With the resignation of Gordon Fox, residents of the Summit, Blackstone and Mount Hope neighborhoods will have the opportunity to elect a new representative to the Rhode Island House. I am pleased to endorse Aaron Regunberg.
During my term on the City Council, I had the opportunity to work with Aaron Regunberg on education issues in his role as the founder of the Providence Student Union. It is common for educators or elected officials to make abstract statements about the importance of listening to students when reviewing policies; however, this often does not happen in practice. Aaron successfully organized and led high school students to advance the proposition that Rhode Island was not ready for high stakes testing generally (and a program based on the NECAP in particular). As any parent of a high school student will tell you, children of this age can combine tremendous ability with a fierce streak of independence. As a result, Aaron’s skill in getting a group “on the same page” bodes well for his work with the older, but equally independent membership of the Rhode Island House.
The Department of Education made every effort to ignore and/or discredit this work; however, the students out-thought, outworked and out-organized the State officials. Aaron also led and helped negotiate, on behalf of students and on terms acceptable to the School Department and the School Board, a revision to the school busing policy to reduce the “walking radius” for high school students. Through these projects, Aaron showed great skill, sympathy and commitment to the public interest which I believe will serve him well in the General Assembly.