Anchor Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE, R.I., — In an interview with Anchor Staff Writer Raymond Baccari earlier this month, Providence GOP Co-Chairs Dave Talan and William Ricci, spoke about a variety of topics including their plans for the 2022 elections in Providence.
Talan said the Providence GOP is focusing on the most pressing issues in the city.“Education is the biggest issue in the city of Providence. You have 10,000 students on a waiting list to try and get into a charter school to try and escape the traditional public schools, and the legislators are trying to take that opportunity away from them,” he explained.
“Another issue aside from education is public safety,” Talan explained. “We in the Republican Party want to fully fund the police and bring them up to full staff. Finances are another major issue. The city pension plan is basically bankrupt, $2 billion in debt, which would equal out to $12,000 for every man, woman, and child in the city. We have to put in $88 million a year to keep it from going even more bankrupt. That’s money that’s not available to fix potholes, paving the streets, hiring enough police officers, maintaining our parks, all the basic city services the people expect.”
“Our biggest focus is definitely school choice, whether that’s in the form of charter schools, it’s certainly the most pressing thing.” Ricci said. “We support the state takeover. Adding on to what Dave said, we want to control both taxes and spending, the tax base relies on a small number of people funding most city services. The city spends far beyond its means, whether it is unfunded pension obligations, or any other promises and goodies made to various union groups over the years. At some point, whether it is a formal bankruptcy proceeding or receivership, something is going to happen because the city just won’t be able to fund basic services.”
Ricci continued, “Other than that: Quality of life. We want Providence to be a nice place for all of its residents. We care about people who live here because we live here.”
Talan and Ricci also spoke about their plans for the 2022 elections in Providence.
“Providence has 13 State Representatives, and seven State Senators in addition to the 15 City Council members and the Mayor. We’re going to try and run as many candidates as we can and do anything we can for them.” Talan said. According to Talan, there are five term-limited City Council members and two wards where the Council person is not planning on running for re-election. These seats the Providence GOP sees as an opportunity for pick-up.
“It’s very likely that mail-in ballots will be a big factor. We’re definitely planning a mail-ballot operation,” Ricci said.
Both Ricci and Talan have no current plans to run a candidate for Mayor, but would back someone who matches their views if they were to announce.
Additionally, they said they plan to replicate what they did in 2020 by ensuring every eligible voter can vote should they feel compelled to. Furthermore, Talan and Ricci said they plan to help more Conservative Democrats and Independents’ campaigns such as State Representative Ramon Perez in District 13.
They also spoke about why the party has been struggling over the years and what they are doing to try and fix that, what could be done to see a major rebound for the party, reaching out to minority and younger voters, what Democrat would they be the most okay with to be elected Mayor, reflecting on Dr. Daniel Harrop’s decision in the 2014 election to support the then-Democratic nominee Jorge Elorza, and what they both think Rhode Island is best known for.