Providence City Councilwoman Sabina Matos, Ward 15, was elected City Council President after today’s installation of the 2019-2022 City Councilors. She has the distinction of being the first Latina to hold this seat.
Council President Matos began her first term as the Councilwoman for the fifteenth ward in January 2011. During her tenure on the Council, she has served as Council President Pro Tempore from January 2015 until her election as President. She also served as Acting Council President from May 2017 until December 2017. During her tenure she has served on the Councils’ Committee on Finance, Committee on Municipal Operations and Oversight, Rules Committee, Committee on Women and Healthy Communities, Committee on State Legislative Affairs, and serves as Chairwoman of the Committee on Urban Redevelopment, Renewal, and Planning.
“When my family emigrated from the Dominican Republic in 1994, we did so for better opportunities, and as an immigrant, I understand the unique challenges that the majority of today’s Providence population faces,” stated Council President Sabina Matos. “Today, women and minorities are not only the majority of the city’s population, but we now make up the majority of the Providence City Council. Now, more than ever before, the Council’s leadership reflects what our community truly looks like. Today the City of Providence has made history by swearing in a majority women-led Council. Women have not always had seats at the table, but one-by-one Councilwoman Carolyn Brassil, Councilwoman Josephine Diruzzo, Councilwoman Carol Romano, Councilwoman and former Acting Council President Balbina Young, Councilwoman Patricia K. Nolan, Councilwoman Rita Williams, Councilwoman and former Council President Eveylyn Fargnoli chipped away at that glass ceiling, and today our City Council represents those that have elected us to serve.”
Matos continued, “It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the residents of Ward 15, and I look forward to the next four years of serving all residents of our great city. I believe that my colleagues and I have a great deal of work to tackle the issues of our time. But, I have complete faith that we can come together and continue to make Providence an even greater place to live, work and play than it already is.”
Council President Matos’ election comes after the majority of the Democratic members of the City Council held a caucus in November of last year, to seat new leadership. The positions are as follows:
- Michael Correia – Ward Six, President Pro Tempore
- Jo-Ann Ryan – Ward Five, Majority Leader
- John J. Igliozzi – Ward Seven, Majority Whip
- Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. – Ward Four, Senior Deputy Majority Leader
- Mary Kay Harris – Ward 11, Deputy Majority Leader
The Council’s newly seated leadership teams’ legislative goals for this term will focus on housing affordability, economic development (especially in support of local small businesses), and a continued focus on the city’s financial health. They will also continue to address the quality of life issues that face every neighborhood, which will include public safety, infrastructure, improved city services, and finally working towards making Providence one of the cleanest cities in America.
Sabina Matos was born in the province of Barahona in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States in April 1994. She is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a BA in Communications and Public Relations. She is also a graduate of the Latina Leadership Institute and Leadership for a Future.
In 2014, Sabina Matos was named to the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership program as one of two dozen emerging bipartisan leaders from across the country.
The Aspen Institute is a nonpartisan forum for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas. Its Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership program seeks to enhance democracy by identifying and bringing together the nation’s most promising young political leaders who have demonstrated an outstanding ability to work responsibly across partisan divisions and bring greater civility to public discourse.
Council President Matos is also the past President of the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee and has served on numerous community-based boards including the Olneyville Housing Corporation, the United Way of Rhode Island and ECAS Theater. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, most recently she was honored by the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council with their first annual “Fred Lippit Award.”
Council President Matos lives in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence with her husband Patrick, and their two children, Diego and Annemarie.