CENTRAL FALLS – Voters will have a chance to get an up-close and personal look at the candidates for City Council, including the two at-large seats that will be up for grabs for the first time this year, at a forum sponsored by the YWCA Rhode Island Wednesday evening at 6:30 at Central Falls High School.
Bianca Pavoncello, executive editor of the Pawtucket Times and Woonsocket Call, will be the moderator. She will take written questions from the audience as well as questions generated by the YWCA.
All eight candidates for the seven council seats are invited to the forum although Deborah Perry, president and CEO of the YWCA, said they have been unable to reach candidate Douglas Pendergrass, who is running in the only contested race, in Ward 3.
Candidates who have confirmed their intention to attend, Perry told The Times, are:
• Shelby Maldonado and Tia Ristaino-Siegel are running for the two at-large seats that will be elected citywide.
• Ann Racquier is running unopposed in Ward 1, as is Robert Ferri in Ward 2, the only incumbent council member seeing re-election.
• Opposing Pendergrass in Ward 3 will be Hugo Figueroa.
• Stephanie Gonzalez will not face an opponent in Ward 4, nor will Tammi Johnson in Ward 5.
Perry said the YWCA is proud of the role it has played in voter education efforts over the years.
“We believe elections are really critical to the well-being of women and girls in Central Falls and all of the people in Central Falls,” she said.
“We care about issues such as increasing women’s income, child care and early education, racial justice, violence against women and health care.
“So I think this is a great opportunity to really bring to the forefront the people who are running for office in Central Falls and provide them with an opportunity to speak with citizens of the city about the issues they are supporting and standing behind and for us women to see how they impact women and women’s lives in the community.”
“We at The Times are honored and pleased to be invited to participate in this important event,” Pavoncello said, “and we look forward to being part of more civic functions in the future.”