Three Democratic party primary debates were held in Providence on Thursday evening at the Dr Martin Luther King Elementary School in  Providence Thursday evening. Candidates for Rhode Island House District 4, Rhode Island Senate District 6 and Mayor of Providence took questions from WPRI/Channel 12 reporter Dan McGowan and the audience, in an event that pushed the three-hour mark on a hot, sweaty night.

For convenience, I’ve divided the three debates into three separate posts, available here:

The Rhode Island House District 4 debate

The Rhode Island Senate District 6 debate

A Providence Mayoral debate

The evening’s debates were the second part of a two-part series. In the first half, the “Un-Debate,” candidates listened to the the concerns of constituents. This was presented as a way for candidates to “learn more about the needs of the community they seek to represent.” The event below follows a more traditional format.

The debates were sponsored by the Mount Hope Neighborhood Association, Summit Neighborhood Association, and Observatory Neighborhood Association, in collaboration with the Providence Cultural Equity Initiative.

The Rhode Island House District 4 seat is open, as Representative Aaron Regunberg is running for Lieutenant Governor. Two candidates are vying for the seat, Rebecca Kislak and Mark Tracy, both Democrats.

Here’s the opening statement from Rebecca Kislak:

Here’s the opening statement from Mark Tracy:

What do you think is the biggest policy difference between you and your opponent?

What is a piece of legislation or initiative that is new and that would improve the schools across the state?

A question from the audience about Tracy’s social impact bond idea. Is there an example of a social impact bond that has actually produced results?

A question about Mayor Jorge Elorza‘s plan to monetize/sell/lease Providence Water. Starting at the 4m30s mark the subject turns to the Providence pension issue.

As a lawmaker, what can you do to lower the cost of housing in Rhode Island?

A question about the quality of the water reaching people’s homes, and the lead pipes that serve many in the city.

A question about the “medical industrial complex” and affordable healthcare.

McGowan with “four, quick, rapid-fire questions” :

Would you support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21?

Would you support driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants?

Would you support, yes or no, Nicholas Mattiello for Speaker of the House?

Would you support raising the income tax on the wealthiest Rhode Islanders?

Closing statement from Rebecca Kislak:

Closing statement from Mark Tracy:

Rebecca Kislak
Mark Tracy

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[…] We encourage anyone who wasn’t able to attend the debate to watch these clips to make a considered decision at the polls on September 12. Mark wants to thank Steve Alquist who originally published the clips on Uprise RI. […]


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