Four out of five candidates take the stage at a Providence mayoral forum

The Providence League of Women Voters, in conjunction with University of Rhode Island‘s Master of Public Administration Program hosted a Providence Mayoral Forum Tuesday evening.

The forum was moderated by Rhode Island Public Radio‘s Scott MacKay.

All five candidates for Mayor of Providence attended the forum, but only four candidates took to the stage. Independent Jeffrey Lemire told me that he wasn’t going to be actively campaigning until after the September 12 primary.

This left the stage to the three Democrats, incumbent Mayor Jorge Elorza, former school superintendent Robert DeRobbio and community organizer Kobi Dennis along with Independent candidate DianneDee-DeeWitman, a political fundraiser.

Here’s all the video:

Opening statement from Kobi Dennis:

Opening statement from Robert DeRobbio:

Opening statement from Jorge Elorza:

Opening statement from Dianne Witman:

The questions were all asked by Scott MacKay:

Q1. Do you support the zoning change to allow the Fane Tower to be built or not?

Q2. Affordable housing is a growing concern in the city. There is a rent control ordinance that DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality) is advocating. Would you support some form of rent control?

Q3. What level of collaboration should exist between the Providence Police Department and United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?

Q4. Even the Trump Justice Department is going after Providence, asserting that the City doesn’t do enough to help English learning students. How would you pay for all the changes the City will be required to make?

Q5. We all know that there’s a large, unfunded liability in our pension system. The Mayor has advocated for a plan with a plan to leverage the Providence Water Supply Board to try to shore up the pension. What’s your plan for the City’s underfunded pension system?

Q6. Are colleges, universities and hospitals contributing enough to the City, and if not, what more should they be required to do?

Q7. There seems to be some problems with the Providence Teacher’s Union (PTU) and the administration. What are your ideas to have better relations between the PTU and City Hall?

Q8. Do you support National Grid’s proposed LNG Facility at the Port of Providence?

Q9. There’s a lot of talk, particularly among some of the merchants, about homelessness downtown, and also out in some of our neighborhoods. What kind of plans to you have for combating the homelessness that we see?

Q10. Why do you feel the Community Safety Act (CSA) and the Providence External Review Authority (PERA) are still not fully functional?

Q11. What can be done to control runaway disability costs among some of our City employees?

Q12. Something we hear a lot about from both the commercial folks in business and from homeowners is what could you do to stabilize property taxes?

Q13. How does Providence maintain its status as a Creative Capital without this leading to gentrification?

Q14. Are there any specific actions that you could take to improve the rail service to Boston?

Q15. Mayor Elorza, you travel out of state quite a bit. You say these trips get ideas for the City, and that this is a good thing. What new programming has been put into effect because of your travels?

Closing statement from Kobi Dennis:

Closing statement from Dianne Witman:

Closing statement from Robert DeRobbio:

Closing statement from Jorge Elorza:


See also:

Providence mayoral candidates target Elorza in debate

Providence mayoral candidates debate tower, water system plans


Kobi Dennis
Dianne Witman
Jorge Elorza
Robert DeRobbio
Jeffrey Lemire

Jorge Elorza
Kobi Dennis

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About Steve Ahlquist 597 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

1 Comment

  1. Among the candidates surveyed, Poland Springs holds a 5 to 1 lead over Aquafina(I think that’s Aquafina in front of Whitman), with Elorza in full support of Poland Springs by a 2 to 0 margin and Whitman’s support split between the two bottlers. Providence’s “greatest asset” did not even register one vote of support. It seems none of the candidates are aware of the technological innovation known as the insulated water bottle. What does this auger for the future of our fair city one wonders . . . . ?

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