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Politics & Elections

Alex Kithes summons a positive future in his race for the Woonsocket City Council



“I went through the Woonsocket public school system and got a really good education,” said Alex Kithes, a climate activist and political reformer running for an open seat on the Woonsocket City Council. He was speaking at a rally at The Art Den in downtown Woonsocket to about fifty supporters on Wednesday evening. “Then, in eleventh grade, in 2009, the city discovered a multi-million dollar budget shortfall and started slashing education funding. So my first political involvement was standing arm in arm with the teachers in this city fighting against budget cuts that would have decimated the education department, fighting against cuts to after-school programs and to AP classes and to the teachers contracts things – fights that that are still being fought today despite some of those early wins…”

“That’s why I’m running for this seat,” continued Kithes. “I’m 26 year old I’m an activist and an organizer with proven successes in fighting for good government reform, serious climate action and public educational opportunities. I believe that the only solution to Woonsocket’s problems is bold, forward-thinking leadership that’s willing to fight for a vibrant and livable future.”

In his short address Kithes spoke of a new future for Woonsocket, a post-industrial mill town that has been struggling financially for decades.

“The economy of the last century has crumbled. It’s gone. So the only thing we can do is start looking forward, start designing the city that we want five and 10 and 20 years in the future,” said Kithes.

“The city needs to focus on sustainability oriented, short and long term economic development,” continued Kithes. “That means addressing our budget crisis head-on, working against the problems that come with establishment politics, enthusiastically investing in public education and public school teachers, working to de-carbonize our energy and address the climate crisis here at home by helping renewable energy companies create projects in the city and growing our tax base as a result, reduce the red tape that make that makes it hard for this city to become an Arts Haven, compassionately address homelessness and the opioid crisis and work as hard as possible to expand the tax base – revitalizing our mainstream and local economy so that people can one day stop talking about what Woonsocket once was and start talking about what Woonsocket has become.

“We have to fix this,” said Kithes. “We have no choice.”

Also running in the election are “perennial candidate” Michael Disney, Roger Jalette Sr, a former Woonsocket City Council President and Anita McGuire-Forcier, a former member of the Woonsocket School Committee. The primary is scheduled for July 2, the general election for August 6.


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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.