
After teaching math in Providence middle schools and high schools, Representative Biah is now the principal at Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence. His wife, Thumbelina, is a teacher at Esek Hopkins Middle School in Providence. They are the parents of three children: Nathan Jr., Natalie and Natasha.