Ward 8

Councilman James Taylor

Councilman James Taylor represents Ward 8 of the City of Providence, which includes the Elmwood, South Elmwood, Reservoir Triangle and the West End neighborhoods. Councilman Taylor served the Providence Fire Department from 1989 to 2016. He is the Founder and Chair of the City Council’s Special Committee on Public Safety.





Ward 8: Elmwood, South Elmwood, Reservoir Triangle & West End

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Statement from Councilman James E. Taylor Regarding Columbus Square and the Christopher Columbus Statue

There has been much discussion about the fate of the statue of Christopher Columbus that resides in the Elmwood neighborhood of Providence. Tonight I will be introducing a resolution requesting that no decision be made regarding the statue without a robust and full engagement with the residents of the Elmwood neighborhood.

The statue is significant to the history of the community, not because of who the statue honors, but for the reason where it stands. It was created by master sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty and was made specifically for Providence’s Gorham Manufacturing Company. It was originally cast in silver as a way to highlight the company’s expertise and was presented for display at the 1892 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

The bronze-cast replica was created in 1893 and dedicated in November of the same year. It was a gift to the City of Providence from the Elmwood Association, a civic group comprised of residents of the neighborhood near the Gorham Plant. The statue is located in Columbus Square which is located in the heart of Elmwood and is a steadfast reminder of Elmwood’s past and prosperity. Columbus Square has also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for nearly two decades.

The resolution that I will be introducing is only to ensure that any discussion that may or may not occur around  – the location or proposed relocation – of this statue includes the Elmwood Community and its residents.

James E. Taylor
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 8

Councilman James Taylor Connects with his Constituents through Bingo & Barbecues

Since being sworn in as the Councilor representing Ward 8 in January 2019, Councilman James Taylor has made a tradition of holding Bingo nights for his elderly constituents.

In Ward 8, there are three high rises housing elderly community members along with two high rises that provide low-income housing.  Because these high rises are home to a concentrated number of constituents with specific needs, Councilman Taylor makes a point to visit frequently.

“Bingo nights are an opportunity for me to engage with my constituents, and make sure their needs are being met in their building and their community, as well as a time for us to come together as a neighborhood and have fun,” said Councilman Taylor.

Snacks, gift cards, and raffles are available to all attendees so that everybody has a chance to win. Council staff member Stephanie Jourdain joins to call out bingo numbers and translate for Spanish speaking constituents. State Senator Ana Quezada and State Representative Scott Slater also often come to play bingo and address the needs of their constituents.

In addition to Bingo Nights, Councilman Taylor hosted barbecues at the two low-income housing high rises in his ward, where the residents are often much younger. He recently provided domino tables for their community rooms, which have been a big hit.

Councilman Taylor continued “The only time high rises are full with visitors is on Christmas and Thanksgiving. I want Ward 8 constituents of all ages and backgrounds to know that they are an important part of our community and I am here to help them year-round.”

Story by Abigail Appel, University of Rhode Island, City Council Communications Intern


Providence City Council Urges State to Monitor Water Pollutant PFAS

Councilwoman Rachel Miller Introduced the Resolution in Support of Rhode Island House Bill 6064,            An Act Relating to Waters and Navigation – PFAS in Drinking and Surface Waters

Providence City Council passed a resolution tonight in support of Rhode Island House Bill 6064, an act in support of safe drinking and surface waters.  The resolution was introduced by Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller (Ward 13).

House Bill 6064 will authorize the Department of Health, in consultation with the Water Resource Board, to adopt a rule for maximum contaminant levels of Perfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS), to protect the quality and safety of the public drinking water supply.

Known as forever chemicals because of their longevity in the environment, PFAS are associated with a wide variety of health risks including cancer, autoimmune diseases, and developmental risks. This class of chemicals have been widely used in commercial and industrial products including Teflon pans, stain resistant clothing, and firefighting foam, and are found ubiquitously in the environment. A2007 study found that 98% of the United States’ population had detectable amounts of PFAS in their bloodstream.[1]

“The same chemical properties that have ensured PFAS wide use in commercial and industrial applications make PFAS a particularly pernicious and dangerous contaminant, ” stated Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller. “Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts are setting standards to protect their residents, Connecticut is considering the same. Rhode Islanders need the state to step up and safeguard our water supply. I urge the House to pass Bill 6064 without hesitation,” Miller continued.

PFAS contamination of the water supply has been detected in several New England communities, including Burrillville Rhode Island, where families served by the Oakland Association water system are still drinking bottled water. Last week New Hampshire filed a lawsuit against major manufacturers of PFAS citing widespread contamination.

“Waters across Rhode Island are being destroyed by toxic PFAS forever chemicals,” said Amy Moses, Vice President and Rhode Island Director of Conservation Law Foundation. “It’s about time our health department wake up and take this threat to public health seriously. We commend the Providence City Council for encouraging passage of legislation that will ensure Rhode Island families won’t be sickened by simply drinking out of their taps.”

The Act sets an interim drinking water standard and requires monitoring to protect public health. In the short term, it requires DOH to set a Maximum Contaminant Level for five enumerated PFAS compounds, engage in rulemaking regarding the regulation of PFAS as a class, and ultimately either regulate PFAS as a class or explain any impediments to doing so, and to investigate potential sources of PFAS contamination. The Act will also require the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to set surface water quality standards for at least five enumerated PFAS compounds and investigate the risks posed by emerging contaminants in landfill leachate.

For more information on PFAS, please visit cleanwateraction.org.

[1]  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2072821/

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