EAST PROVIDENCE — The first of his counterparts to do so formally, Mayor Jim Briden has announced his intention to seek re-election to the East Providence City Council from Ward 1 in the fall of 2014.
Mr. Briden, the Council President and former City Solicitor, cruised into office as a first-time candidate in the 2012 General Election, defeating long-time pol Ed Lynch for the Council spot representing the Rumford section of the city.
“I believe that I have remained true to the objectives that I enumerated during the last election. This has included keeping property taxes down, freezing the phasing out of the homestead exemption, and adhering to the city’s multi-year budget plan,” Mr. Briden said.
Upon taking office, Mr. Briden was chosen Council President/Mayor by his peers, gaining the gavel and the then spot on the state appointed Budget Commission. He served on the Commission for the last 10 months of what became its 21-month stay guiding the city out of financial duress.
“Our city has achieved fiscal stability. In 2013, Standard & Poor’s increased the city’s bond rating five levels higher from ‘BB+ to ‘A’. This means that the City of East Providence now has an investment grade credit rating. During this same period, there has also been significant capital investment in our city,” Mr. Briden said.
He continued, “As Mayor, I have strived to improve the image of our governing body by prioritizing in a way that results in the Council devoting more time to the most important issues and by promoting an environment of greater civility and professionalism.”
The 2014 election will be the first in which Councilors are elected to serve four-year terms, per a Charter change approved by voters in 2012. In addition, it’s possible the current Council could propose another significant Charter change for the November ballot, a switch to a strong mayor form of government from East Providence’s current manager system.
“Saying less, listening more, relaxing the rules a bit, and rarely using the gavel creates a more relaxed environment where there is better discussion and flow of ideas. I try to be a resource to other members of the Council in a way that exemplifies a real team effort and serves our city well,” Mr. Briden concluded. “Notwithstanding the very important issues that we must work on in 2014, the City of East Providence is moving in the right direction.”
While being the first to do so with a formal statement, Mr. Briden is not alone in running for re-election. During a recent Council meeting, Ward 4 representative Chrissy Rossi noted her intention to again seek office.