Mayor Taveras Says EG Has Role To Play In Helping Providence
The Providence mayor receives a warm welcome during a visit last week to the East Greenwich Rotary Club.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras found a friendly crowd when he spoke to the East Greenwich Rotary Club at last week's meeting. After he spoke, a member even told the mayor he shouldn't renew his term – "You should run for governor!"
The mayor, only 19 months into his first term, outlined some of the things he's been focusing on, such as teacher contracts, pension changes, and getting the Providence roads fixed.
Club members seemed particularly impressed with Taveras's pledge to control the for road repairs if voters approve a $40 million bond referendum on Nov. 6.
Taveras also gave a shout out to East Greenwich's Christ Church.
"What Christ Church is doing in terms of volunteering in our schools. I mean, it’s amazing – Reservoir Avenue school’s one of our top schools and they’ve been so involved. People don’t realize that," he said.
"That’s one way that people can absolutely help," Taveras said later. "We improve our schools, we improve our public safety, improve economic development, we’re going to improve health outcomes in our state, we’re going to fight poverty. Our schools are the key. This would be a good way for people to help."
After Taveras spoke, he took questions from the audience.
“You did a remarkable job with the non-profits with getting them to come to the plate. But let me ask you this – would a state mandate that they have to have some percentage of payment in lieu of taxes be helpful for future mayors and future administrations?" said one member.
While Taveras said he like that idea, he went on to say it was a balancing act, noting that nonprofits Brown and Lifespan have been adding about 200 jobs a year. “So I had to figure out, how do I bend it without breaking it, because they do, they employ a lot of people," he said.
Mike Westerman, a guest at last week's meeting, told Taveras he was jeopardizing Westerman's long-cherished saying.
“You’re in a position to ruin my favorite expression because I like to refer to Rhode Island as the caboose of enlightenment. And with what you’ve been saying, you’re going to move up the train!”
One suggestion for the business community Taveras had after he spoke was to help to employ Providence kids. "We can get some kids working in businesses for summer jobs, meeting people and seeing what it’s like. Even if it’s just a summer job, that’s just so important."
When asked why East Greenwich should care about Providence, the mayor offered a final thought.
“We’re all co-dependent, we’re all in this together. Providence is the heart of the state. If your heart’s not healthy, the rest of your body isn’t. We’re all in this thing together and the better off we’ll be as a state. That’s good for everyone.”