I’m running for Mayor of Providence because I believe that our city needs leadership that understands first-hand the strength of our neighborhoods, the value of excellent public schools, and the need for a laser-focus on economic development. My parents raised me to understand that nothing is easy and that achieving change requires hard work and sacrifice. I pledge to work in a pragmatic, collaborative, and bold way to find solutions that bring prosperity to every neighborhood in our city. That’s what “One Providence” means to me—bringing all stakeholders together to find creative solutions that benefit everyone. Schools, Jobs, and Community: these are my priorities. But they are just the beginning of a months-long conversation about our city’s future. As I travel across our neighborhoods, I look forward to learning what “One Providence” means to you.
Jorge Elorza believes that if we invest in education, we can transform the lives of our students. He believes that schools should be the pride of their neighborhoods and that we need to bring engagement and creativity back to our schools. Every student should be able to learn in an environment that demands a culture of excellence, that has top-notch facilities, and that allows for our faculty and staff to engage in collaborative and innovative ways. Jorge’s plan for schools includes:
- Refashioning schools as the centers of Providence’s communities. Open the doors so that every resident has a connection to their local school through evening, weekend, and summer programming. Click here to read Jorge’s vision for full service community schools.
- Investing in school infrastructure so that no child has to be in a school with leaky roofs, drafty windows, moldy smell, and chipping paint.
- Shifting decision-making authority back into the schools and classrooms where it belongs by empowering people on the front lines—principals, teachers, and staff—with the autonomy, resources, and training they need. Click here to read Jorge’s vision for school management.
- Returning balance to our city’s curriculum by moving away from an overemphasis on “standardized” learning and reemphasizing areas like arts, music, and civics. Click here to read Jorge’s vision for curriculum and assessments.
- Investing in 21st century data and technology systems that move Providence out of the age of file cabinets, improve our ability to efficiently and equitably manage school registration, assignment, transportation, and finances, and better position our students to compete in a global society.
- Ensuring continuity and long-term planning. The Providence School Department must adopt a broad and comprehensive long-term vision.
Jorge Elorza understands that no issue is more pressing for our city’s residents than bringing jobs to our city. We must make Providence a place where businesses want to invest and where small businesses are supported. Jorge’s strategy includes:
- Creating a citywide gigabit speed fiber optic network to provide the infrastructure for an innovative knowledge economy. Click here to read Jorge’s proposal for the Providence Digital Rivers Project.
- Giving entrepreneurs and investors confidence that the days of “back room” deal-making and outright corruption are over. He is the first and only Providence mayoral candidate to make a comprehensive ethics pledge, and he will not accept contributions from city employees during his campaign. Click here to read Jorge’s 5-point ethics pledge.
- Instilling a “customer service” attitude in City Hall and streamlining the permitting process so that Providence becomes the easiest and most welcoming place in the country to start a new business. Click here to read Jorge’s proposal to revitalize and revamp City Hall.
- Supporting minority- and women-owned businesses so that they can grow and gain access to a range of new contracts. Click here to read Jorge’s proposal to ensure equity in business opportunities.
- Supporting entrepreneurs of all kinds, from the corner office to the corner store, with the information and start-up resources they need to succeed.
- Connecting Providence’s economy to the rest of the world by using our unique resources to expand our exports to other countries. Click here to read Jorge’s proposal to double our export economy in five years.
- Encouraging the growth of our world-class universities and hospitals, and working creatively to forge new public-private partnerships. While promoting economic development, he will promote broadly-accessible internship programs to retain our city’s uniquely talented workforce and to reverse the “brain drain.”
Jorge Elorza grew up on Cranston Street, in a neighborhood where he saw first-hand how violence can affect the community. Jorge understands that nothing else matters unless our neighbors feel safe, and right now, too many Providence residents don’t. Jorge’s plan for improving public safety includes:
- Building the relationships and trust between Providence police and our community residents. Jorge envisions every household in the city being on a first-name basis with at least one police officer. Crime prevention starts with the sharing of information between residents and police, so officers must be engaged as partners in community development.
- Continuing to increase the already-growing diversity of the Providence police academy, until it reflects the city that it serves.
- Working with community-based organizations to teach non-violence in schools.
- Re-examining the role of student resource officers (SROs) in our schools; fostering cooperative relationships between youth and SROs early on will benefit our neighborhoods in the long-run.
- Aggressively addressing systemic poverty in our economic development plan, because a truly comprehensive public safety plan means addressing the very conditions that give rise to crime in the first place.
No one has fought harder and more creatively than Jorge Elorza to address our city’s blighted properties. As a Housing Court judge, Jorge brought the biggest banks in the world into his court and held them responsible for abandoned properties, even threatening to arrest the banks’ presidents. By forcing them to care about our neighborhoods, Jorge helped properties that were vacant for years go back on the market. As mayor, Jorge will continue his bold focus on revitalizing abandoned properties and increasing affordable housing. Further plans include:
- Working with the city’s Law Department to hold banks accountable for abandoned properties throughout the city.
- Working with housing preservationists to steward our magnificent housing stock for the next generation to enjoy and to protect endangered properties and bring them back to life.
- Forging partnerships with local developers to identify blighted homes and craft creative solutions to rehabilitate them.
- Working aggressively to stop illegal dumping and to hold owners of vacant lots accountable.
Read more about Jorge Elorza’s fight to hold big banks accountable here:
Jorge Elorza believes we need a holistic transportation plan that makes our city more livable, friendly to our workers, and welcoming to our city’s visitors—a system that is designed around people, not cars. Jorge’s plan for transportation includes:
- Expanding the bicycle network through improving bicycle parking and routes and providing education about bicycle safety and bike sharing programs.
- Collaborating with neighborhoods to best address specific transportation needs, such as traffic regulation and signage in residential areas.
- Aggressively pursuing making streets in all neighborhoods more walkable and bike-friendly.
- Addressing issues of street maintenance and repair, particularly after heavy snow.
- Enhancing parking opportunities by providing multiple parking payment options.
- Decreasing dependence on oil and as a result, pollution, by exploring alternative fuel options and working to expand access to electric vehicle charging stations.
For Providence to rise and succeed together, we must recognize our differences as a source of strength and creativity when confronting our city’s challenges. Jorge Elorza readily commits to:
- Leading a City Hall that is open and responsive to all citizens, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, heritage, creed, class, sexual orientation, ability, or neighborhood.
- Prioritizing equal pay for equal work and fair and just working conditions for all our city residents.
- Ensuring our city’s workforce and continued economic growth reflects the diversity of our neighborhoods.
- Jorge is pro-choice, and opposes any additional restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. He also supports increasing access to family planning, and proper coverage of it through healthcare plans.
- Jorge fully supports marriage equality, and opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation in any form.
Jorge Elorza understands that arts, culture, and tourism are critical to the economic development and vitality of Providence. The City’s artists, arts organizations, and tourism industry provide thousands of jobs, create vibrancy in our downtown, and knit together the fabric of our neighborhoods. As Mayor, Jorge will strengthen our identity as the Creative Capital by:
- Leveraging creative place-making efforts to integrate arts & culture, workforce development, housing redevelopment, transportation efforts, and school improvement initiatives to breathe life into our neighborhoods.
- Promoting and strengthening our design based businesses in order to attract and retain talent and grow our economy.
- Enhancing our vibrant food community both by creating a network of food hubs that increase access to healthy, affordable, and culturally diverse foods, and by investing in an equitable network of community gardens that will beautify Providence and make our city more self-sustainable.
- Working with the Providence School Department and arts community to ensure that every child has access to a high-quality arts education and that our schools are places of social and creative exchange.
- Establishing partnerships that highlight our already-successful local music scene and effectively utilize local space. Click here to read Jorge’s plan to create a signature cultural festival.
- Streamlining the permitting process for special events and regularly ensuring that city codes and ordinances encourage creative development.
From the beginning of his campaign, Jorge Elorza has been a forceful advocate of uncompromising ethical standards for city employees. He is the first and only Providence mayoral candidate to make a comprehensive ethics pledge, and he will not accept contributions from city employees during his campaign.
Providing more access to sports and recreation activities to residents of all ages improves our quality of life, pays big dividends for our youth and helps make our neighborhoods safer and more vibrant. The main points of his plan are:
- Expanding Youth and Adult Sports Programming
- Maximizing the Use of our Public Parks and Open Spaces
- Boosting Support for our Recreation Centers
- Providing Activities for Seniors
- Building Collaborations and Partnerships for More Efficient Use of Resources
For more information on Jorge’s plan for sports and recreation, read its announcement here.