Ward encompasses all of Fox Point and a small portion of downtown
In Ward 1, Seth Yurdin, the two-term Councilman who is currently the Majority Leader in the Council faces a political newcomer in Malcolm Reis, someone who also has very deep roots in the neighborhood and has been an active part of the community. Ward 1 covers all of Fox Point and a good portion of downtown Providence, but it’s the portion that has very few voters. It does cover the majority of the I-195 development and has been greatly impacted by the infrastructure improvements and street/ highway reorientation.
Seth Yurdin has served two terms in the City Council and has risen to become the Majority Leader. With Council President Michael Solomon running for mayor, Yurdin is the presumptive choice to be the next council president.
“It’s been a challenging term,” explains Yurdin, “between a new mayor and all of the financial issues, but we’ve made great progress.” Among them, he cites improvements to India Point Park, the new boat ramp and upcoming bike path extension, helping with the new handicapped playground equipment at Cabral Park and working with the Parks Department so the school would be able to use it for programs.
He’s especially proud of his success at keeping the Fox Point library funded and open because people in the neighborhood “rely on it almost every day.” In addition he continues to work through the state cuts that have affected the Senior Center and the Boy’s & Girls Club.
Since taking office in 2007, Yurdin’s legislative focus has been on education, environmental issues and neighborhood quality of life. He sponsored groundbreaking legislation to reduce diesel pollution in the city; led in establishing the position of Sustainability Director within the City, supported the rehabilitation of the historic Fox Point Bath House and successfully advocated for a statewide formula for all Rhode Island public schools.
Prior to his election to the Council, Yurdin was a boardmember of the Fox Point Neighborhood Association. He also volunteered as a shelter manager, working with the American Red Cross in Mississippi immediately after Hurricane Katrina. An avid hiker, he has logged many miles in the White Mountains and beyond.
Yurdin was born and raised in New York, attended Boston University and New York University School of Law, and is an attorney in private practice. He is 46 and lives on Governor Street.
Malcolm Reis grew up in Fox Point and has lived there for most of his life. He decided to run because he believes the incumbent is “out of touch.” “Our current Councilman is reactive... not proactive. All you ever hear is ‘I’m working on it’ or ‘call my office.’ Unless it’s about taking credit... and then he’s right there.”
“Just look around. The streets are a disgrace. Snowplowing continues to be terrible. Property taxes are too high causing many residents to be forced out,” Reis continues.
The Brown agreement in terms of payments to the City is a “start” but Reis feels they can and should do more. “We gave up a lot, and Ward 1 should have gotten more.”
Reis is focusing on giving voters a clear choice in this primary. He wants to see new RIPTA bus routes in Fox Point, improved schools, more activities for neighborhood kids, more activities for seniors, graffiti removed and targeted, increased police presence and better control over National Grid, Prov. Water and Cox who seem to dig up streets without repairing them properly.
In terms of his own work, Reis is President of PROcorp, International, a Sports Representation Company that recruits and manages baseball talent from the Caribbean. It is a full service company that signs young ball players, setting up personalized fitness programs to help develop players both physically and mentally for future careers in professional baseball. If appropriate, they arrange for screening with scouts from major league baseball teams and then negotiate the players’ first professional baseball contracts.
Prior to the sports management company, Reis created a financial and development housing plan that raised over a million dollars from local banks to purchase, renovate and rent or sell multi-unit houses for investment purposes. He converted a 1929 fire station into a two story residential unit building that earned historic and community accolades.
Reis lives on John Street. He went to Moses Brown and then on to Campbell University.
The winner of the September 9 primary will be opposed by Republican Michael Long who also was born in the area. He lives at Corliss Landing and is a policeman in Cranston.