My name is Sue AnderBois, and I am running to be Ward 3’s next City Councilor. The Democratic primary is September 13, but I am reaching out early to introduce myself, my experience, and my values.
For the past decade I have been deeply involved in local work on climate resilience, food security, and community-scale economic development. My experience with grassroots organizations, state and national policy, and Providence city hall have led me to run for office. Our city faces systemic challenges that require listening to communities, building collaborative policy solutions, and advocating to create real change. I’ve done that work, and I want to channel my track record toward Providence’s future.
I have always had a lot of energy. I get that from my mom, Liz, who juggled multiple jobs as a nurse to support our family. She also taught me about sacrificing for what we love -- often working at night so she could care for me and my siblings during the day.
I also inherited tenacity. My grandmother came from Ukraine and raised six children in Newark. Growing up in a boisterous extended family in New Jersey, I learned to listen and how to speak up and be heard.
I found refuge in books that opened a world beyond my small town, and I found mentors at school. My public school teachers, like Mr. Tracey in AP U.S. History, encouraged my curiosity and my interest in social justice, suggesting summer programs and leadership roles in after-school activities.
And when a door opens, I go through. Al Elefante was my clarinet teacher, and my first job was cleaning instruments at his shop. I was a drum major in the marching band. I led the student environment club. I participated in mock state government. I graduated at the top of my class while working retail jobs to save for college.
The hard work paid off, and I became part of the first generation in my family to attend college. I came to New England to attend Dartmouth, and I loved it. I earned a BA in environmental studies and put my academics to use. I was a founder of the campus progressive group, helped campus dining increase purchasing from local farmers, and wrote for the alumni magazine. I took a full course load, worked part-time 20 hours a week, and never lost sight of how lucky I was to be there.
One winter day junior year I organized a group of friends to go ice skating. The temperature slipped below zero, so only two of us showed up -- and that’s how my husband, Scott, and I found ourselves on our first date. After graduation, we packed up Scott’s car and headed to California.
While Scott pursued his PhD in Linguistics, I interned for chef Alice Waters, a pioneer in the local food movement. Then I took an opportunity to work at the Energy Foundation for five years, which was the largest funder of climate advocacy in the U.S. and China. I also spent all my weekends volunteering at Hidden Villa, a farm and education center where Cesar Chavez had his first job.
In 2007 Scott and I got married – and Scott Anderson and Sue DuBois became the AnderBois family. We came back East when I was accepted to Yale’s MBA program; I had seen advocacy across the country succeed and fail, and I wanted to learn about effective operations and teams. About 10 years ago Scott was offered an amazing faculty job at Brown, and we moved to Providence. We share our little house on Fifth Street with two tuxedo cats and a very extroverted dog, Captain Ruggles.
To learn about Providence, I volunteered with local organizations from the moment I arrived. I was welcomed into an amazing community of advocates and activists, and I knew I was home.
Since then I’ve held jobs with the RI Office of Energy Resources, expanding access to rooftop solar and with the Northeast Clean Energy Council pushing for strong climate and renewable energy policy. I helped pass legislation that requires National Grid to source more electricity from wind and solar facilities.
In 2016 I became the first state Director of Food Strategy in the nation. Under Governor Raimondo I worked with state agencies and local organizations to create and implement a plan to holistically support our local food system. I launched the state’s first collaborative and systemic approach to addressing hunger, co-chairing RI’s Hunger Elimination Task Force with Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott. I helped simplify outdated policies holding back small food entrepreneurs. I made sure that the state understood why the Farm Fresh food hub could be a regional economic game changer. I helped connect local farmers and entrepreneurs to larger institutional buyers, like public schools, universities, and hospitals. Other governments have now followed our lead – Boston recently created an Office of Food Justice, and a former intern of mine just started at NYC’s Office of Urban Agriculture.
In 2019 I returned to climate advocacy as the Climate & Energy Program Manager at The Nature Conservancy. In this role I advocate for strong climate and energy policy at the state level – including helping to pass last year’s Act on Climate legislation. I also work with cities and towns to create concrete plans to increase their climate resilience.
I have also been active locally as a volunteer. For four years I chaired Providence’s Sustainability Commission, supporting the development of the city’s Climate Justice Plan. In this role, I worked with the city council, mayor’s office, the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee, and other municipal players. I helped advocate to make the Office of Sustainability a permanent part of our government. I have served on the boards of the RI Food Policy Council, Southside Community Land Trust, Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Farm Fresh RI and the state’s Energy Efficiency Council. Last year I was a founding board member for Local Return, a nonprofit that builds community wealth through local ownership and investment. During the pandemic, I volunteered through the Summit Neighborhood Association and the Mount Hope Community Center to deliver groceries to our neighbors.
I am deeply grateful to live in a community where so many work every day to make our city better. We need to tap into the talent of our residents, but the major challenges we face are systemic – we can’t solve them by acting alone. Our city’s finances, schools, food and housing insecurity, rising sea levels and climate pollution all require systems-level change. To me, that means we need to: (1) listen to the people directly impacted by those systems, (2) bring residents, elected officials and local organizations together to identify short-term and long-term solutions, (3) openly debate the trade-offs and costs, and (4) be ready to pressure our government to ensure that real change happens.
I am running for City Council to devote my skills and energy to addressing these systemic issues and advocating for investments in our neighborhoods. Next year our city will have a new mayor and potentially many new faces on the city council. I have witnessed how divisions across the council’s 15 wards and political jockeying have stalled good ideas over the years. To address our major challenges we need a responsive council that can work together, collaborate with the mayor’s team, and hold city government accountable for results. I am ready to take on those challenges on behalf of Ward 3.
I look forward to meeting you and hearing your ideas. For more information and to sign up for my newsletter, please go to SueAnderBois.com. I’ll be out knocking on doors, but you can also reach me at AnderBois.Ward3@gmail.com or 401-400-1014. If you see me walking Captain Ruggles, please say hello!
Experienced Advocate & Environmental Champion:
Served as nation's first Statewide Director of Food Strategy under Governor Gina Raimondo
Advocated for Act on Climate - landmark state climate legislation that passed in 2021
Helped pass Providence's Plastic Bag Ban
Helped pass state legislation expanding clean energy programs
Serves on Rhode Island's Energy Efficiency & Resource Management Council
Former Vice Chair of RI's Distributed Generation (Renewable Energy) Board
Created a new process when writing the State's Food Strategy - involving over 300 residents & creating inter-agency partnerships
While Chair of the PVD Sustainability Commission, worked to codify changes to membership to include residents from across the city, and include seats reserved for Youth & the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee
Co-Chaired & created Rhode Island's Hunger Elimination Task Force
Dedicated to Providence:
Chaired the Providence Sustainability Commission for 4 years
Worked with Council, Mayor's Team, and community to codify Climate Justice Plan into ordinance in Providence
Serves on boards of Southside Community Land Trust and Green Energy Consumers Alliance.
Founding member of the Local Return - dedicated to investing in local businesses and communities
Earth Day 2022 Short Doc on RI PBS about Sue's LIfe & Career
Fast Facts about Sue
How do you pronounce AnderBois?
Ander - Bwah
My husband & I made up our last name when we got married in 2007. We felt like we were making a new family and wanted our last name to reflect that. My pre-married name was DuBois; Scott’s was Anderson.
She grew up where?!
I grew up in a small town called New Providence, New Jersey. I was born in the town nextdoor - Summit, New Jersey. And now I live in the Summit neighborhood of Providence!