EAST PROVIDENCE — In a surprising twist, Mayor and East Providence City Council President James Briden announced Monday morning, March 31, he had changed his mind and will not run for re-election in the fall.
Mr. Briden, the Ward 1 representative on the Council, had previously said he in fact he would run for what would have been a second term in November. He did so in a press release about six weeks ago.
However, Mr. Briden noted some recent changes to his professional life that he now says will preclude him from running for re-election this time around.
“After further consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election for Ward 1 City Council,” Mr. Briden wrote in a prepared statement.
“My law firm will now be requiring a greater time commitment from me than before and this has recently become a transitional year for me professionally,” the statement continued. “In addition to having an increasingly busier practice, I am now managing the firm.
“For these reasons, it will not be possible for me to devote time to a campaign this year.”
The departure of Mr. Briden, an attorney at the Pawtucket-based firm of Blais Cunningham & Crowe Chester, LLP, from the election leaves wide open a race in Ward 1 where he was expected to have little to no real competition for the seat he claimed with a relatively easy victory over veteran pol Ed Lynch back in 2012.
It also means the Council will need to select a new president/mayor once the November election is complete. The start of the 2014 term coincides with the beginning of the Council’s new four-year terms of service.
Before he leaves, Mr. Briden will likely shepherd the Council through the process of selection a new and permanent City Manager and possibly initiate a ballot referendum in regard to changing East Providence’s form of government to a strong mayor set-up.
“This is not an easy decision for me to make,” Mr. Briden’s statement concluded. “I enjoy serving on the Council and will continue to work diligently for the remainder of my term.”