John Goncalves was a Democratic candidate in the race for Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.

Goncalves is a Providence City Councilman who represents Ward 1 on the city’s East Side, where he’s lived for the past 25 years. He’s the senior deputy majority leader to the council president and chairs several committees, including city property and state legislative affairs.

Goncalves’ campaign website says he is a teacher at The Wheeler School, his alma mater. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brown University and previously served on the Brown Alumni Association Board of Governors and Fox Point Neighborhood Association.

Below are Goncalves’ responses to a three-question survey from 12 News:

1. What do you think is the biggest issue facing the country today, and how do you think Congress should address it?

“Income inequality. We’re the wealthiest country that has ever existed on the face of the Earth, and millions of Americans will go to bed hungry tonight. That is an epic crisis and the direct result of decades of politicians in both parties putting the interests of special interests over the needs of everyone else. We can and must do better.

“If elected, I will fight to bring federal funding to education in Rhode Island as well as fight for fairness by expanding Social Security for our seniors, raising the federal minimum wage, mandating universal paid family and sick leave, advocating for Medicare for All, universal pre-K and childcare, and the most aggressive climate legislation to protect our planet while boosting economic opportunity.

“There aren’t pie-in-the-sky hopes, these are fights we can win. If recent wins in red states like Ohio have taught us anything, it’s that voters are fired up. They’re sick and tired of a system that doesn’t work for them. Voters deserve elected officials that look like them and fundamentally get what it’s like to struggle. I understand their fight, because it’s my fight.”

2. What is an under-the-radar issue you are passionate about which you would make one of your priorities in Congress?

“Artificial intelligence is an issue that hasn’t received that much attention, considering how it will transform our economy in the decades ahead. In Congress, we need to balance regulation with innovation. AI is here to stay and it’s up to Congress to explore ways to minimize the negative impacts from AI, while investing in American workers so they can have the tech skills and knowledge to thrive in a changing economy. As a teacher, I believe that investment starts early and I’ll fight for additional funding for education so that the next generation of Americans will be at the forefront of innovation.”

3. What do you think voters should know about your background that makes you stand out from the other 11 candidates?

“I was born and raised in this district by an immigrant single mother. She worked two jobs to support our family and her hard work allowed me to graduate from Brown. I serve on the Providence City Council, but I’m also a full-time elementary school teacher at the Wheeler School and have served as a teacher for nearly a decade. I’m not wealthy or connected, but I’m a tenacious fighter who wakes up every morning and goes to bat for this community.

“On the City Council, I’ve been the lead sponsor on numerous pieces of legislation and helped bring millions of dollars in funding to the fastest growing district in Rhode Island. We’ve advanced critical issues on housing, economic development, the environment, and quality of life. All together, my lived experience, legislative experience, deep rooted, non-replicable connections in the community for nearly 30 years as a public servant and teacher makes me stand out from the other 11 candidates.”

Visit Goncalves’ campaign website »

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