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Jorge O. Elorza (born November 24, 1976)[1] is an American law professor and mayor of Providence, Rhode Island. He defeated former mayor Buddy Cianci in the 2014 mayoral election and on 5 January 2015 was sworn in as mayor of the city.[2][3]

Jorge Elorza
Providence mayor Jorge Elorza.jpg
38th Mayor of Providence
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Preceded byAngel Taveras
Personal details
Born (1976-11-24) November 24, 1976 (age 42)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationCommunity College of Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island, Kingston (BA)
Harvard University (JD)
WebsiteGovernment website

Early life and educationEdit

Elorza's parents immigrated from Guatemala in 1975.[4] Jorge Elorza was born and raised in the West End of Providence, Rhode Island.[5] He attended local public schools, including Asa Messer elementary, Bridgham middle school, and Classical High School.[1] The first of his family to attend college, he enrolled at the Community College of Rhode Island before transferring to the University of Rhode Island.[6][7] He worked as an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York, and then attended Harvard Law School, where he graduated with a Juris Doctor.[8][9]

After the death of a hometown friend, Elorza left Wall Street and returned to Rhode Island.[6] Elorza teaches law at the Roger Williams University School of Law.[9] In 2010 he was appointed to the Providence Housing Court, where he replaced Angel Taveras.[8]

Mayor of Providence (2015–present)Edit

The Providence mayoral race in 2014 was Elorza's first try at elective office.[10] He was sworn in as mayor on 5 January 2015 on the steps of Providence City Hall.[11] In his inaugural speech, Elorza promised to deliver "a city that works".[12]

Early in his first term, Elorza was credited for working closely with the City Council and Governor's office.[10] Within his first 100 days he appointed an "innovation officer" to streamline operations and coordinate city activities.[10][12] He appointed a representative to the city ethics commission for the first time in nine years.[10] He also reached out to constituents with a "Twitter Town Hall."[10]

During his first year in office, Elorza implemented a complaint response system which generated responses to a backlog of thousands of unanswered complaints to the city.[12] City Hall employees have been required to take customer-service training.[12] New contracts were reached with the City Hall and Public Works and Parks Department unions.[12] A program was set up to take control of abandoned houses, and turn them over to buyers who will fix them.[12] Elorza also created an anti-prostitution effort known as "Operation Backpage", which has arrested several dozen men for solicitation.[12]

On September 12, 2018, Elorza won renomination to the Mayor's office over challengers Kobi Dennis and Robert DeRobbio.[13] He subsequently won the general election.

BudgetEdit

Elorza's government faced a budget shortfall during his first year.[12] However, in October 2016, Elorza announced a $9.5 million budget surplus for the 2015-2016 budget year.[14] This was Providence's largest surplus in at least 20 years.[14] Critics claimed the surplus was partly due to not hiring needed police and firefighters.[14]

Firefighters unionEdit

Elorza faced a long fight with the city's firefighters union over schedule changes.[12] In September 2016, after 13 months of lawsuits, arbitration, and sometimes nasty public exchanges, Elorza and the president of the union finally came to an agreement.[15]

Parking metersEdit

Elorza presided over an expansion of new, high-tech parking meters in Providence.[16] Between January 2015 and September 2016, Elorza's administration increased the number of metered parking spaces by 50 percent, from 1,400 to 2,100.[16] Critics of the plan say that the meters hurt local business, and that the reduced tax revenue from businesses hurt by the meters is greater than the increased revenue from the parking fees.[16]

"One Providence" initiativeEdit

Following the November 2016 Presidential election, Elorza established the "One Providence" initiative to respond to reports of increased hate crimes against Muslims, LGBTQ people, and minorities in Providence.[17][18] The initiative includes a new "hotline" to report crime,[18] and the establishment of a Muslim-American advisory board.[17] The initiative was established to "protect and serve every resident of the city" without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion or disability.[17] While the mayor vowed to protect undocumented immigrants from attempts at unfair deportation by the Trump administration,[17] he said he has no plans to establish Providence as a "sanctuary city."[19]

Environmental initiativesEdit

 
Mayor Elorza addresses riders before the start of his quarterly "Bike the Night" ride though Providence.

In 2016, Elorza set a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.[20] Elorza is a supporter of improving the city’s biking infrastructure, and in 2017 a new greenway opened in Roger Williams Park.[21] Elorza leads a quarterly bicycle ride though Providence called "Bike the Night" to highlight the city's cycling infrastructure.[21]

Personal lifeEdit

 
Elorza addresses a Bike-to-Work Day gathering in Burnside Park, May 15, 2015.

Elorza is an avid cyclist and fitness enthusiast.[10] He frequently commutes by bicycle from his home in Olneyville to City Hall.[10][22]

In August 2019, Elorza married a law student and former Central Falls city council member after a yearlong engagement.[23][24] The pair welcomed a baby boy in June 2018.[23][25]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Campaign 2014: Providence Mayor". WPRI Eyewitness News. WPRI News. Retrieved 4 February 2015. Born: Nov. 24, 1976
  2. ^ "Jorge Elorza sworn in as Providence's 38th mayor". wpri.com. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  3. ^ Wright, Emily (4 November 2014). "Jorge Elorza Defeats Buddy Cianci in Providence Mayoral Race". Boston.com. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  4. ^ McGowan, Dan (5 January 2015). "Jorge Elorza sworn in as Providence's 38th mayor". WPRI Eyewitness News. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  5. ^ Abuaita, Alexander (15 October 2014). "BPR Interview: Jorge Elorza". Brown Political Review. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b "CCRI speaker offers grads ways to measure success". Warwick Beacon. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  7. ^ http://www.ccri.edu/alumni/pdfs/GWWinter2015.pdf
  8. ^ a b McGowan, Dan (18 November 2013). "Democrat Jorge Elorza launches bid for Providence mayor". WPRI. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Jorge O. Elorza". Roger Williams University School of Law.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Hill, John (23 April 2015). "Providence Mayor Elorza's first 100 days get high marks". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  11. ^ NBC 10 News. "Elorza takes office as Providence mayor". Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hill, John (2 January 2016). "Providence's Mayor Elorza showed initiative in 1st year, but problems loom in 2016". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Elorza wins Democratic nomination for Providence mayor". WPRI. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  14. ^ a b c Hill, John (31 October 2016). "Mayor Elorza says Providence will end year with $9.5 million surplus". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  15. ^ Hill, John (12 September 2016). "Providence firefighters, city reach tentative deal on contract". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  16. ^ a b c Hill, John (6 September 2016). "On Thayer Street in Providence, is the city's busiest parking meter". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  17. ^ a b c d Ziner, Karen Lee (22 November 2016). "Providence mayor signs executive order creating Muslim advisory board". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  18. ^ a b Ziner, Karen Lee (7 December 2016). "Elorza announces new hot line to report hate crimes". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  19. ^ Reynolds, Mark (14 November 2016). "Mayor Elorza: No plan to turn Providence into 'sanctuary city'". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  20. ^ Kuffner, Alex (21 April 2016). "Providence commits to reach carbon-neutral goal by 2050". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  21. ^ a b Curley, Bob (22 June 2017). "Building a More Bikeable Providence". Providence Monthly. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  22. ^ Blanchette, Matt (15 May 2015). "Mayor Elorza bikes to work daily". ABC 6 News. Retrieved 16 May 2015. Elorza rides to work nearly every single day from his home in Olneyville.
  23. ^ a b "Providence's first family". The Providence Journal. 10 August 2019. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  24. ^ "Providence mayor engaged to former Central Falls city councilor". Newport RI dot com. 13 June 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  25. ^ List, Madeline (29 June 2018). "A baby boy for Providence mayor, former Central Falls councilwoman". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
Political offices
Preceded by
Angel Taveras
Mayor of Providence
2015–present
Incumbent