The West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA) held three candidate forums on Tuesday evening. All but one of the candidates competing in the Democratic Primary on Wednesday for the positions of Mayor of Providence, City Council Ward 13, State Senate District 5 and State Representative District 9 were in attendance.
The first forum featured the four candidates for Providence City Council Ward 13, Raymond Berarducci III, Cyd McKenna, Rachel Miller and Leslie Papp II. This is an open seat since Councilmember Bryan Principe declined to seek re-election.
The second forum featured two of the three candidates for the position of Mayor of Providence, including incumbent Jorge Elorza and challenger Kobi Dennis. Candidate for Mayor Robert DeRobbio did not attend the forum.
The third forum featured Candidates for State Senate District 5 and House District 9. This included incumbent State Representative Anastasia Williams (District 5) and her challenger Dwayne Keys, and incumbent State Senator Paul Jabour (District 9) and his two challengers, Samuel Bell and Nicholas Autiello II.
Each forum began with one minute for each candidate to introduce themselves, followed by questions. The video below features the answers to the questions, but I occasionally included the video of the question being asked because there was some nuance of interaction that might be lost if I left it out.
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The opening remarks of Kobi Dennis:
The opening remarks of Jorge Elorza:
Q1. WBNA went door to door with a survey as part of our ongoing strategic plan. Results show that among the top concerns for neighbors is neighborhood affordability.
Part 1 of our question: Tell us the policy initiative you will spearhead to take this on
Part 2: What can WNBA and neighbors do to help you make this into law?
Q2. A Question about the $160 million dollar bond to fix the schools. I’ve included the video of Lisa Scorpio asking the question.
Q3. What is going to be done to help clean the streets of trash, litter and graffiti? Also, when will competent people be able to hold down city jobs instead of friends, relatives and bed partners?
Q4. A question about TSAs (Tax Stabilization Agreements).
Q5. There is an ever increasing budget gap in the funding of Providence Schools, due in large part to public tax dollars leaving the system to support an ever increasing number of Charter School seats. I have heard that this years gap is $2 million, next year’s gap will be $12 million and the following year $22 million as the State’s funding formula becomes fully implemented for many of the Charter Schools drawing from Providence.
What will you specifically do to keep public tax dollars available for Providence Public Schools, especially given that those schools educate some of our City’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable children, including those with special needs and disabilities?
Q6. Do you have a plan for improving public transportation in the City, given that RIPTA (Rhode Island Public Transit Authority) is run by the State?
Q7. A question about speed cameras.
Q8. A question about property taxes.
What do you plan to do to bring tax equity to your tax paying constituents?
Q9. Another question about taxes.
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