Friday, July 29, 2022
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Jonathon Acosta is a Democratic candidate for re-election in Senate District 16 (Central Falls, Pawtucket). Here’s what he has to say.
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1. What do you think is the biggest political issue this campaign season in Rhode Island?
Voters are apparently expected to vote for the candidate they like the most as a person. We’ve been bombarded with buzzword-laden messages throughout the season and can’t easily point to the public policy differences between the options available to us. How will candidates approach income taxes? What concrete plan do they have for health care? Education? Climate change? Most of what has been released by the candidates is superficial at best, or ambitious with no real plan at worst.
2. What should we do to improve Rhode Island’s economy?
We need to start by fixing our education system. Any conversation about education should start with Barrington Public Schools where, in any given year, 20-30% of students in grades 3-8 cannot do grade level math or reading. It is not a problem of poverty, special education or multilingual learner (because the percentage of these is so low in this district). This is a fundamental problem with the quality of education we provide to all students in our state. This is one of the few places where I believe in a trickle down effect. If we can address the issues holding Barrington students back, these should have positive effects on our most disadvantaged students as well.
3. What is the biggest challenge facing Rhode Island as a state?
Our underfunded system of social services in the state requires our immediate attention. Child care, health care and hospice services span our lives from cradle to grave. We underinvested in these areas for years while diverting funds to private providers. If we don’t raise taxes on the rich and find innovative ways to fund the services and supports guaranteed to us as Americans, we will witness the death of the social safety net that so poignantly defines the modern state.
4. Why are you standing for election? What makes you particularly qualified?
I have the education and experience to make contributions to policy areas important to our state. Specifically, I understand demographics (we have an aging population of baby boomers that demands our attention and a growing population of non-white children that require unique services and supports) and education policy that inform economic development .
5. Who is your inspiration?
WEB DuBois inspires me to wear many hats. He was the consummate public intellectual. He was a founder of the NAACP, editor of The Crisis, college professor, organizer, researcher and more. Hopefully I can get a sense of the impact he had on the world around him by the end of my time.
Jonathon Acosta is a Democrat representing District 16 (Central Falls, Pawtucket) in the Rhode Island Senate.
A former member of the Central Falls City Council, Senator Acosta was elected to the Senate on November 3, 2020. His tenure in the Legislative Assembly has included actions on issues such as law enforcement, education and Health care.
He was the Senate sponsor of legislation to create a new body-worn camera program for statewide police, which was signed into law in 2021. He also introduced the Rishod K Act. Gore on Policing Justice 2021, which aimed for a series of police reforms. , and legislation to ban private prisons in Rhode Island.
Senator Acosta was the Senate sponsor of legislation authorizing Central Falls to invest nearly $6 million in school repairs and construction. He also introduced a bill that would prohibit discrimination against potential organ transplant recipients based solely on physical or mental disability.
Senator Acosta was born on November 3, 1989. He and his partner, Aly Chatham, have two sons, Leon Ernesto Acosta-Chatham and Jonathon Andres Acosta-Chatham.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science (theory) and ethnic studies and a master’s degree in urban education policy and sociology from Brown University. He is currently working towards obtaining a doctorate. in sociology at Brown. He previously worked as a middle school math teacher in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Central Falls before becoming a school administrator.
In 2015, Senator Acosta received recognition of the White House Initiative on Excellence in Education for Hispanics by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2016, he received the Latino Public Radio Community Champion Award.
Senator Acosta is a member of the Central Falls Children’s Foundation and he previously served on the Central Falls Juvenile Hearing Board. He was involved in his community as a wrestling coach and earned the rank of Eagle Scout in Boy Scouting.
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