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Politics & Elections

West Broadway Neighborhood Association holds ‘town hall’ with elected legislators



The West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA) held their 5th Annual “Conversation With Our Elected Officials” Monday evening at West Broadway Middle School. Attending were Senator Paul Jabour (Democrat, District 5, Providence) Representative John Lombardi (Democrat, District 8, Providence) and Representative Anastasia Williams (Democrat, District 9, Providence).

Providence City Councilmembers Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11) and Bryan Principe (Ward 13) did not attend as planned.

As was the case last year, legislators were asked questions posed by their constituents. Legislators had limited time in which to answer, keeping things concise and mostly on point. The questions ranged from the hyper-local, such as numbers (2) and (8) below, to the nationally important, such as the questions on reproductive rights (5), marijuana legalization (9) and gun control (6).

Here are the questions asked:

“Can we have more enforcement of the ordinances and/or laws regarding illegal sign postings, such as those of mattress sellers, buyers of junk cars, low value homes, diabetic test strips etc., as well as removal of these signs?”

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“I work with adults with developmental disabilities and they live in a mixed use development, close by [here]. A new business came in and the business is having consumers block their driveway [of the mixed use development].”

“We all know our neighborhood is full of great, historic homes and these homes are costly to maintain and restore. Is there any hope of bringing [the historic homeowners tax credit] back?”

“What legislation have you championed and did not get passed?”

“I was curious as to how you will be voting on a number of reproductive rights bills this year.”

“I understand that there are… bills in the House and the Senate that relate to gun control… I’d just like to know where you stand…”

Two tax questions. “How do you feel about the film tax credit” and “What do you think of a tax credit for section 8 tenants in owner occupied houses?”

“Senator Jabour and Representative Lombardi recently stood with their neighbors against a proposed 5-story building on Westminster St. Representative Williams, will you stand with neighbor?”

“What is your stance on legal marijuana?”

“I’m concerned with two bills… the Early Childhood Innovation Act… [and] increasing the reimbursement for the Department of Human Services for childcare…”

“Are you supporting the $250 million bond for November, dedicated to the school facilities so that we can improve schools like this?” and “Bonds are a terrible way to finance school construction. 30 cents on the dollar go to financing, go to banks. How do we get to a dedicated funding stream?”

“We have enough [traffic] cameras to generate a lot of money, but enough is enough.” Why did the General Assembly approve them?

“As you know, DARE and other organizations are building a campaign to bring rent control to Providence… Would you fight against any legislation that proposes a statewide ban on rent control?”


Paul Jabour

Anastasia Williams

John Lombardi

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.