Less than two weeks after the un-debate, four of the five candidates who qualified for the ballot in the race to be the Ward 3 city councilor from Providence once again took the stage, this time to answer questions, not just listen to the concerns of residents.
Democrats Daniel Chaika, Rebecca LaFortune and Mark Santow and Republican David Lallier fielded three questions from moderator Ted Nesi, Channel 12’s political reporter and recent Emmy Award recipient. After that there was time for candidates to answer nine questions from audience members on diverse subjects such as crime, racism, urban development and sea level rise.
Like the last debate, this on was hosted at MLK Elementary School by the Mount Hope Neighborhood Association, Summit Neighborhood Association and Observatory Neighborhood Association. Questions were developed based on the topics explored at the un-debate, plus a few unexpected one, such as when Nesi asked the candidates which the the four Providence Mayor’s from this century they think has done the best job. Just under 300 people attended.
There will be one final chance to hear the Ward 3 candidates express their view at 6:30pm, July 6 at the Rochambeau Library on Hope St. This candidate forum will be sponsored by Rhode Island Rights.
First up here are the opening statement from the candidates. The order of the speakers was randomly determined:
What is the number one challenge facing Ward 3 and how would you fix it?
Providence has had four mayors in this century, Buddy Cianci, David Cicilline, Angel Tavares and Jorge Elorza. Who do you think was the best of the four and why?
Should pensions be reduced to lower the shortfall in the pension fund or should they be paid in full?
How are you going to change our approach to economic development so that we are no longer giving money to millionaires?
What sorts of checks and balances can you provide for our charter schools so that there’s transparency for them and also so the un-unionized teachers who work there have a place where they can air their concerns?
Give me one example how, when you get into city council, you’re going to deal with things like gentrification.
Why aren’t schools doing better, where is all that [educational] money going, and what are each of you going to do to make our school system more responsible to actually educating our kids?
A question directly posed to Daniel Chaika, questioning whether he is indeed “new blood” in the race. The question was spurred from a flyer handed out in the district from the Providence Democratic Socialists of America that claimed Chaika was politically connected to ousted City Councilor Kevin Jackson, whose removal from office made this special election necessary.
What is it the City Council can do and should be doing about long term problems such as sea level rise?
Who is going to look at the problem of crime on the city council?
The three men on the panel where asked to describe an incident of racism that they have encountered in Ward 3, and to explain what they did about it.
The last question of the evening concerned library funding.
Here are all the closing statements.
Ted Nesi wraps things up.
And for completeness, here is all the video from the beginning of the forum.