WOONSOCKET/NORTH SMITHFIELD – Democrats in House District 49, Woonsocket and North Smithfield, will head to the polls next Tuesday, Sept. 13, and select their candidate to move on to the general election against former State Rep. Jon Brien.
Voters have a choice between Alex Kithes, a former Woonsocket City Council member and executive director for Rebuild Woonsocket, and Glenn Dusablon, retired electrical inspector and founder of the Veterans Memorial Museum in Woonsocket.
Kithes a resident of Woonsocket, was born to a family of Greek working-class immigrants. He began working as an activist in high school, knowing then that people in the district weren’t given the same opportunities as wealthier people across the state, and that many are suffering. In 2019, he ran for Woonsocket City Council and was elected, serving a two-year term before being voted out, later deciding to run to fill Rep. Steve Lima’s House seat.
Kithes has focused his campaign on solving the “city’s biggest issues” including climate change with a Green New Deal, access to affordable housing, an increase to a $19 minimum wage, and support for abortion and LGBTQ+ rights. He has said he’s tired of representatives being “seat warmers,” as he wants to be a voice for the residents of Woonsocket at the Statehouse.
Dusablon is a first-time candidate and relative of those who served in World War I and II, has emphasized that he wants to be a strong voice for working people, seniors, veterans, and for future generations. He said the work he hopes to complete includes supporting individuals who are suffering with the rising cost of living and funding seniors adequately through Medicaid.
“I will make sure that the state Act on Climate is fully implemented and creates good-paying new green jobs. We need to keep Medicaid adequately funded, (as) one in four Rhode Islanders depend on it,” he said.
Kithes has recently called out Dusablon on social media for being homophobic, saying many residents have claimed that Dusablon has been using homophobic rhetoric against him with residents, saying specifically, “do you know my opponent is married to a man?” Kithes has made it clear that though he is not married, he identifies himself to be a part of the queer community.
Dusablon has denied these allegations, saying it “breaks my heart that misinformation has been allowed to run fiercely in this election, and I fully oppose the spread of such horrible lies. As someone who has many beloved friends and family who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I will always support the LGBTQ+ community. That is a promise that I will keep in the Statehouse.”
Kithes has also said that Dusablon is not supporting women, noting that he is supported by Right to Life.
Polls on primary day will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit vote.sos.ri.gov to find your polling place.
Meet the Democrats in the District 49 primary:
23 Elizabeth Ave., North Smithfield
Years in community: 26
Employment/employment history: Union electrician for Woonsocket and an electrical inspector and chief for Rhode Island DLT.
Education: High school graduate, four years of electrical classes.
Community activities/public service: Dusablon opened the Veterans Memorial Museum in Woonsocket; member of the Woonsocket Elks.
Family: Dusablon has five children and nine grandchildren.
153 Winter St., Woonsocket
Years in the community: 30
Employment/employment history: Director, Rebuild Woonsocket; has worked many different jobs in his career, including as a developer at an engineering company, an intern at the RIDOT, a researcher/assistant in multiple research labs, a writing tutor, a columnist for The Woonsocket Call and Motif Magazine, a canvasser to small businesses in North Smithfield, and a Woonsocket City Council member.
Education: Woonsocket High School Class of 2010; Boston University Class of 2014, bachelor’s in electrical engineering, concentrating in energy technologies; Brown University Class of 2016, master’s in chemical engineering.
Community activities/public service: Active member of Sunrise Providence; Black Lives Matter RI PAC Advisory Committee; Woonsocket-based WATCH Coalition; RI Queer PAC Advisory Committee; Climate Action RI; the R.I. Political Cooperative; Woonsocket Democratic City Committee; actively supports charity and mutual aid work done by a number of Woonsocket-based organizations; has been involved with the Autumnfest Steering Committee, Downtown Woonsocket Collaborative, Rhode Islanders for Reform, and one of core organizers in the 2021 #SleepOutRI protest; worked for a number of progressive political campaigns.
Family: Family is deeply important, says Kithes, who acted as one of the primary caretakers for both of my grandparents in the last years of their lives; his grandfather died in 2020 and his grandmother a few months ago; his parents, sister, and brother-in-law live in Woonsocket.