PowerPlayer: Central Falls Councilman James Diossa
Monday, January 23, 2012
This week’s PowerPlayer is Central Falls City Councilman James Diossa. Councilman Diossa was kind enough to chat with GoLocalProv about the work he’s been doing in the cash-strapped city and his vision for the future.
1) You're a young guy. What made you want to get into politics and how eye-opening has it been since you became a Councilman?
I always wanted to give back to the city where I was born and grew up in. I felt that as a councilman I could have more leverage to create positive change for my city. I also wanted to encourage young adults to get involved in the political process, which was all very new to me. The eye opener for me was understanding how decisions that impact so many lives were made with little input from the majority of city residents and taxpayers.
Going into receivership has been very hard on this city, but one thing that has happened is that more people are speaking up, attending meetings and getting involved. I think that was made clear with the library situation, the overnight parking ban and now the fight to keep our post office open. People want a say in what is happening in their city, and they are more involved every day. There is increased awareness. People are paying attention and that is a great thing.
2) What's the end game in Central Falls? Where is the city 10 years from now?
This is a great community of hard-working families who are proud of their city. Its walkable size, retail business districts and diversity are important assets. Ten years from now Central Falls will be known as a national model of urban renewal. Central Falls has always been seen as a place where immigrant workers settled until they were able to climb the economic ladder and move out. We are changing that perception, and we are trying to create the conditions that will make people want to move here from other cities because it is a cool place to live and a great place to raise your family. We are already starting to make significant progress in our schools and we are working to make more resources available to our small businesses. The third area we need to focus on is expanding affordable homeownership opportunities. This is a city with a bright future.
3) Take us through a day in your life.
I am a Middle School Advisor at the College Crusade of Rhode Island, where I help kids achieve their goal of going to college. I mentor studentsto help them overcomeany challenges that might keep them from finishing school and entering college. After work I answer calls and emails from constituents and meet with people and groups working to improving the city of Central Falls.
4) You've received a lot praise for your work in Central Falls. Would you like to run for higher office at some point? Anything in particular?
Right now I am focused on making sure that my constituents are engaged and have a strong voice during this very difficult time in the city's history.
5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.
I enjoy listening to classical music.
Role Model: My Grandfather
Favorite Restaurant: Too many in Central Falls for me to pick one
Best Beach: Narragansett Beach
Best Book You've Read in the Last Year: The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama
Advice for the Next James Diossa: Follow your heart, be sincere, and the truth will set you free in anything that you do.
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