Farina set to launch mayoral bid

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The “worst kept secret in Cranston” will soon be officially out in the open.

City Council President Michael Farina is set to launch his campaign for mayor during a gathering Jan. 14 at Twin Oaks.

“You’re invited to join Council President Michael Farina along with #TeamFarina as he makes a formal announcement for his 2020 campaign,” reads a description for a Facebook event to which the Herald received an invitation.

It adds: “Please join us in unveiling the worst kept secret in Cranston.”

The same message and invitation was later issued through an email from Cranston Republican City Committee Chairman Chris Buonanno.

After Monday’s meeting of the council’s Safety Services & Licensing and Finance committees, Farina declined to discuss the nature of the announcement further.

But based on his past statements and the clear allusion in the announcement of the coming week’s event, he remains focused on succeeding Mayor Allan Fung in the city’s top job.

Farina, employed as an executive with CVS, is currently serving in his fourth term on the council, having first been elected in 2012. He was the top citywide vote-getter in three of his four races, finishing just behind Steve Stycos – a Democrat and former Ward 1 councilman who is also considering a mayoral bid – for the top spot in 2018.

Farina was first elected as a Democrat, but switched parties ahead of the 2016 election. At the time, he said his move would “affect the political landscape of Cranston immediately and for years to come” and that he planned “on eventually running for mayor and leading this city on a higher level.”

Republicans won a majority on the council in 2016, and Farina was subsequently chosen as council president. He has retained that post in the current term, with the GOP holding a 5-4 edge on the council.

Farina will become the first announced candidate to succeed Fung, who is departing after more than a decade in office due to term limits. Others have acknowledged they are considering a bid, and the field could prove crowded for both parties.

On the Republican side, potential candidates include Ward 5 Councilman Chris Paplauskas, former councilman Jim Donahue and Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, the mayor’s wife. GOP Citywide Councilman Ken Hopkins considered a mayoral bid before announcing he would instead seek re-election to his current post.

On the Democratic side, The Public Radio’s Ian Donnis recently reported that former councilwoman Maria Bucci has filed paperwork to establish a mayoral campaign. There has yet to be a formal announcement, and a message recently left at a number listed for Bucci was not immediately returned.

State Rep. Charlene Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston), who serves as deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, previously told the Herald she is considering a run for mayor.

Last month, WPRI’s Ted Nesi reported that Lima recently sent a letter to members of the Cranston Democratic City Committee urging them to select their candidate through a “deliberate and thoughtful process once all potential candidates are known.”

In addition to Stycos, former mayor Michael Napolitano previously acknowledged mulling a 2020 campaign, although he said he is considering other offices as well.

Comments

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Joe B

Wow it looks like it’s going to be a loaded primary for both parties. I really hope Chris Paplauskas runs. Seeing him out in the community and on social media has shown how much pride he has for the city of Cranston. I think he shares a very similar vision to Mayor Fung and will continue the growth we saw in the city over the last decade.

Friday, January 10
Richard

Based on the list seems like Farina is a strong candidate. Only one of the group that has run city wide so that will be an advantage and his experience seems to be much greater than the rest of the people mentioned. He also seems to be the best equipped to lead but I would like to hear more about his policies.

Sunday, January 12
Crystal

Whoever is the next Mayor they have huge shoes to fill. Mayor Fung has been a terrific Mayor. I don't know much about this Farina person. I don't see him much out in the community. I want someone who is totally dedicated to the city and will be out in the community every day. I have heard and met Chris Paplauskas a few times. He does a lot for the community. He is someone that looks like he would be similar to Mayor Fung. I will be looking to see who Mayor Fung endorses before I vote. I think most Cranston residents rather have Mayor Fung back again.

Monday, January 13
Robert

For the Team Paplauskas people posting here he can’t be the next Mayor. He may be a great councilman but Mayor is a different role you need to be a leader and he is not. Of all the people mentioned the only ones with a business background are Donahue or Farina. You need to be more that a good person in the community to be the Mayor you need to be an expert at managing people and budgets. Alan Fung was a great Mayor, dare I saw the best Mayor. I would hope he endorse the most qualified candidate not his better friend.

Monday, January 13
KimLorene

Not sure how I feel about this. I generally don't like when people switch political parties. And, I have been at city council meetings where I disagree with Michael Farina's opinions. I'd like to see what Paplauskas brings to the table.

And, Charlene Lima...please just go away.

And, as much as I admire and like Mayor Fung, the thought of his wife as mayor makes my stomach turn.

5 days ago
Steph

Farina had over 300 at his announcement and looks ready for a challenge and based on pictures I saw on FB he is the one to beat.

3 days ago
Diane

Steph there was not 300 people there, also when you take away the political people in the room and the family there was not many people there. Plus its not hard to grab a crowd when there is free food and no ticket price to get in. Most people can get a few hundred people into 1 room with free food and no admission fee. I am a republican and I won't be voting for Farina since he switched from democrat to republican. I will be looking for a true republican.

3 days ago
Steph

Well I was there and there were very few politicians and lots of regular people. Biggest crowd people ever saw at the Oaks.

2 days ago