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James Diossa

Mayor

Central Falls, Rhode Island

Biography

Mayor James A. Diossa was born and raised in Central Falls. He attended Becker College in Massachusetts, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Concerned by the direction Central Falls was heading in, and the fact that so many young people were leaving the city in search of better opportunities elsewhere, James decided to get involved. With the help of a small group of friends and family, James launched a grassroots campaign to represent the 4th Ward on the Central Falls City Council. Despite very limited resources and no prior political experience, he went head to head with a well-known councilman backed by the local political machine and won.

Upon being sworn in as a member of the City Council in January of 2010, James got to work right away engaging constituents and fighting to make government more accessible. He was successful in ending the practice of holding mid-day council meetings in a working-class city when few could attend. When the city’s only public library was shuttered, he advocated successfully to keep it open. When the US Postal Service threatened to shut down the city’s only post office, James organized residents against the closure and even traveled to Washington to lobby our congressional delegation and postal officials. When the city’s image was under attack in the media, James brought then-Governor Chafee, US Senator Jack Reed and other state leaders to learn first-hand about this amazing city and the families who call it home.

In 2012, as the city was plunged into an unprecedented fiscal and political crisis, Diossa ran for Mayor and won decisively. Since being sworn in as the city’s first Latino Mayor, Diossa has been recognized for his efforts to restore honest governance, fiscal sustainability and civic pride to Central Falls. He has been successful in securing millions in federal and foundation funding for quality of life and infrastructure improvements to the city. He is widely credited with restored confidence in the Mayor’s office and energizing a new generation of civic leaders. And he led the city out of bankruptcy to the point where Standard & Poor’s has raised Central Falls’ long-term bond rating to “BBB” investment grade.

Now in his second and final term as Mayor of the “comeback city” Diossa is working hard to ensure Central Falls’ continued success for years to come.

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