Politics & Elections

Senate District 3 candidates attend community meet and greet – full video

“The Defund the Police issue is one of those things we as society have to make a decision on,” said Alex Cannon, the lone Republican in the race. “I’m opposed to that. I think the police – there’s problems – but I don’t think that means eradicate the force and institute social workers provide public safety.”

Published on September 27, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist

On Sunday morning the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island held the first (and only?) in-person meet and greet for Senate District 3 candidates campaigning in the special election to replace former State Senator Gayle Goldin (Democrat, Providence) who has taken a job with the Biden Administration.

With just nine days left in the race, candidates were able to make their case to the thirty or so attendees – outside under the cover of a tent, a makeshift sukkah. (According to tradition, the sukkah represents the huts in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt.)


Here’s the schedule:

  • September 15 – October 4, 2021: Early in-person voting period for the primary
  • October 5, 2021: PRIMARY – Polls open 7am to 8 pm.
  • October 3, 2021: Last day to register to vote in the special election
  • October 12, 2021: Last day to submit a mail ballot application for the election
  • October 13 – November 1, 2021: Early in-person voting period for the election
  • November 2, 2021: ELECTION DAY – Polls open 7am to 8 pm.      

Each candidate in the upcoming Democratic primary – Bret Jacob, Geena Pham, Hilary Levey Friedman, Ray Rickman and Sam Zurier – was given up to five minutes to make their case. Also given five minutes was Republican candidate Alex Cannon, who will face off against the Democratic primary winner, since he has no primary challenger. After their short presentations the candidates answered two questions from the public.

Here’s all the video:

“The Defund the Police issue is one of those things we as society have to make a decision on,” said Alex Cannon, the lone Republican in the race. “I’m opposed to that. I think the police – there’s problems – but I don’t think that means eradicate the force and institute social workers provide public safety.

“The other one is the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights. I’m opposed to the repeal of that, but I am in favor of more civil oversight and taking some of the power away from the police union.”

Out of town due to a family obligation, Bret Jacob sent Jessica Sherwood to read a statement on his behalf.

“I’ve fought for low-income communities every day in my work for the City of Providence and I will continue advocating for affordable housing, better schools, climate resiliency and criminal justice reform At the State House,” wrote Bret Jacob in a statement.

For more on Bret Jacob, see the Uprise RI interview here.

“Public education is very, very important to me,” said candidate Geena Pham. “And making sure that Rhode Island schools, specifically Providence Schools, get to where they should be. I run because of my students – because of the futures that they face. They are far more aware of climate change – of what’s going on in their futures – than we give them credit for. Teenagers are smarter than you think.”


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For more on Geena Pham, see the Uprise RI interview here.

“For my children, and for all children, I worry about the climate crisis,” said candidate Hilary Levey Friedman. “I worry every day, when I send them to school, about the possibility of a mass shooting happening. These are issues that have driven me and drive me every day.”

For more on Hilary Levey Friedman, see the Uprise RI interview here.

“I’m a concrete person. I don’t do speeches about what I’m going to do. I give speeches about what I am in the process of doing, ” said candidate Ray Rickman who emphasized that he’s running or the 23,000 children in Providence Public Schools.

For more on Ray Rickman, see the Uprise RI interview here.

“I brought the case in Superior Court to argue that there is a right to education in the Rhode Island Constitution,” said candidate Sam Zurier. “The Supreme Court said, ‘No, there is no such right, you have to go to the General Assembly if you want to fix it.’

“I believe if we ever put that to the voters, the voters would say, ‘Yes, there is a right to education.'”

For more on Sam Zurier, see the the Uprise RI interview here.

The candidates were asked what distinguishes them. How will they get their point across and get legislation passed?

The candidates are asked about taxes. What taxes would they raise or lower?

Here are the opening words from Adam Greenman, President and CEO of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island and Director of Community Relations Stephanie Hague:

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