PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The longtime councilman representing Ward 1 on the East Side of Providence has resigned from the Providence City Council.
Seth Yurdin, a 52-year-old Democrat, told WPRI 12 he’s stepping down to devote more of his time to his law practice and his intellectual property business, Mneme Analytics.
“I’m choosing to spend my time and my energy elsewhere,” Yurdin, whose term does not expire until the end of 2022, said in an interview.
His resignation opens up the seat to a special election in the ward, which is mostly on the East Side of the city but also includes part of downtown Providence. The neighborhoods in the ward include Fox Point and portions of College Hill and Wayland.
The ward also includes the parcel of former I-195 land where a New York developer is aiming to building a controversial skyscraper, dubbed the Fane Tower.
Yurdin was first elected to the seat in 2006, and at various points served as majority leader and chairman of the Ordinances Committee. He currently serves on the State and Legislative Affairs Committee, though he is not in Council President Sabina Matos’s inner circle.
Yurdin received a standing ovation from his colleagues at Thursday night’s council meeting after announcing he was stepping down.
“Thank you for your service,” Matos said from the rostrum.
“It has been a pleasure to work with my colleague Seth,” said Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune, D-Ward 3. “He is a very thoughtful person who really cares about policy.”
“I want to thank Councilman Seth Yurdin for over a decade of service to the City of Providence,” Mayor Jorge Elorza wrote on Twitter. “He has been a champion for our community and our environment while representing our ever-changing Downtown and East Side neighborhoods. I wish him the best of luck in his future work.”
Among his proudest accomplishments, Yurdin cited divesting the city from fossil fuel investments and rebuilding the Vartan Gregorian playground to be handicapped-accessible.
“Sometimes the smaller things have the most impact,” Yurdin said of the playground construction.
Yurdin said he plans to hand his resignation letter to the City Clerk on Thursday night, after which it will have to be formally accepted by the council before a special election is set.
“I think that everyone on the council is trying to do the best thing for the city, and I wish them the best of luck,” Yurdin said.