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Providence City Council: Who Will Be the Next President?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


With Providence City Council President Michael Solomon running for Mayor -- who will be his successor?

At least three current Providence City Council members say they plan on pursuing the Council Presidency with current President Michael Solomon running for Mayor -- and several others are indicating that they are eying the post.

Who Could Be President? See City Council Bios BELOW

"I think what we need is someone who can represent the whole council," said Ward 3 Councilman Kevin Jackson. "When you have a divided council, you empower who's on the 2nd floor and we've seen a lot of that. I definitely believe through my experience as the longest standing Councilperson that I can bring people together with my hands-on experience. I bring a calming factor."

"I'm running," said President Pro Tempore Terry Hassett. "I think the position needs the institutional knowledge of the city -- and city government -- number one. I got an early start in public service on the Board of Regents, and have served in almost every capacity."

And one Council member believes he has the votes necessary to succeed Solomon.

"I've already considered it, I've been speaking with many of my colleagues, and I'm very much interested in it," said Ward 6 Councilman Michael Correia. "At this time I have the support of the membership that I need. I look forward to becoming the next council President but anything can happen between between now and 2015."

Next at the Helm?

Primaries could play a factor in the future direction of the council - as well as voting factions.

Ways and Means Chairman David Salvatore said that as far as the President's post is concerned, "Right now, I'm concentrating on the responsibilities of the council's ways and means committee. My mission is to help my district and the city where I was born and raised. Should I be tapped for the post, then I'll deal with matters at that particular time."

Salvatore continued, "The council needs a president who remains focused on the obvious priorities; that is fiscal control - primarily - by holding the line on expenses. Our city's biggest opportunity is aggressively pursuing ways in which to help promote a better business climate -- recognizing there's a direct correlation to what happens at that state level."

Councilman Sam Zurier noted, as did a number of council members, that any discussion of who could be next was in its nascent stages -- despite some members already declaring their intentions.

"I think this discussion is premature until the voters have spoken in the primary and/or general election. With that said, I am not interested in seeking the position if I am re-elected, and I am not aware of any clear front-runner among my colleagues," said Zurier. 

Of the next City Council President, Zurier said the person would need to "bring the individual City Council members together in a team that helps move the City forward, support the work of City Council members to serve their constituents...develop a good working relationship with the Mayor and maintain a quality and productive staff in the City Council and Clerk’s offices."

"I think there are several people who are interested, myself included," said Councilman Luis Aponte. "I think it's on some folks to-do list, but it's not immediate however, the council's got work to. We'll see more at some point after the September [primary] elections, it will be a lively debate. Right now, there are much more exciting races."

Contenders in the Mix

Providence City Hall

"Part of the question is who's coming," said Aponte. "Solomon's not coming back, so there a few folks organizing for his seat, including former Councilman Patrick Butler. Jacinta Pena's running against [Councilman] Narducci. [Councilman] Jennings has at least two declared candidates."

Anthony Sionni is another challenger in the race, running for Councilman Salvatore's seat in Ward 14.

Former Mayor -- and City Council Chairman -- Joe Paolino echoed sentiments that while it was still too early to tell anything, there were things to watch for as developments unfolded.

"You can't handicap [this] until you see who's got a primary," said Paolino. "If there are some candidates running now, they might try to put some money into a race to help defeat someone else."

"If you ultimately have two factions, a third candidate could become the kingmaker - or the king," said Paolino. "The Mayor's race will be important, but it's a political "no-no" for a Mayor to get involved in a City Council race."

Former State Representative and Deputy Secretary of State Ray Rickman spoke to the visibility of the President position.

"The Council President as holder of the office doesn't get a lot of attention -- the public doesn't know that person as a rule. Their clout comes from getting the Council to do things," said Rickman. "I think Solomon gets a lot of credit for cobbling together the Swim Commission."

As for the outgoing Council President?

"My advice for the next president is: Put the city first. As president, your duty is to set the direction of the council during your term. It is more than a full-time job if you are fully committed to it, but if you build strong relationships with your Council colleagues, and with the Mayor, you can overcome immense challenges and achieve great things for Providence," said Solomon. "Through focused effort, and many sacrifices, we overcame a $110 million deficit, and now we are looking ahead to being able to invest in our neighborhoods and our schools, and to improve the quality of life in our city."


Related Slideshow: Providence City Council: Who Will Be the Next President?

Several members of the current Providence City Council have declared their intentions to seek the Council Presidency, with Michael Solomon's departure. 

Below is the current city council. 

Prev Next

Seth Yurdin

Councilman Seth Yurdin was first elected in 2006 to represent Ward One of Providence, and was re-elected in 2010.

Between 2011-2015, his committee appointments include:

  • Chairman of the Committee on Ordinances
  • Member, Committee on City Property
  • Member, Committee on Rules
  • Member, Subcommittee on Healthy Communities & Women
  • Chairman, Committee on Ward Boundaries
Prev Next

Samuel D. Zurier

Councilman Sam Zurier was elected the Council person for Ward 2 in November 2010, and began his first term in 2011.

He serves on the following committees:

  • Committee on Finance
  • Committee on Ordinances
  • Chair, Special Committee on Education
  • Special Committee on Ways and Means
  • Special Committee on Women and Healthy Communities
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Kevin Jackson

Councilman Kevin E. Jackson joined the Providence City Council in 1995, and was re-elected in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010. Councilman Jackson, a Democrat, represents Ward 3, which includes the Hope and Mount Hope neighborhoods.

Chairman, Committee on City Property, 2007-2011
Member, Committee on Urban Redevelopment, Renewal, and Planning, 2007-2011
Chairman, Committee on Finance, 1999-2007


Prev Next

Nicholas J. Narducci, Jr.

Councilman Nicholas J. Narducci, Jr. was first elected to the Council in 2006, and re-elected in 2010 to represent the North End of Providence.

His committee assignments include:

• Chairman, Committee on Urban Redevelopment, Renewal and Planning
• Chairman, Committee on Claims and Pending Suits
• Member, Committee on City Property
• Special Committee to Study and Make Amendments to PERA, 2007-2011

Prev Next

Michael A. Solomon

Councilman Michael Solomon was first elected in 2006, and was re-elected in 2010 to represent the Elmhurst and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods.

Councilman Solomon was elected Council President for the 2011-2015 term. He is one of two council members of the Providence Water Supply Board.

Prev Next

Michael J. Correia

Councilman Michael Correia began his term representing the people of Ward Six in January 2011 after being elected to the Providence City Council in November 2010.

As President of the Providence Crime Watch Association, he has organized residents to combat crime throughout the city. Since 2005, he has led the Annual National Night Out Against Crime, a rally against violence and crime, as it passed through his community. He also is a member of the Sixth Ward Working Committee, a neighborhood group that has worked closely with the Police Department to reduce graffiti, vandalism, and other forms of crime. He has supported the Stranger Danger Program for children and the SAFE Program, which teaches practical self-defense to the elderly.

Prev Next

John J. Igliozzi

Councilman John J. Igliozz has served Ward 7 since 1997

He serves on the following committees:

  • Chairman of the Committee on Finance in 2007 and 2011
  • Chairman of the Committee on City Property
  • Member of the Committee on Public Works
  • Serves on the Board of Park Commissioners and the Providence Housing Authority
Prev Next

Wilbur W. Jennings, Jr.

Councilman Wilbur Jennings was first elected the councilman for the eighth ward in November 2010, and began his term in January 2011. He worked for the City of Providence in varying capacities for 28 years, eventually attaining the position of Deputy Superintendent and Superintendent of several divisions of the Department of Public Works.

He also serves on the Providence Community Action Program’s (ProCAP) Board of Director.

Prev Next

Carmen Castillo

Carmen Castillo was elected Councilwoman for Ward 9 in a special election in November 2011, and began her first term in January 2012. Currently, she is a union steward, and also a member of the Executive Board for UNITE HERE Local 217.

Prev Next

Luis A. Aponte

Councilman Luis Aponte was first elected to the Providence City Council in 1998, representing the Tenth Ward neighborhoods of Lower South Providence and Washington Park. He was re-elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

In addition to having served as the Council Majority Leader (2003-2007), Councilman Aponte has served on various committees, including the Committee on Finance, the Special Commission on State Legislation, the City Council Rules Committee, and the Committee on Ward Boundaries, which proposed the new ward map to the City Council in February 2002. In addition, Councilman Aponte is one of two council representatives on the Providence Redevelopment Agency.

Prev Next

Davian Sanchez

Councilman Sanchez is currently enrolled at Johnson & Wales University (JWU), and is pursuing a bachelor’s in Financial Service Management.

Councilman Sanchez has the distinction of being the youngest Dominican-American elected official in the United States, as well as the youngest member elected to the Providence City Council.

Prev Next

Terrence M. Hassett

Councilman Terrence M. Hassett was first elected to the City Council to represent Ward 12 in Providence in 1997 in a special election. He was re-elected in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010. 

Hassett was elected Council President Pro Tempore for the 2011-2015 term, and currently serves on the following committees:

  • Chairman of Committee on Public Works
  • Member of Committee on Finance
  • Member of Committee on Ordinances
  • Member of Committee on Urban Renewal, Redevelopment & Planning
Prev Next

Bryan Principe

Bryan Principe is a newly elected member of the City Council, his term commencing in January 2011.  Though new to elective office, he has been actively engaged in the community for years.   Bryan has participated in community cleanups, tree plantings and neighborhood festivals. 

He serves on the following committees:

  • City Plan Commission
  • West Broadway Neighborhood Association
  • Ward 13 Democratic committee
Prev Next

David A. Salvatore

David A. Salvatore began his first term as the councilman for the fourteenth ward in January 2011. Since taking office, his primary focus has been financial and pension reform in the city. He was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Pension Sustainability, which issued a report and made recommendations—many of which were adopted—to stabilize the pension system and reduce the system’s unfunded liability.

David’s current committee assignments are:

  • Chairman, Special Committee on Ways and Means
  • Vice-Chairman, Committee on Ordinances
  • Member, Special Committee on Education
Prev Next

Sabina Matos

Councilwoman Sabina Matos was elected or Ward 15 in November 2010, and began her first term in January 2011.

She has served on the following commitees and initiatives:

  • Board of Directors of the Olneyville Housing Corporation
  • Associate Director of New Roots Providence
  • Graduate of the Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund’s Latina Leadership Institute and President since 2007
  • President of the Board of Directors of the Education Center for the Arts & Sciences Theater (Teatro ECAS)

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