slides: Buddy’s Former Staff Members: Where Are They Now?
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Cianci’s legacy has carried forward, with former staff graduating to posts ranging from federal prisoner to the staff of a U.S. Senator.
GoLocalProv contacted former members of the Cianci administration and political reporters from the Cianci era in an attempt to locate former Cianci staff members and get a sense for Cianci’s chances for a third go-around.
(see the slideshow below for information on where former Cianci staff members are now)
Cianci is Back
Charlie Bakst, the influential political reporter and columnist for the Providence Journal for decades, told GoLocalProv that electing Cianci a third time would be a huge mistake for the city.
“If he should run again, and certainly if he won, Rhode Island and Providence would become a laughingstock,” Bakst said. “I like to think that people shudder at that possibility.”
Artin Coloian is Cianci’s former chief of staff, and still talks with Cianci on a daily basis. He says anyone with negative feelings towards Cianci is misguided.
“Buddy left the city much better off than when he got here,” Coloian said. “I think people respect him for that, and that’s why so many people are clamoring for him to run for mayor again.”
One person who is not surprised by Cianci’s reclaimed popularity is Mike Stanton, author of the “The Prince of Providence.”
“Buddy has always been a big personality,” Stanton said. “I don’t think anyone is surprised he did a talk show.”
Jim Taricani covered both of Cianci’s tenures, and the former investigative reporter for Channel 10 thinks Cianci is “absolutely a contender” if he decides to run for mayor again.
“It’s kind of typical of him. He’s got this uncanny ability to, no matter what the adversity is, he bounces back from it,” Taricani said. “When he says he loves this city I do believe he loves this city.”
Opinions are mixed as to whether Cianci will run for mayor again. When Colonian was asked if a Cianci candidacy would be enough to get him back into politics, he played along.
“I’ll cross that bridge if I get there,” Coloian said with a chuckle.
Note: Bakst told GoLocalProv he is endorsing Brett Smiley for Mayor.
Related Slideshow: Buddy’s Former Staff Members: Where Are They Now?
Michael Van Leesten
Role: Director of Administration
Presently: Executive Director of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers of Rhode Island and a member of the I-195 Commission, Chairman of the Providence Black Repertory Company, President of the Van Leesten Group.
Picture from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0BhQvwDk8U
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