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Seth Magaziner ’06 runs for R.I. governor

Brown alum prioritizes ‘education, innovation, infrastructure, inclusion’

<p>During his time at Brown, Magaziner served as president of the College Democrats of Rhode Island and Brown College Democrats.</p>

During his time at Brown, Magaziner served as president of the College Democrats of Rhode Island and Brown College Democrats.

Rhode Island General Treasurer  Seth Magaziner ’06 announced his run for governor Sept. 15, entering an already-crowded Democratic primary with competitors such as R.I. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and most likely current Gov. Dan McKee.

With a platform aimed toward “an economy that is built for the 21st century,” Magaziner’s priorities include education, innovation, infrastructure and inclusion, he told The Herald in a recent interview. His platform is underscored by goals to transition Rhode Island to a “100% clean energy economy,” establish universal preschool, support small businesses, focus on climate resilience and build affordable housing.

During Magaziner’s time at Brown, he served as president of both College Democrats of Rhode Island and Brown College Democrats, which won chapter of the year under his leadership.

Fellow College Democrats member and classmate Sean Siperstein ’05 remembers Magaziner as someone who was eager to engage with cutting-edge issues.

When the club debated joining the campus’s anti-war coalition, Siperstein recalls that Magaziner “was definitely one of the more outspoken, more informed voices that shored up everyone’s concerns about possibly joining.”

“He’s always had that aspect of being able to guide people … and he’s always been a great listener,” Siperstein added.

Upon graduating from Brown, Magaziner surprised many of his peers by working as a public school teacher. Magaziner said he believes that his experience teaching in a low-income, predominantly Black community informs many of his campaign priorities today.

“I saw firsthand not only the importance of education, but the barriers and the biases that hold many people, particularly in communities of color, back,” Magaziner said. “Part of what motivates me in public service is breaking down those obstacles to opportunity so that we can have a society that is truly fair, where everyone can have a chance to achieve that pathway to an American dream.”

Magaziner’s focuses on education and infrastructure are also reflected in his initiatives as treasurer, including a school construction program to replace and repair public school buildings, which started in 2017. He also established programs at Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank to invest in more clean energy projects.

To Magaziner, education is especially instrumental in building a strong economy.

“The best jobs go to where the best talent is,” Magaziner said. “If we’re going to build a strong 21st century economy in Rhode Island, we need to have a workforce that is educated and prepared for 21st century jobs.”

Magaziner’s gubernatorial-candidacy announcement was followed by endorsements by many of his peers in the state, including the United Nurses and Allied Professionals, seven state representatives, State Senator Jim Seveney, Cranston City Council Member Aniece Germain, Providence City Council Member Jo-Ann Ryan, RI Board of Education Member Jo Eva Gaines and former Newport School Committee member Aida Neary.

Neary, who is also a mother to children in Newport public schools, has worked with Magaziner on allocating funding for school construction in the city. She appreciated Magaziner’s attendance at school committee and city council meetings to pass the local bond that included the school construction project, she said.

“It was just really nice that the treasurer would come to your little corner of the world and go, ‘Okay, here’s how the numbers are going to work,’” Neary said.

Neary said that, as a mother, she values Magaziner’s vision of securing a strong future economy and infrastructure, encompassing climate change, housing insecurity and inequality.

“What I want for (my children), honestly, is a state that is not physically underwater,” Neary said. “I want a future for them where there is actual affordable housing.”

Magaziner’s platform is geared toward making it possible for Rhode Islanders to achieve the “American dream,” he said.

Neary added that part of this mission involves acknowledging that many communities lack the resources to achieve that dream.

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“The fact that (Magaziner) recognizes that the American story has some gaps in it when it comes to Black and brown folks, and that he … acknowledges the big story of America … and that he’s willing to campaign on that,” Neary said, “means to me that he’s going to work on systemic changes, not just superficial ones.”

“If we build an economy that is based on innovation, creativity and inclusivity, we can create a framework here in Rhode Island that will allow everyone, regardless of zip code, regardless of race, or status or income, an opportunity to participate and to thrive in our state,” Magaziner said. “To me, it’s all about laying a foundation for opportunity for everyone.”



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