Kat Kerwin, one of Providence’s youngest candidates for city council, has perhaps already won the Ward 12 seat—by default.
The deadline for candidates to file required nomination signatures with the Board of Canvassers in order to appear on the ballot in September came and went Monday afternoon. Ward 12 Councilman Terrence Hassett confirmed he had only received 47 of the required 50 signatures—ceding a now unopposed race to Kerwin.
“I plan to continue the work that I have been doing since January registering voters in the Smith Hill and Downtown area, and hearing concerns about the issues that matter most to the hardworking people of this city,” she said in a statement released Tuesday. “This victory proves that elections can be won by first time candidates, young candidates, women candidates, candidates of color, and LGBTQ+ candidates.”
Kerwin, who led activist campaigns in her time at University of Wisconsin, Madison and who currently works as the director of communications at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, gave a strong showing at last week’s Downtown Neighborhood Association’s Q&A for Ward 1 and Ward 12 candidates. Her campaign emphasized greater public safety, education reform, and stronger local protections against gun violence amidst a hostile national political climate. RI Future was fairly critical of Hassett’s answers during the same session, many of which seemed to not respond to Kerwin’s policy positions, and one of which seemed to misunderstand the question entirely.
On Twitter, WPRI’s Dan McGowan wondered whether Councilman Hassett’s sudden loss will affect his decision regarding the 600-foot Fane Tower proposed for the Jewelry District. Councilman Hassett chairs the city Ordinance Committee, which is the next body slated to consider the proposal. A public hearing regarding the tower is scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30pm in the city council chambers on the third floor of city hall.