No rush for Taveras on 2014 decision; praises Chafee, CastroSeptember 7th, 2012 at 5:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras says he’ll probably wait until “late next year” to make a decision about whether to run for governor in 2014, and admits his relationship with Governor Chafee could factor into his thinking.
“I’ll have time to think about that in the future, and I’ll think about that in the future. But we have a lot to do in Providence,” Taveras told WPRI.com Thursday in a phone interview from Charlotte, N.C., where he was attending the Democratic National Convention. Pressed on when he’d do that thinking, the mayor said, “Sometime next year – late next year I would assume.”
Taveras said he remains focused on repairing Providence’s finances, which he characterized as “improving but still challenging.” He indicated he may announce a deal with Providence College to increase its payments to the city “in the coming weeks,” having reached agreements with Providence’s other tax-exempt institutions.
“I think a lot of elected officials are focusing too much on what’s next and they forget about what they need to do now – I don’t want that to happen to me,” Taveras said. “I want to focus on doing a good job in the city of Providence.”
Chafee has indicated he plans to run for reelection in 2014, though his dismal approval ratings have stirred doubts about whether he’ll actually do so. Taveras has a stronger relationship with the independent governor than another Democrat who may run in 2014, Treasurer Gina Raimondo.
“I think it’s no secret that I’ve been very supportive of the governor and that he’s been very supportive of the city,” the mayor said. “I recognize the support he’s given and I think we’ve been supportive of him, as well. But I’ll make a decision as to what I think is best overall and how I can best help, and we’ll figure that out in the future.”
Taveras was on hand Tuesday when Chafee delivered his prime-time address to the convention and sent the governor a text message immediately afterwards congratulating him on a job well done, and later told Chafee so in person.
“I thought he did very well,” Taveras said. “I thought the content of the speech was great, I thought his delivery was as good as I’ve ever seen him. … It was the best I’ve seen the governor do, in my opinion. I thought he did a really good job.”
The mayor described the convention experience as “a little bit of sensory overload,” and singled out as a highlight the keynote speech by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who – like Taveras – is a Latino, Harvard-educated, Gen-X city mayor.
“I think it was a truly wonderful speech about the American dream,” Taveras said. “I don’t think you have to be Latino to relate to it, but I agree with you. His story was one that really should touch people, because really it’s the story of our country – I certainly could relate to what he was saying and was very, very proud of him.”
Other highlights for Taveras – who flew back to Providence on Thursday afternoon after appearing on a panel with two other mayors – included the speeches by first lady Michelle Obama and former President Clinton, as well as a surprise exchange with NBC’s David Gregory (whom the mayor described as “very, very nice” and also “very tall”).
“One of the things I really have enjoyed is when I look around and just see the diversity of the crowd and the diversity of the delegates and the diversity of the Democrats,” he said. “It makes me feel very good – very proud to be a Democrat.” Taveras also attended the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
• Related: Raimondo, Taveras square off on pensions at rival DNC panels (Sept. 5)