Metro

Elorza highlights education, waterfront development

Democratic candidate for mayor Jorge Elorza speaks to Brown Democrats, lays out policy agenda

By
Contributing Writer
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Providence’s Democratic nominee for mayor Jorge Elorza poses with the Brown Democrats. Elorza spoke about increasing job opportunities, improving public transportation and a creating a local internship program.

“My life has been a bit of an improbable journey,” said Jorge Elorza, Democratic nominee for mayor, as he addressed approximately 50 students at a Brown Democrats event Tuesday night in Wilson 101. 

As Guatemalan immigrants, Elorza’s parents “came to this country with nothing,” he said, adding that opportunities that his parents had when they arrived in the U.S. no longer exist ­— like working one’s way up to the middle class.

Elorza referenced his “aggressive job creation program,” which involves investing in Rhode Island’s waterfronts and doubling exports over the next five years. If successful, this plan could create around 1,500 jobs for the middle and working classes in Providence, he said.

Elorza also proposed creating a “city-wide internship program,” to keep college graduates in the local community, citing studies that show college students who engage in local internships while they are in school are almost three times more likely to stay after graduation.

“He made me want to go out and canvas on Saturday, personally,” said Amber Lowery ’18.

Improving the city’s education system is something Elorza feels strongly about, as someone who almost did not graduate from high school and was rejected from every college he applied to. Elorza went on to attend the Community College of Rhode Island and the University of Rhode Island, he said.

After working on Wall Street, Elorza moved back to Providence when a childhood friend was murdered. He then decided to become a lawyer, eventually earning his degree at Harvard Law School.

“Every single child — and I truly mean every single child — has the capacity to be great in their own different ways,” Elorza said. “If I’m remembered for one thing, I want to be remembered as the mayor that turned around (Providence) schools.”

Elorza said he would like to have school buildings open longer, so parents could take English classes synchronized with the instruction their children receive. This would allow parents to help their children with homework, he said.

Following his talk, Elorza stayed for a question and answer session, during which students introduced topics ranging from his joining forces with former mayoral candidate Brett Smiley to Providence’s transportation issues.

“Everyone seemed to be really receptive and really excited by Elorza, which is the goal ­— to make everyone put a face to the candidate that we’re trying to get everyone to volunteer for,” said Meghan Holloway ’16, president of Brown Democrats.

 

A previous version of this article misstated Meghan Holloway’s class year. She is a member of the class of 2016, not 2015. The Herald regrets the error.

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  • Will

    The perils of reporting: “Elorza said he would like to have school buildings open longer, so parents could take English classes synchronized with the instruction their children receive. This would allow parents to help their children with homework, he said.”

    While technically true, this statement is misleading. Teaching synchronized adult English courses was only a single example Elorza gave of uses that could be had for keeping schools open longer during the day. He suggested several others, and made it clear that this proposal was not predicated solely on adult English education.

    The line, as it reads now, wrongly depicts Elorza’s forward-looking idea as naïve. The perils of reporting.