Angel Taveras, mayoral candidate, presented last Wednesday at the first Uncaucus Coffee with the Candidates at the Friendship Café on Broad St. Coming from a immigrant family and making his way to Harvard and Georgetown Law, Mr. Taveras gave an idea to listeners on how his upbringing has influenced his values and political goals if elected mayor.
Born to Dominican immigrants, Taveras grew up in Providence. At age 7, his parents divorced and he credits his upbringing after to the strong women in his life-his sister and mother. His desire to pursue a career in law began in 3rd grade and continued leading him to Harvard and Georgetown for law school. After law school, Taveras worked in Washington D.C. serving people from all walks of life.
Returning to Providence, Taveras has now decided to run for mayor. His main points at the Uncaucus today revolved around education, unemployment, and the budget.
His primary focus, education, concerned making Providence a Children’s Zone similiar to a model pioneered in Harlem where there are pockets of high performing students. Taveras discussed the high cost of private schools as a large barrier preventing many Providence residents from providing the level of education needed by their children to succeed. He cited a desire for Providence to have the best education in the state as well as the nation and to decrease the high drop out rate by starting education early and keeping kids involved through both afterschool and summer activities.
Transitioning into questions about unemployment and the budget, Taveras began discussing Rhode Island’s 13% unemployment rate and the need for new jobs. He indicated that unemployment in some Providence neighborhoods may be twice the state rate. He discussed holding developers accountable for hiring residents of Providence and making sure that investments in the city are made. He also expressed concern for immigrant workers who give billions of dollars in revenue as reported by the Social Security Administration and IRS but were viewed with feelings of anger.
With regards to the budget, questions were raised as to what Taveras would do regarding the $50 million borrowing campaign initiated by the current mayor. His response to helping the budget was to assess different, specific aspects of the city’s revenue streams. For example, Taveras mentioned the deference of longevity pay that would save the city four to five million dollars a year. Another recommendation was to look at the restructuring of pension benefits to gain a healthier economic status. Taveras also discussed regionalizing and cited his friendships with the mayors of Cranston and Pawtucket as strengths to pursue this strategy. He noted how the overall problem was not easy but actions had to be taken now otherwise change would never happen.
Taveras also discussed his retaining, recruiting, and reforming ideals with regards to businesses in Rhode Island. He wants to not only attract new businesses by relaxing stringent rules but also wants to promote current businesses through government offices such as the Economic Development Office. In the end, Taveras would like to make Providence a “destination city.”
The first Uncaucus was a great success with a fantastic turnout! We look forward to welcoming another mayoral candidate, John Lombardi, to hear his views on these and many other issues to make Providence better!
June 23 - Angel Taveras
June 30 - John Lombardi
July 27 - Steven Costantino