Democrats Face-Off In Special Primary To Fill Providence City Council Seat

Jul 11, 2017

Providence holds a primary Wednesday in a special election for the City Council seat vacated by Kevin Jackson.

He was recalled this spring after charges he embezzled funds from an afterschool track team. Now, three candidates are vying for the chance to fill Jackson’s former seat.

Those three candidates are Democrats Nirva LaFortune, the daughter of Haitian immigrants who worked in academic advising at Brown University; Mark Santow, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, who has served for the last two years on the Providence School Board; and Dan Chaika, an attorney. Chaika resigned from a post on the city Ethics Commission to run for the council seat.

Dominant issues during the campaign have included improving struggling city schools and good government. The winner of the Democratic primary will face-off in a three-way general election against Republican candidate David Lallier Jr. and independent Chris Reynolds.

Former Councilman Kevin Jackson was recalled from office following his indictment on charges he misused campaign cash and siphoned away more than $100,000 from the Providence Cobras, a youth track and field program he co-founded in the 1970’s. The organization received thousands of dollars in city grants during the time Jackson oversaw the club and served on the city council.

Editor's note: a previous version of this article misstated that the primary would be held on Tuesday, July 11th. The primary is in fact scheduled for Wednesday, July 12th.