“On social issues, my life experience and worldview tell me that a 99% white fire department in a city that is only 50% white is indicative of more than just systemic racism: it is indicative of a serious lack of leadership over the past 10 years of the current administration.“
Monday morning I filed my candidate declaration to be elected mayor of the city of Pawtucket. Pawtucket faces massive social and economic challenges both short and long term and I would like to help shape the strategy for dealing with these pressing challenges for Pawtucket, Rhode Island. We face not only a long-term public health crisis but likely the worst economic downturn of our lives. We must prepare ourselves for significant economic and social change.
I am an Army veteran, a former English teacher, a small business owner, and a proud father. I hold a different view of the world than many other Pawtucket residents. I was born and raised in Pawtucket but have spent much of my adult life living and learning abroad in Germany, Denmark, Chile, and Japan. My wife and daughter are immigrants and I myself lived as an immigrant in Japan for 10 years. I often feel that I relate more to the immigrant community in terms of world view and life experience.
On social issues, my life experience and worldview tell me that a 99% white fire department in a city that is only 50% white is indicative of more than just systemic racism: it is indicative of a serious lack of leadership over the past 10 years of the current administration. I feel because of my diverse experiences and view of the world that I have a very unique vision, and that I am uniquely qualified, for the job of being mayor of Pawtucket. I envision a city that treats residents equally both in terms of city hiring and communication. Our discriminatory policy isn’t only one city department, either, according to the current administration’s own Affirmative Action Report city employees, across all departments, are 94% white and I estimate that 97% of our public school educators are white (I estimate because our school department doesn’t even have an Affirmative Action Plan). I seek to end our obviously discriminatory city hiring practices by reforming city and school department hiring practices.
Continuing with social issues, my life experience and worldview tell me that Black Lives Matter. I envision policy and culture changes to address this issue: On policy, I envision working with an NAACP-oriented review board to address and implement solutions to our discriminatory hiring practices, On culture, I envision a city-sponsored Juneteenth (celebration of African American freedom) event each year.
On economic issues, I envision a city where we reject the use of taxpayer money for pie-in-the-sky projects for wealthy out-of-state investors. My administration will fight to end the state’s imposition of a very unfair car tax and fight to ensure that the complete phasing out of the car tax for Pawtucket residents is accomplished. My administration will focus on a bottom-up economic development strategy that supports local small and family businesses with a focus on specialty goods and services that utilizes our many unique and diverse cultural traditions and activities. My vision for this specialty goods and services strategy includes city-promoted Art, Music, and Sport.
Continuing on issues that are both economic and social, I envision a city that fights against state Medicaid cuts and funding cuts to nursing homes. I envision a city that prioritizes the well being of residents over the interests of wealthy developers. I envision a city where tax money is used for fire departments, emergency preparedness, affordable housing, and schools, not for building entertainment venues for wealthy folks.
Of course, it is not possible to cover all of the issues in a single press release but my priorities will always be with helping our most vulnerable residents whether that is a social issue or an economic issue. Folks can reach out to me with any questions that they might have at www.electdavidnorton.com