Selfies and politics with the 3 mayoral candidates

Providence has seen better days, and the three mayoral candidates know it. Regardless of the outcome of the election, it’s very clear that the winner’s term in office will be geared towards fixing the city’s unemployment problem and stimulating the growth of small businesses. How they plan on doing that differs on technicalities, but as of now, Jorge Elorza (D) leads the polls 10 points ahead of political legend, Buddy Cianci (I). I was fortunate enough to “meet” the three candidates, and even though our interactions were not very politically focused, I did pick up on a few key traits of their’s that may or may not be relevant to your decision in the voting booth tomorrow.

Jorge Elorza (D)

Elorza, the frontrunner, had a hot date at Sakura on Friday, September 26th. I was out celebrating my birthday, and couldn’t help but notice he was nearby. He was nice enough to dish out a hand shake and a smile, but it was immediately very clear that the lady came first. After he made it obvious that he wanted his privacy, I had to take this stealth selfie (stelfie?) as evidence.

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Elorza runs under the mantra of giving back to the community and public school system that lifted him from poverty and turned him into the judge and law professor he is today. He plans on making every school a community center during evenings, weekends, and summers in order to bring neighborhood residents together in an educational environment. He also wants to make sure small business owners and entrepreneurs have the confidence to move forward with their plans, assuring them that the days of corruption in the city are over. In a recent Halloween visit to Providence, President Obama endorsed the democratic candidate. He believes Elorza will “create a transparent and friendly government and business climate to spur innovation and entrepreneurship.” Despite the commander-in-chief’s approval, there are those who have their doubts about the 37-year-old bachelor’s lack of experience in public office. With that said, as a judge, he’s proven himself to be rather fearless, even going after the presidents of companies like Deutsche Bank and Bank of America for abandoning properties in Providence. 

Vincent “Buddy” Cianci (I)

I met Buddy at an event about a month ago, and I will admit that in the moment I was totally charmed. The guy was unexpectedly one of the friendliest people I’d ever met, and was more than willing to make this legendary snapchat possible.

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Buddy ol’ pal, the veteran in this election, definitely has the most experience. He’s been Mayor of Providence twice before and is often credited with turning what was once an industrial New England shantytown into the bustling metropolis we live in and love today. Despite his success in office, he had to resign both times due to felony charges. First, he faced assault charges for attacking his wife’s suspected lover, and then in 2002, he was convicted on a count of racketeering for running PCity Hall like a “criminal enterprise.” Since his release, he’s made a strong attempt to show voters that he has cleaned up his act, even though there are currently whispers of mail ballot fraud on behalf of his campaign. Now, after working as a pasta sauce salesman and a radio host, he seeks to continue his undefeated mayoral election record. His political aims for the city don’t differ dramatically from his democratic opponent’s. He outlines five things he believes a mayor must provide for his city: safety, good education, affordable housing, jobs, and diverse culture. But some of his plans have been heavily scrutinized. For example, his waterfront plan has made some voters worry that if elected, he will jeopardize the city’s power source.  

Daniel Harrop (R)

Harrop stopped by the Brown-Harvard tailgate and stood guard over the Sigma Chi keg. Now I’m not sure if he was too drunk to know I was there taking this picture, or if I was too drunk to realize he knew I was taking it, but either way he was pretty cool about it.

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Despite a poor showing in the most recent polls (3%), Harrop, a Brown alum, is running a hard economic campaign in hopes of balancing the city’s budget. To do so, he has pledged to raise enough money to invest in employment and education without a single tax increase. How will he do it? Harrop says that the $1.2 billion the city spends on pensions and benefits is “exorbitant” and “handed out like candy.” He plans to reallocate that spending where he sees fit to stimulate the city’s economy.

[UPDATE: The republican candidate, Harrop, just remarked that he is going to vote for Elorza tomorrow.]

There you have it. Get to the polls. Or don’t. If you do, hopefully you feel a little more informed.
Images via Zach Fredericks ’17. 
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