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Political Profile: Diana Garlington, candidate for State Representative in District 5

Saturday August 20, 2022

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Diana Garlington is a Democratic candidate for state representation in District 5. Here’s what she has to say.

1. What do you think is the biggest political issue this campaign season in Rhode Island?


The biggest political issue this season is still Covid-19. The ongoing pandemic has only exacerbated the inequities that Rhode Islanders face on a daily basis – affordable housing, gun violence, discrimination, job loss, long-term health issues and having to reinvent a new way of life.

2. What should we do to improve Rhode Island’s economy?

I believe there are two simple ways to improve Rhode Island’s economy. (1) Adoption of internal bill H7440. It’s time for the top 1% of Rhode Islanders to pay their fair share. Studies have shown that passing this bill would create $144.5 million in new revenue for our state. (2) Hold non-exempt institutions in Providence, EX: Brown University, accountable.

3. What is the biggest challenge facing Rhode Island as a state?

Affordable Housing ~ Families are burdened with costs. They spend more than 30% of their income on housing. We need to provide tax breaks and incentives so our developers can produce more affordable housing and revitalize our neighborhoods

4. Why are you standing for election? What makes you particularly qualified?

I am running for office because I have been a persistent voice in the community and at the Statehouse on the issue of gun violence. Since the murder of my daughter, Essence T. Christal, I have worked alongside leaders and activists maintaining a constant presence in my community to make it safer and more equitable. I am the candidate who has the experience.

5. Who is your inspiration?

Women! Especially women of color who possess the same qualities as me. They found ways to overcome exclusion, racial and ethnic discrimination, prejudice, unfair wages and to express their rights to make decisions for their well-being.


Diana Garlington is a 54-year-old Providence resident who was born and raised in Washington Park. She had the chance to live with her two parents, her 4 brothers and a sister. She is the mother of one son and three daughters. Diana is the author of “She Wasn’t the One,” a community activist, speaker, and certified life coach. She was named a 2019 Survivor Fellow for Moms Demand Action and RI Survivor Membership Leader. Honored as a 2016 Hometown Hero, Community Impact Award recipient from the Nonviolence Institute and Ida B. Wells from the NAACP. In her daughter Esscence T. Christal’s legacy, she founded the young women’s empowerment program Esscence T. Christal, and in her latest collaboration with Moms Demand Action, Safer Communities For Justice, which addresses the unsolved murders in Providence. She currently sits on the boards of RICAGV and One Gun Gone.

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