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Thu Jul 12, 2018, 03:53 AM

Progressive activists seek Providence City Council seats

The uproar in Rhode Island’s Democratic Party might also be seen in Providence City Council campaigns this summer as several new, progressive candidates are running races far to the left of longtime incumbents—often with the claim that the establishment has been largely absent from their constituents’ neighborhoods.

Kat Kerwin

Few are more pointed with this claim than Kat Kerwin, running for Ward 12 (Smith Hill, Elmhurst) against a 21-year incumbent, Councilman Terrence Hassett. “Terry Hassett is known for his lack of action, being one of the most vulnerable candidates on city council,” she said.

After entering into gun control and campus hunger activism during her first two years at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Kerwin returned to Providence to finish school from her home city while working as the RI Coalition for Gun Violence’s first full-time employee. Kerwin made waves last month when she led a group of students, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with targets, filling the State House to protest the General Assembly’s reticence to vote on the Safe Schools Act.

Drawing on her work against gun violence, Kerwin called Hassett’s inaction “embarrassing” in a hostile national political climate where the stakes of local progressive action are so high. “I’ll go to doors and people will tell me that they heard gunshots the night before, but police never came. I don’t think that means we need more police officers, I think it means we need a better strategy for safety.” She cited measures from the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence as one source she would draw on once elected.

Read more: http://www.rifuture.org/activists-seek-pvd-city-council-seats/

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