Connect with us

Politics & Elections

WBNA’s House District 9 Candidate Forum gets personal, touches on Britt trial

Published

on

The West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA) holds excellent candidate forums every election year. This year in the general election only one candidate in the WBNA neighborhood has an opponent. Political newcomer Rosa Marie Hill is challenging incumbent State Representative Anastasia Williams for her House District 9 seat.

Hill is running as an Independent, but when asked “Who are the people you are consulting with and learning from?” Hill laughed and answered, “David Talan.” Talan is the co-chair of the Providence Republican Party, who ran the comeback campaign of Ramon Perez in House District 13.

Anastasia Williams is the powerful state legislator who successfully managed her bill codifying Roe v Wade into state law. She is a member of Speaker Nicholas Mattiello‘s leadership team and chairs the House Labor Committee. She has been a state representative for decades, but not without some controversy.

On Monday Williams and former Pawtucket Representative David Coughlin were revealed to be clients of Edward Cotugna, a man with an election mail ballot expert, as he testified in the trial of Jeffrey Britt. Testimony at the trial, still ongoing, has revealed a seamy, ethically cavalier attitude among the Speaker and his allies when it comes to campaigning.

Asked about her name coming up in the trial, Williams was unapologetic, saying, “I am glad to hear that my name came up. I haven’t been following that trial. But I have no shame in my game. If you have a service that you can render that I may need, I will certainly engage with you for that service. So if my name came up because I hired those individuals, so be it. It’s not anything illegal, immoral or to be ashamed about. Services are out there for our choosing and picking, and I chose a firm, an entity, that provided services that I needed at that particular time, or whenever they said, because I didn’t hear the testimony or anything.”

“I have no comment for her normal behavior,” responded Hill.


Can you help us?

Funding for our reporting relies entirely on the generosity of readers like you. Our independence allows us to write stories that hold RI state and local government officials accountable. All of our stories are free and available to everyone. But your support is essential to keeping Steve and Will on the beat, covering the costs of reporting many stories in a single day. If you are able to, please support Uprise RI. Every contribution, big or small is so valuable to us. You provide the motivation and financial support to keep doing what we do. Thank you.

Become a Patron!
Opens in a new tab - you won't lose you place

One surprise, for people not intimately familiar with the candidates, is the fact that the candidates know each other. In fact, Representative Williams, while serving on the board of the John Hope Settlement House, was among those who voted to terminate Hill’s position there as a day car worker. Williams maintains that Hill left children unattended numerous times, resulting in her termination. Hill countered that she would never leave anyone’s child unattended, implied that her termination was political or personal in nature, and said that many people were terminated during Williams’ time on the board but that after Williams left, everyone came back.

Below are the answers each candidate gave to every question asked, starting with introductions.

Representative Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill:

What does “Defunding the Police” mean to you?

Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill:

COVID cases and deaths have recently been on the rise. Our zip code has a high concentration of cases. What can we do collectively?

Rosa Marie Hill:

Anastasia Williams:

What are you doing or plan to do to help community members who are living in their vehicles or without shelter? What specific steps will you take to improve their situation in an ethical way?

Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill:

In January the Speaker said there’s nothing the General Assembly should do about the climate crisis. Do you agree and if not, what are your priorities for Rhode Island action on the climate crisis?

Rosa Marie Hill:

Anastasia Williams:

Is there one specific thing that we could do to help [fight] climate change in Rhode Island?

Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill:

Do you support the current leadership at the General Assembly? What are each candidate’s position on voting for Nicholas Mattiello as Speaker?

Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill:

The City is in tough financial shape. What will you do to protect homeowners from increased taxes and renters from increased rents? And to protect city employees who are in a union and hoping for a pension?

Rosa Marie Hill:

Anastasia Williams:

Providence schools recently gained national attention for poor performance and outcomes. What specific changes would you like to see in our public school system? How do you plan to improve the education of the children in our community?

Rosa Marie Hill:

Anastasia Williams:

I would love to know, from each candidate, what are they doing for Black issues here in Rhode Island?

Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill:

There have been reports of significant contamination at the Route 6/10 construction site. excessive dust from hazardous material and polluted storm water runoff is cause for serious concern for the health of our neighbors and the larger watershed. How will you ensure the health and safety of our neighbors?

Rosa Marie Hill:

Anastasia Williams:

Both of you have been involved at John Hope Settlement House. What should be done to save this important institution?

Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill:

Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill:

What is your opinion about the protests that have been taking place in Providence and around the country? What should be done when these protests become violent?And why do you think the protests become violent?

Rosa Marie Hill:

Anastasia Williams:

There is an old saying that goes, “See trash, leave trash.” The amount of graffiti and the defacing of private and public property has increased notably in our community. What specifically will you do to advocate for the cleanliness of our community?

Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill:

To Rosa Marie Hill: Who are the people you are consulting with and learning from?

Anastasia Williams:

To Anastasia Williams: Yesterday was the first day of the Jeff Britt trial in relation to potential money laundering associated with Speaker Mattiello’s campaign. Your name came up often during testimony from political consultant Edward Cotugno who was potentially involved in criminal activity related to that trial. Should voters be concerned that he noted that you relied on his mail ballot expertise and and have surrounded yourself with unsavory members of the Speaker’s team?

Rosa Marie Hill:

As Representative, how would you fight systemic racism and inequality in Rhode Island and in our neighborhood?

Rosa Marie Hill:

Anastasia Williams:

What will you do to address tax fraud and contractors not paying taxes?

Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill:

Our community in Providence and our state has many people who have died and families that are grieving. Do you have any ideas about ways we can honor our dead as was done this past Sunday in Washington DC?

Rosa Marie Hill:

Anastasia Williams:

Why are you qualified for this job?

Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill:

Closing remarks from Anastasia Williams:

Rosa Marie Hill did not provide any closing remarks.