Meet the Candidate: Jackie Goldman (RI)

9 mins read

Jackie Goldman- Rhode Island – Providence City Council – Ward 5

Tell us a little bit about your yourself and your background.

My name is Jackie Goldman, and I am running to be the first queer and non-binary person elected to Providence’s City Council. I work as an overdose prevention researcher, which means that I routinely see the ways that the War on Drugs, lack of affordable and low-income housing and stigma keep people in vicious cycles of systemic oppression. I am also a community organizer. I have worked with local legislators and other organizers to fight for Medicare For All, criminal justice reform, and climate justice.

Before getting my masters and working in public health research, I completed two AmeriCorp terms, one with the National Civilian Community Corps, and one with AIDS United. While the terms involved completely different work, they shaped the way that I see what the role of government should be.

Why are you running for Office?

I decided to run for City Council because I think that people should have governments that want to address the root causes of poverty, houselessness and injustice as opposed to throwing bandaid solutions at a problem. This was something I saw in my terms in AmeriCorps and something that was also really evident to me when I moved to Providence. I want to see meaningful investment in affordable housing, public education and an overhaul of our municipal infrastructure so that it functions for everyone.

Instead of being beholden to wealthy donors, corporate PACs and lobbyists, I am fighting for the people of Providence that have been forgotten or shut out. I am running for city council because I believe that the people of Providence deserve more.

What are the 3 biggest issues facing your community?

The three biggest issues facing my community are affordable housing, low quality education and crumbing municipal infrastructure.

How do you propose to solve those problems?

Housing: Providence has record rates of unhoused people and rents are skyrocketing. The incumbent is largely supported by corporate developers who have been using massive tax breaks to build apartments that are unattainable for most people in Providence. As someone who works with unhoused folks, this is one of the biggest reasons I am running. I have a number of solutions. The first is to make sure that we are using 9% Tax Credits for building housing that is 40-60% Area Media Income (AMI) and not for housing that is 80% or more AMI as those are not reimbursable. Second, I want to stop giving multi-million dollar tax breaks to private, luxury developers. Third, I want to create inclusionary zoning in order to increase housing density.

Education: The City Council has somewhat of a limited ability to fix education because of the State takeover of the public schools, but I want us to have an elected school board. Ours currently is appointed and contains many corporate lobbyists that have no business in education. Additionally, we should be lobbying to the state to get the funding formula fixed as it disadvantages all of the urban public schools. Finally, I want to end the process of giving charter schools money and other resources that is specifically set for the public schools. I am not fully ant-charter schools as they represent an important option for school choice, but they should not get the funding allocated for public schools.

The municipal infrastructure in Providence is crumbling and only gets fixed in wealthy areas. I want to use data collected by our city services app (Providence 311) to prioritize fixing neglected parts of the city. Fixing infrastructure is not just an issue of quality of life, but also accessibility and equity. Many streets in Ward 5 lack sidewalks or are literally crumbling. We have the data to know where these happen and need to fix those.

What is your stance on environmental and climate concerns that are facing your community?

Climate change is one of the most serious problems of our time. In Providence, we have many seriously polluting companies in the Port of Providence. That neighborhood has much higher asthma rates than other parts. There are also issues of global warming and sea level rise. As part of my platform, I support a Providence Green New Deal.

What common sense gun safety measures would have the most impact on your community?

Like many other parts of the country, gun violence has increased in Providence. There are specific neighborhoods that have experienced this more than others. While this is largely a state issue, I do think that there is an opportunity in the City Council to implement interventions to stop gun violence. I think that largely, this will have to come in the form of behavioral support and community interventions as opposed to passing legislation, as that is the domain of the state. Certainly, if there are bans that are permissible at the city level, I would support them.

How would criminal justice reforms impact your community?

According to a report commissioned by Mayor Jorge Elorza, the Providence Police is more violent than the average police department and has more people in it than the average police force of a city this size. I would like to see us invest funding for crime prevention programs including non-police response for calls that are not for violent crime. I also want us to allocate funding to a supervised consumption facility and other behavioral healthcare supports. Finally, there has been a demand from the city’s youth to get rid of Student Resource Officers and replace them with counselors. I believe that our students know their needs best and they need mental healthcare support now more than ever. 

How would you work to protect a woman’s reproductive health?

This is regulated by the state, but in the past, the Providence City Council has passed resolutions to tell the state to protect reproductive healthcare. I believe that the council should do something similar to support current legislation that would make sure that abortion is covered by Medicaid.

And as an addition, there are many people who are not women who need their reproductive rights protected. I am a non-binary person assigned female at birth, and my healthcare matters too.

What measures would you advocate for to ensure that your constituents have the right to vote?

I would like to make both primary days and general elections city holidays. I would also make sure that the City Council wrote resolutions in favor of the voting rights legislation at the state level. Unfortunately, the Council cannot create additional precincts or repeal voter ID laws, as that is the role of the state.

Personal Take

As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I also want to make sure that we have legislation to protects our rights, especially with the prolific number of anti-Gay and anti-Trans bills that have been introduced across the US.

“Posts by or about political candidates do not imply endorsement. All posts are created by answers from our Meet the Candidates survey.”

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