Brett Smiley Exploring A Run for Mayor of Providence

May 1, 2013

Fundraising specialist and lobbyist Brett Smiley is joining those looking at a run for mayor of Providence if Angel Taveras moves on next year.

"I am seriously exploring a race for mayor in 2014," Smiley tells RIPR. He says he has started meeting with people to talk about a possible run and plans to make a decision this summer about whether to move forward.

Smiley joins a growing list of prospective candidates. RIPR reported Saturday on how businessman and community activist Lorne Adrain is also looking at City Hall.

Smiley, a native of the Chicago area, came to Rhode Island to manage Democratic Lieutenant Governor Charles Fogarty's gubernatorial campaign in 2006 (Fogarty lost in a close contest with Republican Don Carcieri). Smiley decided to stay in the area after meeting the man who would become his husband, Jim DeRentis. He quickly established a niche in between raising money for then-Mayor David Cicilline and operating his own firm, Campaign Finance Officers, which performs accounting and campaign finance-compliance for campaigns. In February, Smiley's firm added a lobbying arm and changed its name to CFO Consulting Group.

Smiley is the current coordinator of government affairs for the City of Providence and the chair of the Providence Water Supply Board. He says pursuing the city's legislative objectives remains his top priority as he considers a possible run for City Hall.

Smiley, 34, points to how he's worked closely with Cicilline and Taveras, in explaining his interest in considering a campaign. He says he has the ability to implement an economic development plan and offers a multi-faceted perspective of the issues and challenges facing the city.

Taveras and state Treaurer Gina Raimondo appear headed to a Democratic primary clash for governor next year. Here's a rundown on the other prospective candidates for mayor, besides Smiley and Adrain:

-- City Council President Michael Solomon;

-- Three-time gubernatorial candidate Myrth York;

-- House Speaker Gordon Fox;

-- WPRO-AM talk-show host and former mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci;

-- Housing Court Judge and RWU Law School professor Jorge Elorza;

-- Central Falls educator Victor Capellan;

-- Ward 15 City Councilor Sabina Matos;

-- Education activist Maryellen Butke;

-- State Representative and former longtime City Councilor John Lombardi;

-- Meeting Street CEO and former state rep candidate John Kelly