PVD Monthly's Who to Watch

Providence's Progressive State Senator Samuel Bell and Representative Moira Walsh

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You could say 2018 was defined by politics. We watched the races unfold on local, state, and national levels: From city council to Congress, it was a tense but energized midterm election year. The freshly laid groundwork promises more change and momentum in 2019, especially for Providence Progressives.

“We won some huge victories this year in the Rhode Island General Assembly, and our party took back the House nationally,” says State Senator Samuel Bell, who defeated long-time incumbent Paul Jabour. “As scary as politics is today, it’s very exciting that we’re fighting back at the state and national level, and we’re winning.”

However, Bell also recognizes the uphill battle yet to come, listing the less-than-desirable conditions of schools and roads, cuts to healthcare programs, and a housing crisis as issues preventing families from acquiring the basics, making “fixing the political system one of the most important things we can do to make life better” in 2019.

“The sheer volume of women who ran for office this year made my heart so happy,” Representative Moira Walsh shares, applauding Providence City Council’s historic first female majority. Despite hiccups, like the controversial challenge from GOP-turned-Democrat Michael Earnheart, Walsh defended her title in the primaries and is determined to reshape the face of the progressive party this coming year. Her plan: To work on the party’s messaging. “‘Progressive’ shouldn’t be a dirty word,” she says.

Similarly, Bell sees need for change in progressive administration; he told voters this year, “It just isn’t possible to win sweeping change until we break the machine and elect legislative leaders who want to actually help the people.”

Both Walsh and Bell point out that 2019 – or beyond, if necessary – will mean fighting for basic progressive legislation in Rhode Island, like the fight for reproductive rights.

Get a chance to meet State Senator Samuel Bell and Representative Moira Walsh and celebrate with RI's leading trailblazers at the first great event of the year; Providence Monthly's Who to Watch Party on January 16 at Skyline at Waterplace! Click here to reserve your ticket to this can't-miss event.