While the City Council remains in its August recess, I write to explain why I am supporting Mark Tracy to serve as State Representative for District 4, where I live.
On Wednesday, September 12, Democratic voters in Rhode Island House District 4 will nominate a successor to State Representative Aaron Regunberg. We will choose between two talented and public-minded candidates who share similar policy positions on the issues of social justice that Aaron championed. After learning about the candidates for the past two months, I have decided to vote for Mark Tracy, because he has the best chance to build a strong partnership between our State and our City’s government and public schools.
Providence is blessed with many treasures that define and enrich our quality of life, but we face daunting challenges. While some families (including mine) have been able to obtain a quality public education for their children, the overall number of children in our neighborhood is disproportionately low, and the number of those children who attend private or parochial school is disproportionately high. Every year, many families with school age children leave our neighborhood for the suburbs. Other families and businesses decide not to locate in Providence because of their concerns about our public schools. A major challenge for our schools is an inadequate level of State aid, due to an inequitable funding formula that is cloaked in mathematical obscurity. The General Assembly is scheduled to revisit the formula soon, and Mark Tracy has identified this as a priority. Mark has the financial and analytic skill to understand the formula’s complexities. We need a more equitable formula that will support a quality public education for everyone across the City of Providence, while also providing an attractive option for our middle class families. Providence needs a strong middle class to prosper, and we need strong public schools to support a strong middle class. I believe Mark Tracy is best qualified to take on this issue.
The City’s paramount financial challenge is the $1 billion unfunded pension liability, which over the next 5-10 years will pose an existential threat to the City government’s ability to carry out its essential functions. Without help from the State, the City’s escalating pension costs will force cutbacks in city services, public safety and our public schools, drastically reducing our quality of life, and ultimately leading to bankruptcy. If elected, Mark Tracy will come into office with a deep knowledge of this issue, and with the goal of using that knowledge to build a stronger partnership between the State and our City.
Mark Tracy is an ideas candidate. I invite you to visit his website www.marktracy.com to review his proposals for partnerships that can expand our State services through the investment of private funds without taxpayer risk, and to support business development without sacrificing our tax base. Our State can benefit from new ideas to serve us effectively and efficiently.
The East Side’s delegation already is well-represented with progressive leaders, such as Edie Ajello, Gayle Goldin and Chris Blazejewski. If elected, Mark Tracy will provide a reliable vote to advance a progressive agenda. What makes Mark stand out to me is his potential to become a leader in the General Assembly on the economic and financial issues that are critical to the successful future of our City and our public schools. That is why I plan to vote for Mark Tracy for State Representative in the Democratic primary on September 12 and encourage you to join me.
Thank you for your consideration.