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Mayoral candidate Brett Smiley weighs in on police reform, Providence’s economic potential

Raymond Baccari

Anchor Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE, R.I., — In an interview with Anchor Staff Writer Raymond Baccari earlier this month, 2022 Providence Mayoral candidate Brett Smiley weighed in on a variety of topics including why he is running for mayor as well as expressing his view on a number of key issues facing the city.

Smiley, who had previously served as Director of Administration for the State of Rhode Island and Chief of Staff for former-Governor Gina Raimondo said Providence’s potential is one of the things that inspired him to run for mayor. He said, “Providence has all the ingredients to be a world-class city. We have incredible diversity, amazing world-class restaurants, the quality of life here, historic architecture, world-class universities, a deep-sea port. And yet it always feels like that we are just out of reach in being able to actualize that potential and status as a world-class city.”

Smiley continued, “I’m running this year to refocus on the basics and the core quality of life issues, the neighborhood issues, and I think that my experience in both city and state government bring me to the table with a different set of skills and qualifications where I think I can effectively get the job done and get it done better than the other people thinking who are thinking about running.”

Smiley also talked about what issues he plans to highlight in his campaign saying, “It’s critical we address these core city services like the quality of our infrastructure, roads, sewers, [fixing] potholes, things that frustrate families on a day-to-day basis. [Cleaning] graffiti, [addressing] the atv and motorbike issue, all of these things that just make it harder to live in Providence.” He stated, “Additionally, I intend to focus on the changes underway in our public school system. Getting the public education system right for families in Providence is critical, that’s the future of our city, and probably the top concern of most families.”

Smiley also wants to address the financial problems the city has undertaken as well as thinking about job growth and economic development.

One issue covered in the interview was the topic of the push to defund the police in cities across the country. Smiley does not support reduction in the police force, but supports the idea of utilizing the police resources to send the appropriate response to every crisis call (i.e. sending a public health or social service worker for someone suffering from an addiction or mental health crisis).

Smiley said, “I would personally not cut the police budget. Fiscal responsibility, economic growth, tax policy, and all these other things that I’m passionate about all have to do with growing the size of the pie for Providence’s budget, to allow for these additional resources to meet the needs of the people in Providence and Providence residents in crisis.”

Smiley further explained while not reducing the police department’s budget he also wants to look broadly at public safety and add resources to meet the city’s needs such as invest in healthy and productive things for young people to do like summer jobs programs, paid internships, and recreation centers and leagues.

Additionally, Smiley also spoke about other key topics going into the 2022 election cycle such as economic development, infrastructure, the city’s roads, the expansion of charter schools, the state takeover of the public school system, the city’s status as a sanctuary city, analyzing the Mayoral election’s landscape, Mayor Elorza’s plan to make the first steps toward implementing reparations, and Eloza’s plan to launch a guaranteed basic income program for residents.

Smiley also spoke with Baccari about non-political topics such as what he thinks Rhode Island is best known for.

To view the full interview, visit



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