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Politics & Elections

Alex Kithes wins special election for the Woonsocket City Council



“It’s a mandate for politics where we actually fight for the future and not just pretend that the present is okay,” said Kithes.

I asked Alex Kithes, who just won the special election for the Woonsocket City Council, about the day’s ups and downs. Kithes spoke to me by phone with his campaign manager Keith Jillette.

“The ups were finding out we had a lot of turnout, then finding out it was pretty much a 50/50 race, that did not feel very good,” said Jillette.

“That was a half hour of torture,” said Alex Kithes.

“Then the final up was finding out we had won the whole damn thing,” said Jillette. “It was very close. It came down to mail ballots.”

“This is a triumph of the movement here in Woonsocket,” said Kithes. “And it’s a mandate for politics where we actually fight for the future and not just pretend that the present is okay.”

The unofficial count gave Kithes 1343 votes and his opponent, Roger Jalette, 1238 votes.

“It’s a mandate for talking about climate change, and a mandate for talking about public education and the needs to really address the inequities here, and a mandate for talking about the local economy, and not destroying that to appease big business,” Kithes told me.

“It’s also a slap in the face to the local talk radio which obviously did not lose the election for us,” added Kithes. “And it’s a slap in the face to the individual whose brother published his oped at the last minute in The Valley Breeze. And it’s a slap in the face to the five city councilmembers who decided that they were going to back my opponent because he was just going to go with them blindly.

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“It’s a new day in Woonsocket.”

See all the Woonsocket City Council special election coverage here:

“Have you considered writing down your strategies to help other progressives running tough elections across the state?” I asked.

“You mean a progressive playbook?” asked Kithes, “That’s going to happen.”

As for when Kithes starts work: “I’m assuming I’ll be at the next meeting in September. I don’t know when the swearing in is,” said Kithes.

Any last words? I asked.

“You should be present at every city council meeting from now on because there will always be something to cover now.”

The next meeting of the Woonsocket City Council is in September.

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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.