David Norton announces run for Mayor of Pawtucket

The “City of Pawtucket faces a number of challenges that the current administration has failed to address, including the rape of a disabled child in our school system, the effective loss of our Memorial Hospital, and the nonstop Quixotic pursuit of a taxpayer-funded stadium,” writes David Norton, who has previously run for State Representative and State Senate. “Today I announce my intention to run for Mayor of Pawtucket.”

“As mayor of Pawtucket,” said Norton. “I will be pursuing a number of progressive goals with executive orders, guidelines and/or other tools at the disposal of the Mayor.”

Norton provided a preview of his platform:

  • achieving near gender parity on city boards, commissions, and committees,
  • addressing the issue of gun violence and in particular, strongly pursuing restrictions on assault weapons and requiring trigger locks for firearms,
  • ending the archaic use of only male pronouns in the Pawtucket City Charter,
  • recognizing and progressing the rights of transgender individuals with changes in city hiring practices/guidelines and also establishing guidelines for the promotion and creation of gender-neutral bathroom policy.
  • promoting diversity at City Hall, the Pawtucket Police Department, and the Pawtucket Fire and Rescue Departments by changing city hiring practices to recognize the value of ethnic, racial and linguistic diversity
  • establishing a renewable energy requirement on new construction within the city and also solarizing as much city property as possible.
  • establishing an affordable housing requirement on new construction or renovation on large-scale housing projects,
  • protecting our immigrant residents with updated guidelines, proclamations, and education concerning ICE practices

But central to Norton’s candidacy is his opposition to the proposed new PawSox Stadium: “Not fighting for our hospital and instead pursuing a taxpayer-funded stadium for the PawSox billionaire ownership group is certainly not the right direction,” writes Norton.The reckless pursuit of a taxpayer-funded stadium highlights a lack of understanding of the daily struggles of members of our community. The current administration is not only not addressing the concerns of our low-income and minority residents but is exacerbating the issue of income inequality in its reckless and embarrassing pursuit of a taxpayer-funded stadium which will burden out low-income/high-tax city with debt for an entire three decades.”

Norton is challenging Democratic Mayor Donald Grebien.


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About Steve Ahlquist 606 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading. atomicsteve@gmail.com

4 Comments

  1. Though not a Pawtucket resident I admire David Norton’s platform, especially his courageous opposition to the proposed ridiculous taxpayer subsidy for rich out of state Pawsox owners playing us for suckers to build them a new stadium for a minor league team. Golocal reports the Pawsox may even be inflating their attendance figures to help them justify that giveaway.
    However, I do hope Mr Norton supports building the commuter rail station and working with Central Fall to improve road, bus, bike and pedestrian access to that area that has much potential to improve the economy. Related, I hope he will also continue the effort to get the Blackstone Bikeway to central Pawtucket (and to Central Falls) which can not only help mobility in the cities, it can help market the Blackstone National Heritage Park by tying together various sites such as Slater Mill.
    Finally, it seems the current Pawtucket administration is willing to leave bus passengers without a central hub in downtown Pawtucket. RIPTA has such problems because a lot of their riders are poor. I think they should be allowed to keep their downtown bus station, at least until a new facility is built near the train station.

    • Barry, thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, I do have some reservations about the commuter rail station in Pawtucket. Before I explain my reservations, I want you to know that I have lived in 4 different countries with advanced transportation systems (Denmark, Germany, Japan, and Chile) and in Kobe, Japan (10 years). In Kobe, I lived within a 15-minute-walk of 3 separate train lines.

      My reservations about the commuter rail station in Pawtucket have to do with the Commerce Corporation and how that entity tends to act as a private bank (Chafee has called it a candy store in the past, I believe) for developers in Rhode Island. I have heard the Pawtucket Foundation mention the commuter rail station as a “Park and Ride” station which I find to be just awful. There is also a developer, who is a convicted slumlord, that owns 50% of the property around the commuter rail station. This developer uses shell corporations and other means to get tax incentives from the Commerce Corporation while bankrupting small businesses and deceiving the Pawtucket City Council. I also fear that the development of high-end mill properties will cause a gentrification of the Cape Verdean community around the train station.

      What I would like to see happen with the commuter rail station is probably in line with what you mentioned about improving the road, bus, bike and pedestrian access to that area. I’d also push to require an affordable housing and solarization component for any renovated/developed property above a certain monetary threshold.

      I think that the commuter rail station would be a fantastic opportunity to solarize the entire area and make it pedestrian and bicycle friendly. I don’t wish to see Pawtucket residents (Cape Verdean residents) be pushed out and replaced with Bostonians who might live there for a few years and decide to leave. My main goal would be to have a renewable energy and affordable housing requirement which might be tough considering the resistance that actors like the Pawtucket Foundation put up to progressive ideas.

      I met with the members of the 2020 committee (pro-PawSox committee) a few months ago. They wanted to know how they might get support for a new stadium and I suggested some progressive solutions like solarizing the entire stadium and parking lots, among other things, but my suggestions fell on deaf ears. I feel that the Pawtucket foundation (many board members are realtors or represent developers) would be equally ignorant on issues of development.

      Anyway, I’d love to have influence over how the commuter rail station and the surrounding area is developed!

      Thanks,

      David Norton

  2. Small points, but—re: your first and third bullet points… I served on the last Charter Review Commission, and at least in this case, gender parity was not an issue. Also, gender neutral language was one of the Commission’s recommendations–one which we considered “low-hanging fruit,” to say the least (who would possibly disagree with this?).

    This recommendation went nowhere–was not even approved to be presented to the public for vote. The Commission’s recommendations had the Mayor’s full support, and the city’s legal counsel had reviewed the recommendations. The failure of this recommendation to even get the public’s consideration was not a function of the Mayor. There were several other recommendations that also went nowhere. I’d like if you could address this/provide your thoughts.

  3. The guy who fought so hard to get rid of the Pawsox is gonna run against Grebien and blame him for losing the Pawsox. Lol

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