A Providence Mayoral debate

Jorge Elorza

Three Democratic party primary debates were held in Providence on Thursday evening at the Dr Martin Luther King Elementary School in  Providence Thursday evening. Candidates for Rhode Island House District 4, Rhode Island Senate District 6 and Mayor of Providence took questions from WPRI/Channel 12 reporter Dan McGowan and the audience, in an event that pushed the three-hour mark on a hot, sweaty night.


For convenience, I’ve divided the three debates into three separate posts, available here:

The Rhode Island House District 4 debate

The Rhode Island Senate District 6 debate

A Providence Mayoral debate


The evening’s debates were the second part of a two-part series. In the first half, the “Un-Debate,” candidates listened to the the concerns of constituents. This was presented as a way for candidates to “learn more about the needs of the community they seek to represent.” The event below follows a more traditional format.

The debates were sponsored by the Mount Hope Neighborhood Association, Summit Neighborhood Association, and Observatory Neighborhood Association, in collaboration with the Providence Cultural Equity Initiative.

Democrat Jorge Elorza is the incumbent Mayor of Providence. He is being challenged by Kobi Dennis and Dr Robert DeRobbio in the Democratic Primary. The winner will face Independent candidates DianneDee DeeWitman and Jeffrey Lemire in the General Election.

Here’s the opening statement of Robert DeRobbio:

Here’s the opening statement of Mayor Jorge Elorza:

Here’s the opening statement of Kobi Dennis:

A question about the school repair bonds and how fast we should approach rebuilding our schools:

What one thing might immediately improve educational outcomes in Providence Schools?

The Providence Teachers Union (PTU) is still without a contract.

A question about after school programs:

What are we doing to address technology and preparing our students to be able to deal with technology?

The Port of Providence is a key economic driver in the state. But what are the Port’s effects on neighborhoods in our state?

A question about Mayor Jorge Elorza‘s plan to monetize/sell/lease Providence Water.

A question about getting the City’s colleges and hospitals to pay more money, and to be better partners to Providence.

What do you intend to do about the 123 unsolved murders in Rhode Island since 2000?

McGowan with “three, quick, rapid-fire questions” :

Would you sign or veto a zoning change into law for the Fane Tower?

Do you support speed cameras?

Would you support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21?

Here’s the closing statement of Kobi Dennis:

Here’s the closing statement of Jorge Elorza:

Here’s the closing statement of Robert DeRobbio:

Jorge Elorza
Robert DeRobbio
Kobe Dennis

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About Steve Ahlquist 659 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

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