Who Is Cyd McKenna?


A Daughter of Providence

Born in Providence, Cyd is the daughter of the late Len Anderson (a beloved and respected community advocate in South Providence throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s) and Susan Anderson (a former development officer at a number of New England universities and institutions).

This Providence native is a graduate of Hope High school who has a strong track record of building inclusive communities. Cyd is passionate about making city government work for everyone, she wants to represent Ward 13 on the Providence City Council because she believes that an excellent quality of life is not a privilege, but a right for all Ward 13 residents.  

An Advocate for the City

Cyd has a strong background in urban planning and public policy.  She holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from San Francisco State University, a Masters in City Planning from MIT, and a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She's an avid urbanist with a deep appreciation for historic preservation and well-thought out economic development. And while she has spent the last 20 years working in urban policy and planning, Cyd has also enjoyed the city from a personal perspective as a parent, a city employee, a small business owner, and most recently, as the Chief of Staff for the Providence City Council. 

While at the Council, Cyd was a vital advocate for the creation of progressive and sensible legislation with the community in mind.  Examples include:

  • The Providence Community Police Relations Act
  • Increasing enforcement of ATV and dirt bike use on city streets
  • Stricter controls for the city’s Board of Licenses
  • Regulations to crack down on illegal dog breeding
  • Securing funds for neighborhood infrastructure projects, school building, and public safety improvements
  • Negotiating fair leases on city buildings to outside investors.  

Committed to the Ward

Cyd has always considered Providence home. She bought her house in the 13th Ward in 1999 and returned there in 2014. Cyd has a unique opportunity to synthesize the knowledge and relationships she developed as Chief of Staff with the ideas and philosophies she gained while living in major urban centers like Boston, Raleigh/Durham, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. These combined experiences will allow this city native to vigorously advocate for her neighbors and friends in the collective Ward 13 community as their representative on the Providence City Council.


A Message to Ward 13


Dear Neighbor,

My name is Cyd McKenna, and I’m running to be your next Councilwoman in Ward 13. I’m running because we need a strong advocate on the council to represent our voices in city government, and I’m passionate, experienced and ready to hit the ground running in that role.

I bought my house near St. Mary’s Church in 1999. Since then, I’ve raised two boys here, owned a small business here, and worked for the City of Providence in various capacities. While I’ve left a couple of times to pursue school or work opportunities, these travels have only made me better suited to give back to the capital city that I call home.

I’m a graduate of Hope High School. I earned my BA in Urban Studies from San Francisco State University. Later in life, as a single mother raising two boys, I earned a Masters in City Planning from MIT and a Masters in Education from Harvard. Balancing family with a rigorous academic program was no easy task, but hard work isn’t something I shy away from. My work ethic and commitment to community are lessons I learned from my parents.

My dad, Len Anderson, grew up African American in the Jim Crow south where segregationist laws prevented him from getting much of a formal education. Despite this, his drive and will led him to earn a Masters Degree from Harvard at age 47. He worked as a community organizer and advocate in South Providence in the late 1960’s and 70’s, and that’s where he met my mother, Susan, who was working as a VISTA volunteer.

My parents had an interracial marriage, and they raised my sister, Ina, and me to value social justice and advocacy. Providence was the perfect place to learn these lessons; growing up I saw the important work they did in the community, and the work that still needs to be done. These values remain at the core of my being.