Friday, July 19, 2024

Young Latino Mayor Brings Back His Rhode Island City

James Diossa became the mayor of Central Falls in 2012 at the age of 27, at a time when the city was weathering the shock of political scandal. The former mayor Charles Moreau had been indicted on corruption charges and the city had declared bankruptcy.

“I became the first Latino mayor, first youngest mayor,” James Diossa told NBC News. “It’s been a privilege to be able to serve this community at such a young age and being a Latino as well.”

Diossa is the son of textile mill workers from Columbia, and never thought he would end up in politics. Inspired by Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency, in 2008 he decided to make a run for city council straight after graduating from college.

He won his first election by a mere 17 votes, and he said that the internet and social media were a big factor. “Being a millennial, I was able to connect to people in the Central Falls City Council who then connected me with other people in government,” said Diossa.

Diossa has worked toward improvements on infrastructure, better sanitation equipment, hired more police officers and even opened a tutoring center for children whose parents are immigrants and don’t speak English fluently. While Diossa is not sure what will follow his tenure as mayor, one thing for sure is that he will help young Latinos enter the political world, giving back to the people who helped him.

NBC News