Group submits more signatures in effort to recall Councilman Jackson

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – More than 2,500 residents of Ward 3 on Providence’s East Side have signed a petition calling for embattled City Councilman Kevin Jackson to be removed from office, the leader of the recall effort said Friday.

Patricia Kammerer, who leads a group known as Recall Kevin Jackson, said she submitted the signatures to the city clerk’s office Friday afternoon. City Clerk Lori Hagen confirmed the petition was turned in.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Kammerer said. “Six hundred more people have signed this petition than voted for Councilperson Jackson in the last election. We stand by these signatures and hope that Jackson will stop his legal shenanigans in an attempt to silence his constituents. Our elected officials at all levels of government should be role models, not embarrassments. Ward 3 deserves better.”

The group needs just 20% of registered voters – approximately 2,100 signatures – from Ward 3 to sign its petition for the recall to advance, voters will be asked to vote up or down on Jackson’s future. If Jackson is recalled, a special election will be held.

The Providence Board of Canvassers still must approve the signatures and Jackson’s lawyers are expected to file an appeal.

“We’ll be watching these signatures as keenly as we’re watching the original 300 we’re contesting,” Artin Coloian, one of Jackson’s attorneys said. Jackson challenged the initial signatures the group submitted, but the Board of Canvassers allowed the recall effort to advance.

Jackson, a 58-year-old Democrat who has represented Ward 3 since 1995, was arrested by State Police in May and indicted by a statewide grand jury in July. He has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors allege Jackson embezzled $127,153 from the Providence Cobras youth track-and-field team, an organization that received more than $67,000 in taxpayer-funded city donations between 2005 and 2015. He is also accused of using $12,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses.

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Dan McGowan ( ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan