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Candidates for Providence City Council Ward One special election meet voters at forum

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The three candidates running in the special election to fill the vacant Ward One seat on the Providence City Council were at the Downtown Neighborhood Association for a candidate forum. The forum was moderated by Boston Globe political reporter Dan McGowan.


The three candidates:

Nick Cicchitelli is a 34 year old real estate manager.

Anthony Santurri is a 60-year old nightclub owner.

John Goncalves is a 28-year old teacher at the Wheeler School and one of the founders of Providence Coalition of Neighborhood Associations.

Anthony Santurri, John Goncalves and Nick Cicchitelli

For the first Ward One Candidate forum, held by the Jewelry District Association, see: Voters meet candidates at Providence City Council Ward 1 special election forum


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Below is video of all the answers they gave, broken down by the questions asked.

The candidates introduce themselves:

Nick Cicchitelli:

John Goncalves:

Anthony Santurri:

What is your specific plan to stay in constant contact with the voters of Ward One?

Anthony Santurri:

John Goncalves:

Nick Cicchitelli:

What’s the biggest concern people have as you go door to door in your district?

John Goncalves:

Anthony Santurri:

Nick Cicchitelli:

What is the answer to addressing home owner taxation?

Nick Cicchitelli:

John Goncalves:

Anthony Santurri:

Do you support the ordinance (and the General Assembly bill) that would ban discrimination based on source of income?

Anthony Santurri:

John Goncalves:

Nick Cicchitelli:

Would you support limiting the number of students in a unit or residence to three students?

John Goncalves:

Anthony Santurri:

Nick Cicchitelli:

What role do you think the City Council should play when it comes to education in Providence?

Nick Cicchitelli:

John Goncalves:

Anthony Santurri:

Do you support the expansion of Achievement First in Providence? and

Do you support an elected school board, as opposed to the current system where the Mayor nominates the School Board?

All candidates:

One of the critiques of the proposed Fane Tower is that it is a classic example of spot zoning. Do you support the banning of all spot zoning, or should Providence decide this on a case by case scenario? also,

Thumbs up or down on the Fane Tower?

John Goncalves:

Anthony Santurri:

Nick Cicchitelli:

Is there a line to draw on tax stabilization agreements, or is this the method we need to spur economic development?

Nick Cicchitelli:

John Goncalves:

Anthony Santurri:

What’s your favorite part of living in Providence?

Anthony Santurri:

John Goncalves:

Nick Cicchitelli:

Would you ever support reducing benefits for existing retirees to deal with the $1B in unfunded pension liabilities? and

What about existing employees?

John Goncalves:

Nick Cicchitelli:

Anthony Santurri:

Would you ever support selling or leasing the Providence Water Supply?

All candidates:

How do you stand up for changes, like reducing our dependence on cars in favor of other modes of transportation even though they may be unpopular among current residents and constituents?

Nick Cicchitelli:

John Goncalves:

Anthony Santurri:

Where do you stand on the Port of Providence?

Anthony Santurri:

John Goncalves:

Nick Cicchitelli:

Who are you supporting for President?

All candidates:

What letter grade do you give Jorge Elorza for his performance as Mayor of Providence?

All candidates:

Who is your political role model in Rhode Island?

All candidates:

What one City Council Committee would you like to sit on?

All candidates:

Questions from the audience:

The Providence Place Mall, an important asset in Ward One, has many problems, including store closings and youth violence. Is this something the City Council can deal with?

All candidates:

A question about building access for disabled people who use assistance devices.

All candidates:

How would you vote on rent control and renter boards, if brought before the City Council?

All candidates:

Would you vote for the student housing ordinance (limiting the number of students per unit) which is already the law?

All candidates:

Closing statements:

Anthony Santurri:

John Goncalves:

Nick Cicchitelli:


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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. atomicsteve@gmail.com