Barbara Ann Fenton is not ruling out a run to succeed her husband, Allan Fung, as mayor of Cranston.
Appearing last week on the “Political Roundtable” program on The Public’s Radio with Ian Donnis, Fenton said rumors about a potential 2020 bid for mayor “started flying” around the holidays.
“At first we kind of got a good giggle out of it. And then it kind of persisted. So we’ve talked a lot about what our future is going to be, and what Cranston’s future [is going to be],” she said.
She later added: “Am I thinking about running? The idea of it is wonderful, and I think most people are right that one day I will get into politics. Right now, we’re trying to balance kind of what we’re going to look at from a family perspective and what makes sense. Allan’s being recruited by several different places, and we just want to be sure before we make that commitment that we’re going to be here and living in that home in Cranston.”
Fenton, who was raised in Middletown and works as a physical therapist, has long been active in Republican politics. Fung, a Republican who has served as mayor since 2009, is prevented from seeking reelection due to term limits. He will leave office in January 2021.
Fung has previously alluded to exploring his next opportunity but declined to discuss specifics. He is thought to be eying a third run for governor in 2022 and has not ruled out that possibility. In June, he received the state Ethics Commission’s blessing to serve as a fill-in talk radio host on WPRO.
During Fenton’s “Political Roundtable” appearance, she said Fung’s recruiters include private businesses, nongovernmental organizations and higher education institutions.
“There’s a lot of people that have a lot of interest,” she said.
On Twitter, Fung highlighted a link to Fenton’s appearance on The Public’s Radio.
“Proud husband alert,” he wrote. “Since BA sat in on the local NPR station’s political round table last week, we have been inundated with kind words about her future.”
With the mayor’s office becoming open for the first time in more than a decade, the names of a number of potential candidates have been floated on both the Republican and Democratic sides.
Republican City Council President Michael Farina has all but confirmed his intention to run for mayor. Other potential GOP hopefuls include Ward 5 Councilman Chris Paplauskas and former councilman Jim Donahue.
In April, Republican Citywide Councilman Ken Hopkins said he will opt against a bid for mayor in 2020 and instead focus on running for reelection and seeking the presidency of the City Council.
On the Democratic side, potential candidates include state Rep. Charlene Lima, Citywide Councilman Steve Stycos and former mayor Michael Napolitano.