Businessman and community activist Lorne Adrain on Monday formally entered the race for mayor of Providence, saying he'd try to move the city forward through a combination of partnerships, problem-solving and perseverance.
Adrain announced his run at the Friendship Cafe, an eatery operated by the Amos House shelter and whose staff includes formerly homeless individuals. He says he chosen the location as a sign of his commitment to the people of Providence.
The second of eight children born to Canadian immigrants, Adrain, 60, grew up in Warwick, went to Harvard Business School and later married writer Ann Hood. He makes his home with his family in Fox Point and works as the managing director of Ballentine Partners, a financial advisory firm based in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Adrain cited his support for in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants, in his former role as chairman of the Board of Governors for Higher Education, as a signature stance.
"My family and I received vile and threatening messages," Adrain says. "But I pushed forward. I encouraged my board to stand for justice and opportunity and I was proud to see them vote, one by one, in a unanimous decision to keep hope alive in our community by making in-state tuition available to undocumented children."
When Stanford University passed on considering using some of the former I-195 land, Adrain says, he helped encourage partnership talks between a Chinese technology university, Tsinghua University, and URI's Graduate School of Oceanography.
A group of more than 35 supporters attended Adrain's announcement. The Democratic candidate joins announced candidates Michael Solomon, Brett Smiley, Jorge Elorza, and Christopher Young, along with Republican Daniel Harrop. State Rep John Lombardi and Buddy Cianci are also considering a run.
Adrain says he plans to release in coming months "a detailed economic plan to make Providence a place where our best and brightest will want to stay."
In talking with reporters, Adrain says he'll need about $600,000 to $800,000 to run an effective campaign. While Solomon has a strong fundraising lead in the race, Adrain says he doesn't believe there's a front-runner in the contest.