BY: WPRI-Dan Dan McGowan
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Four Democrats, a Republican and an independent candidate have filed to run for the Providence City Council seat that has been vacant since longtime Councilman Kevin Jackson was recalled last month.
Candidates had until Monday at 4 p.m. to declare their intent to run for the Ward 3 seat. They have until June 14 to submit their nomination papers – including 50 signatures from Ward 3 voters – to qualify for the ballot.
The Democratic primary is scheduled for July 12. The general election is Aug. 16.
Residents in Ward 3 voted overwhelmingly to recall Jackson in a special election May 2. The recall was organized after Jackson was arrested and indicted last year on charges that he embezzled from a youth sports organization he founded in the 1978. Jackson is also accused of using his campaign fund to cover personal expenses. He has pleaded not guilty.
Here’s a breakdown of each candidate that has filed to run for the seat.
Mark Santow (D)
A member of the Providence School Board, Santow was the first candidate to declare his intent to run for City Council if Jackson was removed from office. Santow is a self-described progressive who has been a vocal advocate for the recently-passed Providence Community-Police Relations Act and a critic of the proposed expansion to the Achievement First Mayoral Academy. He is also a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
Nirva Rebecca LaFortune (D)
A Brown University employee, LaFortune describes herself as an “educator, parent and active community member.” She grew up in Providence, attended Mount Pleasant High School and graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia.
Daniel Chaika (D)
Chaika is an attorney who recently stepped down from his post as the vice-chairman of Providence Ethics Commission in order to run for the Ward 3 seat. In a press release announcing his candidacy, he said “it is my intention to strive to achieve the goal of all 15 wards working together with the mayor united towards the common goal of restoring faith in our municipal government, a level playing field for all, and to address the quality of life issues, taxes, schools, infrastructure, and community programs which are important to all of us.”
Rondie Almeida (D)
The founder of the Providence 49ers youth football program, Almeida said he made his decision to run after talking to some of his constituents. “This time seems right to me,” he said. “I think I could do a lot for the city and for my ward.” Almeida said he is a distant cousin of state Rep. Joseph Almeida.
David Lallier Jr. (R)
Describing himself as a “center-right” candidate, Lallier is trying to become the first Republican elected to the Providence City Council since 1986. A 31-year-old warehouse worker and truck driver, Lallier grew up on the East Side and attended Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, Nathan Bishop Middle School and Central High School. He has said he is opposed to the Providence Community-Police Relations Act.
Christopher D. Reynolds (I)
Reynolds has previously filed to run for governor twice (2010 and 2014), U.S. Senate (2012) and state Senate (2016), but did not qualify to appear on the ballot. Filings with the R.I. Board of Elections show he loaned his campaign $500 in 2010 and paid it back two months later. He has never reported any campaign contributions.