Another hopeful has announced plans to seek a seat on the City Council in next year’s election.
Matthew Reilly held a formal kickoff event for his bid to succeed Ward 6 Councilman Michael Favicchio on Tuesday at Brewed Awakenings on Pontiac Avenue.
Favicchio, a Republican who also serves as the council’s vice president, cannot run for re-election due to term limits. Reilly said his involvement – and planned candidacy on the GOP ticket – stems from a desire to continue the councilman’s work, as well as that of Mayor Allan Fung, who is also leaving office because of term limits.
“I just want to continue that legacy – continue the legacy of Allan Fung, continue the legacy of Mike Favicchio,” he said. “If they were still around and weren’t term limited, I wouldn’t be here … That’s all I’m looking to do, is maintain that vision and that progress.”
Reilly grew up in Cranston’s Garden City neighborhood, where he resides today with his wife and two children. He graduated from Cranston High School West in 1999 before earning a degree in business administration from George Washington University.
After college, Reilly spent several years in the real estate business, but ultimately chose to pursue a different path.
“I wanted something more,” he said.
He went back to school to earn his law degree, and has since found a niche in family law. At his Warwick-based firm Assalone & Associates – of which he was recently named a partner – he is involved in Family Court litigation and mediation across the state. He also frequently acts as court-appointed “guardian ad litem,” or advocate for the interests of children in particularly difficult custody cases.
“That’s what I really enjoy doing … If I hit the lottery, I would still go in every day. It’s awesome. I love my job,” he said.
Reilly said he has long been interested in politics and government – “Being a Rhode Islander, I’ve always kind of bitten by the bug” – and his path to political involvement began when Citywide Councilman Ken Hopkins first ran for office in 2016. He became involved with the Cranston Republican City Committee before expressing his interest in pursuing the Ward 6 seat.
Reilly praised Fung’s record as mayor, and said that if elected he intends to focus on preserving the city’s financial position and enhancing municipal services.
“What Allan Fung has done here the last 10 years, it’s been miraculous,” he said. “Cranston’s like the economic engine of the state right now. We have a state that’s circling the drain, but Cranston’s flourishing. And that’s because they stick to the fundamentals.”
Reilly said development is a “big issue” in Ward 6, and while projects like Chapel View have been positive for the ward and the city, city officials must ensure there is appropriate “oversight.”
“We cannot give [developers] a blank check. We cannot give them carte blanche … We have to have responsible development,” he said.
Ward 6 also houses the state-owned John O. Pastore Complex, and Reilly said if elected, he will seek to “leverage” the city’s relationship with local developers and the state in an effort to secure land at the complex for a new, state-of-the-art fire station and library.
His pitch, he said, would be centered on asking developers to give back to the community – and on pressing the state to do more for Cranston given the tax base that is lost to the Pastore Complex and the relatively low compensation the city receives through payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, funding.
“I have the skill set to do that,” he said, citing his work as a negotiator.
In terms of community involvement, Reilly is currently serving on the city’s Charter Review Commission. He also coaches youth sports in which his children are involved and is active at Garden City Elementary School.
Regarding his approach to the upcoming campaign, he said: “I’m going to get out there, talk to as many people as possible … I just want to do my part.”