On the night before his recall election, Providence City Councilor Kevin Jackson (Ward 3) wasn’t knocking on doors on the East Side, trying to bolster support. Instead, he was across town, in Armory Park, celebrating May Day with a diverse coalition of community groups in support of passing the Community Safety Act (CSA). There, on a stage far from most of his constituents, Jackson gave his last speech as a City Council member.
Jackson didn’t talk about his legal woes, or his battle to retain his seat. Instead, he talked about what he called “the most important piece of legislation that could ever come out of the city council.”
“There was such a disgraceful display of leadership last Thursday night…” Jackson said sharply, referring the the Providence City Council‘s last minute delay in passing the CSA, “Because of an intimidating letter by the police union, so many of my colleagues, unfortunately, turned their back on the community…”
Jackson disputed the contention that the Providence FOP “didn’t have their moment at the table” when meetings were conducted between representatives of the community and government officials. “That’s a complete lie. There [were] many community meetings, there were many public meetings, where the [FOP] stood still [and] never got up and spoke into the mic. They were sat around the table with the coalition that put together the Community Safety Act and again, they didn’t speak when they were asked to speak.”
Looking to the future of the CSA, Jackson said, “We have to make sure, whether I’m around that table or not, that there’s accountability for the people that we’ve elected. It’s been an honor to be a councilman for 22 years, and it’s been an honor because I’ve listened to the community, and everything I’ve developed has come from the community. And that’s what you have to hold all my colleagues accountable to…
“You are the power… You have to make sure your voices are heard and not just the people who have power because they have money.”
Ward 3 voted 1,772 to 158 to recall Kevin Jackson, per unofficial results.