Letter From Gonzalo
My name is Gonzalo Cuervo, and I am running to be the next Mayor of Providence. I am writing to tell you about myself, to explain why I decided to run for Mayor, and to ask for your support and vote.
I was born in Providence, live in Mount Pleasant, and have been involved in Providence civic life for decades. I’ve been a community advocate, a small business owner, a nonprofit leader, and have years of experience serving at the highest levels of city and state government: as Chief of Staff to Mayor Angel Taveras, and as Deputy Secretary to RI Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea.
In all these roles, and in the thousands of conversations I have had since launching my campaign, I have witnessed a shared understanding among Providence residents of what is necessary for our next Mayor to succeed. Our next mayor needs to have 1) detailed policy plans to address our challenges and help everyone thrive, 2) a broad base of support from every neighborhood of the city and the ability to bring diverse groups to the table to get things done, and 3) the executive experience and proven skills to be the Chief Executive of our dynamic city.
I have detailed policy plans to address affordability for renters and owners alike, improve public safety, expand economic development in every neighborhood, improve city services, protect the environment, grow our arts and culture, fix our local schools, address economic inequality and close the opportunity gap. I know that Providence has enormous resources and potential and with the right leadership, following clear plans, our city can be a place where everyone thrives. You can find my full platform on my website at GonzaloforProvidence.com/Platform.
I have broad support of current and former elected officials and community leaders from every neighborhood of the city. While Providence is a diverse community, people in the different neighborhoods share most of the same concerns, and the next mayor needs to be able to bring diverse groups of people to the table to work together to get things done. When our neighborhoods are neglected, the whole city suffers. I will ensure that residents from across the city not only have their voices heard but play a direct role in shaping policy for all of us.
I have the proven leadership skills and executive experience to be the Chief Executive of our dynamic city. I worked closely with Mayors David Cicilline and Angel Taveras for more than a decade in the Mayor’s office and was Deputy Secretary under Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. I’ve had leadership positions in nonprofit and community organizations. I know how to set a path based on community input and put together a leadership team that can be effective addressing issues big and small, and make Providence a vibrant, clean, and safe city with a thriving middle class and a bright future for our youth.
My journey to this moment began with my parents. They immigrated here and worked in factories their whole lives. We never had much, but my mom would always have extra food, clothing, and household essentials for anyone in need. She would say: “Todos somos una familia.” We’re all one family. To this day, she always has a gift ready to help someone in need.
I’ve tried to live up to her example through public service and by bringing people together to improve our city. At 19, I began volunteering with community organizations on the South Side. I’ve organized neighbors and merchants to advocate for housing, schools, and public safety. I ran a small business on Broad Street and helped found a community arts organization. In my government roles, I worked to implement a successful citywide community policing program, enacted unprecedented lobbying and electoral reforms through the General Assembly, and organized record turnout elections during a global pandemic.
This is also how I met the love of my life. In 1997, I got a call from a teacher at Classical who was starting a community theater program for Providence youth. The person running the program, a teacher and theater director, Francis Parra, would later become my wife. Francis developed this initiative into Teatro ECAS, Rhode Island’s leading Latino performing arts institution. Seeing young people discover their artistic voices through this organization fills me with joy. Raising our children, Daniel and Stephanie, to be thoughtful and kind adults is my proudest accomplishment.
Spending a lifetime working in Providence’s diverse communities has given me unparalleled insights into our city’s unique dynamics, significant challenges, and great opportunities. This sparked my lifelong passion for helping people who are too often shut out of the halls of power and the decisions that impact them. These experiences also taught me a lesson that I have carried with me my whole life: that when we bring people together to build on what we have in common, we strengthen our city for all of us.
Providence has serious challenges, and we need the right kind of leadership to address them. We know the beauty, resources, and potential we have as a city. There’s so much innovation and creative energy. Yet we have too many families who are merely surviving day to day, lightyears away from those world-class assets and opportunities. Too many of our own youth are blocked from realizing their own remarkable potential. And too many of our residents are being priced out by unaffordable housing. This election is critical to Providence’s future.
That's why I'm running for Mayor and why I am asking for your support and vote. Please don’t hesitate to call or email me at 401-753-4859 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope I can earn your vote in the Democratic Primary on September 13th. Thank you for your consideration.