Congressman David Cicilline thinks House Speaker Gordon Fox, his friend and political ally, could do a "terrific" job as the mayor of Providence, if Angel Taveras seeks a different office next year.
During a taping of RIPR's Political Roundtable, Cicilline was asked about indications he's been urging Fox to run for City Hall. (The segment airs Friday at 5:40 and 7:40 am.) Here's Cicilline's initial response:
"I'm a huge fan of the speaker. I think if he decided to run for mayor, he would be terrific. I think this all getting way ahead of itself. I don't think there's been a decision made, at least that we heard of, from the current mayor, who is doing, obviously, a great job. But I think Speaker Fox is talented and smart, and I think he'd do a great job."
Although Cicilline briefly denied calling Fox to boost a possible mayoral campaign, the second-term congressman added:
"Look, Gordon's my friend. I've told him on many occasions that I think he'd be a great mayor. I don't know that he has any interest in it at all. But I think he has skills that would make him a terrific mayor."
Fox declined comment through his spokesman, Larry Berman.
Taveras and state Treasurer Gina Raimondo are expected to take part in a fierce Democratic primary for governor next year. Democrats haven't held the governor's office since after Bruce Sundlun won a second two-year term in 1992.
The floating of a possible Fox candidacy for mayor of Providence comes as the politically important East Side has yet to rally around a candidate, as I reported in my TGIF column last week. Myrth York's name has also surfaced in the chatter. The 2014 field for mayor, should Taveras run for governor, could include City Council President Michael Solomon, educator Victor Capellan, and Ward 15 councilor Sabina Matos. Other possible candidates include Housing Court Judge Jorge Elorza.
Solomon has been actively working to make inroads on the East Side and the also-politically important South Side, touting himself in daily meetings as a partner with Taveras in bringing Providence back from a surprise $110 million deficit that emerged in early 2011.