Ward 2

Councilwoman Helen Anthony

Councilwoman Helen Anthony represents Ward 2 of Providence, which consists of the Blackstone, College Hill and Wayland neighborhoods. She serves on the Finance Committee and the Committee on Claims and Pending Suits. Councilwoman Anthony currently works as a land use attorney at Handy Law, LLC; she served on the Providence Zoning Board of Appeals and was sworn into the City Council in 2019.

 

                                  READ HER FULL BIO HERE

Ward 2: Blackstone, College Hill, Wayland

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City Councilors Endorse the Environmental Council of Rhode Island’s Climate Crisis Campaign

Councilors Helen Anthony, Nirva LaFortune, Pedro Espinal, Kat Kerwin,and Rachel Miller Endorse ECRI’s Climate Crisis Plan

City Councilors Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3), Pedro Espinal (Ward 10), Kat Kerwin (Ward 12), Rachel Miller (Ward 13) introduced a resolution endorsing the Environmental Council of Rhode Island’s Climate Crisis Campaign at last night’s Council Meeting which was passed by the City Council.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. We as a country, state and city need to take immediate action to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions; create a just and equitable transition to a sustainable economy and invest in adaptation and resilience to protect the people and places we love.”, stated Councilwoman Helen Anthony. “Continued increases in global termperatures will hit RI particularly hard as our temperatures have risen faster than in any other state, We can’t wait to take action.”

Rhode Island faces many challenges due to changing climate including increased storm intensity, flooding, heat waves, insect-born diseases, crop and fishery failures, accelerating coastal erosion, and a sea-level rise of up to 11.5 feet during this century. In January, there were several 65 degree days – in a month where you would expect to see snow and freezing temperatures.

Councilman Pedro Espinal stated, “The climate crisis is occurring here in Providence and much of that is due to pollution from industry. In South Providence, the neighborhood I represent, we have some of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the city, we have the highest rate in the city and state and have the ninth highest in the nation, which can be life-threatening and costly. The climate crisis is not just about warmer winters, longer summers, it’s about our well-being. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in support of this important mission.”

Rhode Island has experienced the fastest temperature rise of any state in the continental United States. The state and its municipalities must take immediate action to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out fossil fuels, create a just and equitable transition to a stable environmentally-focused economy, and invest in mechanisms to adapt and remain resilient to protect the people that call Rhode Island home.

“I have been working on and in support of the ‘Green-New Deal’ here in Providence,” stated Councilor Rachel M. Miller. “Not because it’s fashionable, but because it is the right thing to do. We are being left behind at the federal level by a President who does not believe in a changing climate, who pulled our Country out of the Paris Climate Accord, and who continually works to promote a culture that embraces coal and fracking. These policies are not only harmful to the environment, but they will in fact harm all of us.”

The Environmental Council of Rhode Island’s Climate Crisis Campaign is working to elevate climate issues and the need for policy solutions within the state and at the local level. ECRI is working on updating the Resilient Rhode Island Act and the Energy Facilities Siting Act, helping the State acheive its renewable energy goals and opposing attempts to allow dirty pyrolysis (gasification) electricity generation.

Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune shared, “It is all of our responsibility in creating a climate-resistant city that supports solutions that promote cleaner air, sustainable communities and access to unpolluted safe resources. Any action undertaken by our state has to be done with an eye on safety, health, and our economic well-being. We must also remember when we often talk about the climate crisis we forget those that are most vulnerable and we must create inclusive approaches that consider the voices of all our residents. We must ensure that we leave no one behind in this important work, because it requires all hands on deck.”

“I became a City Councilor and campaigned on fighting for the residents of my neighborhood, and I can’t think of a more worthy fight than this,” stated Councilwoman Kat Kerwin. “I use my role to lift the voices of my generation who are often not given a seat at the table when it comes to issues like this, yet it is my generation and the ones after that will be dealing with the ramifications of our climate crisis. If we don’t act now, then when?”

For more information on the Environmental Council of Rhode Island’s Climate Crisis Campaign, visit them on the web here: ECRI.

City Council Votes to Create Community Choice Electricity Aggregation

The Providence City Council voted tonight to authorize the Mayor and the City’s Office of Sustainability to develop and implement an aggregation plan to allow the residents of Providence to have more control over their electric bills.

According to the EPA, Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), also known as municipal aggregation, are programs that allow local governments to procure power on behalf of their residents. CCAs provide communities that want more local control over their electricity sources, more green power than is offered by the default utility, and lower electricity prices.

“With National Grid slated to raise our electricity rates by 8% this fall we need to offer our residents a way to lessen the burden and I believe community aggregation is a step in the right direction,” stated Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5). “Residents across the City saw tax increases on their properties, and even on their income taxes, and an 8% increase on our electricity bills adds up. Allowing the City to buy power in bulk, and buy alternate forms of power is not only the right thing to do, it’s the green thing to do. This is one more step in making Providence a carbon-neutral city by 2050!”

Under Rhode Island state law, CCA programs provide the opportunity to bring the benefits of competitive choice of electric supplier, longer-term price stability and more renewable energy options to the residents and businesses of the City of Providence and other municipalities in Rhode Island. The City Council is in full support of this program and the potential monetary and environmental benefits to our community.

Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11) stated, “My neighbors are worried, they are worried about how are they going to pay their electric bill and keep food on the table. An increase of 8% will harm my neighbors, especially my elderly neighbors who are on a fixed income, and young families. I love the idea that residents will have a choice of a provider and not forced into using one source for their electricity.”

With tonight’s resolution the City Council authorizes the Mayor to engage a consultant with experience in developing and administering CCA programs to assist the City in the creation and operation of an aggregation plan and CCA program provided that the City shall not be required to draw upon the General Fund to compensate such consultant.

“I am very happy to be a co-sponsor of this important piece of legislation,” stated Councilwoman Helen Anthony (Ward 2). “No matter where you live you should be able to have a choice regarding your electric service provider. Many residents want an option to buy electricity that is greener – such as solar or wind generated power – and they should have that option. This is a great step forward in embracing the green economy.”

The Office of Sustainability will provide regular updates to the full City Council regarding the development and implementation of the aggregation plan and CCA program.

 

Providence City Council Calls on State to Ban Assault Weapons

City Council members passed three resolutions at tonight’s council meeting urging the General Assembly to pass legislation banning assault weapons, banning high capacity magazines, and prohibiting concealed-carry weapons on school grounds. These resolutions were introduced by Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3), Councilman David A. Salvatore (Ward 14), Councilwoman Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Councilwoman Rachel Miller (Ward 13), and Councilman Seth Yurdin (Ward 1).

“We are not going to wait until the next tragedy for changes that we need to see enacted now,” stated Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune. “It is time to take a stand against gun violence and the City Council supports the Senators and Representatives that have put forth this much-needed legislation. We need to keep assault weapons off the street and away from criminals in order to ensure the safety of families, students, and law enforcement officers.”

The Providence City Council respectfully requests the Rhode Island General Assembly to pass House Bills H-5741, H-5762, H-5739; and Senate Bills S-635, S-636, S-637. These legislative bills include the Rhode Island Assault Weapons Ban Act, the Large Capacity Feeding Device Ban Act and an amendment to the RI General Law chapter 11-47 entitled “weapons.” Seven States and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning Assault weapons including: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

Councilman David A. Salvatore stated, “The debate is over; there is no justification for military-style assault weapons with large-capacity magazines to be in the hands of civilians. Firearms should be nowhere near our school grounds or public spaces and it is our moral obligation as public servants to protect the people through common sense gun legislation. Rhode Islanders will not let the proliferation of assault weapons go unchecked.”

“This is a clear message from Providence residents to our state leaders that it is time to put an end to mass shootings by banning assault weapons once and for all,” stated Councilwoman Helen Anthony. “Our children deserve a safer world and not one where anybody can easily acquire a weapon that shoots up to 100 rounds a minute.”

Click here to view a digital version of the resolutions.

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