PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The race to replace Providence City Councilman Kevin Jackson in Ward 3 is on.
Republican David Lallier Jr. filed a notice of organization with the R.I. Board of Elections Tuesday, allowing him to begin raising funds for a special election that will be scheduled for later this summer.
Residents in Ward 3 voted overwhelmingly to recall Jackson, 58, in a special election last week. The recall was organized after Jackson was arrested and indicted last year on charges that he embezzled from a youth sports organization he founded in the 1978. Jackson is also accused of using his campaign fund to cover personal expenses. He has pleaded not guilty.
The City Council is expected to formally declare Jackson’s seat vacant at its May 18 meeting. A special election will be set within 90 days.
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Reached Tuesday, Lallier, 31, described himself as a “center-right” Republican who “can see both sides of the argument.” He said he is particularly concerned about the proposed Community Safety Act, a far-reaching ordinance designed to reform various police department policies.
A 31-year-old warehouse worker and truck driver, Lallier grew up on the East Side and attended Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, Nathan Bishop Middle School and Central High School. He pitched himself as a candidate who understands what Providence residents are going through every day.
“I’m living pay check to pay check, penny to penny, so I know what it’s like,” he said. “I understand that the higher the taxes go, the higher the rent goes.”
To be sure, Lallier faces an uphill battle in Ward 3. Providence voters haven’t elected a Republican to the City Council since 1986. (The last time a Republican won any election in Providence was 1992, when Mary Ross won her one and only term as a state representative in House District 17.)
The only other candidate who has publicly expressed interest in running for the council seat is School Board Member Mark Santow, a Democrat. Santow filed notice of organization with the R.I. Board of Election in March, nearly two months before Jackson was recalled.
Ward 3 stretches from the University Heights apartment complex off of North Main Street all the way north to the Pawtucket line.