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Nathan Biah has already made a difference as a Principal and State Representative. With your support, he can do even more as our next State Senator. #BiahWinner

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Meet Nathan Biah

Nathan Biah is a refugee, an educator, and a proud husband and father. He grew up in Liberia but was forced to flee his native country during their Civil War, walking barefoot to a refugee camp in the Ivory Coast before coming to Providence as a refugee.

 

Even though Nathan had graduated from Liberia’s most prestigious high school, he had to get a GED before attending Rhode Island College. While he was pursuing his education, Nathan worked the night shift at Worcester Textile Company and attended classes during the day. During that same time, Nathan finally got back in touch with his mother, who had stayed in Liberia throughout the country’s civil war. She cried with joy upon learning that her son was not only alive, but thriving in the United States.

After graduating from Rhode Island College, Nathan worked as a substitute teacher before becoming a full-time math teacher and working at schools throughout Providence. He was selected for a program to help the best teachers in the city become administrators, including a scholarship to earn a Master’s Degree in Education. 

 

Nathan then became the Principal of Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School. As principal, he introduced workforce development for students to prepare them for college or a good-paying career in the skilled trades.

 

In 2020, Nathan ran for State Representative and was elected with an overwhelming majority, earning almost two-thirds of the vote despite running against an incumbent. In the legislature, he focused on the same issues he saw as a principal — Teacher Certification, Gun Safety, Housing, Mental Health, Civics Education and Financial Literacy.

 

Nathan is also a proud father of three and loving husband to his wife Thumbalina. He wants to make sure Providence remains the kind of city where his children can find work and raise a family. 

Issues

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Good Public Education

Nathan Biah’s highest priority is giving every child access to a good, public education. As a teacher and high school principal, he has seen firsthand how education changes lives and creates opportunity. That was true even before Nathan came to the United States, when he saw his mother work long hours in one of the world’s poorest countries so he could attend high school. In the State Senate, Nathan will fight to put education funding in the hands of principals and teachers. The people dealing with students every day know where money will make a difference and what new programs are needed. Nathan will also advocate for more diversity among teachers and administrators — especially the high-level administrators who have to be approved by the State Senate. Academic studies have confirmed that students do best with a diverse faculty who understand the challenges facing children. Finally, Nathan will work to expand services to address some of the reasons children struggle in school. That includes: making sure every student can access qualified mental health counseling; increasing funding for athletics and extracurriculars so students are more engaged in their school community; and expanding access to free school lunches so no family is choosing between lunch and paying their bills.

Public Safety

Nathan Biah knows that public safety is about more than crime statistics — it’s about people feeling safe in their home and on the street. Crime hurts the Providence economy because it scares away tourists. It hurts children whose families have to choose between letting them play outside and being exposed to danger. Most of all it hurts families and communities when friends and loved ones are victims of gun violence. The simplest way to reduce violent crime is getting illegal guns out of the hands of criminals. Nathan will support laws that strengthen penalties for illegal gun possession, make sure that anyone who commits a crime with a gun goes to prison, and require legal gun owners to properly secure their firearms so they aren’t easily stolen. Additionally, Nathan will support fully funding our police departments so they have the personnel, training, and equipment needed to keep us safe. He will also support holding police officers accountable when they act unprofessionally.

Jobs and the Economy

Too often, politicians think that creating jobs means giving away tax dollars to big corporations and rich investors. Nathan Biah will prioritize workers when he votes on economic development issues. Every tax dollar that goes to subsidizing developments like the Superman Building is a dollar taken away from our schools, roads, police, and first responders. Nathan supports increasing funding for job training programs, especially programs for older workers looking to transition into a higher paying industry. He will also support growing the “Blue Economy,” which uses the ocean to create jobs in offshore wind, aquaculture, and tourism. Finally, he will make sure that the new penalties for wage theft are strictly enforced, so exploited employers are punished for stealing from their workers.

Providence City Budget

The state of Rhode Island plays a major role in the Providence city budget. Specifically, the state reimburses the city when they lose property tax revenue because buildings are owned by the state or nonprofits like hospitals and colleges. The reimbursement rate is, on average, 27%. Nathan would support increasing it to match Connecticut’s 45% reimbursement for state owned property and 77% reimbursement for property owned by nonprofits. Nathan also supports fixing the school funding formula so Providence gets its fair share. Providence loses far more money to charter schools than most districts. The formula also needs to take into account the need for wraparound services in urban districts.

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