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Mayor Laffey on Matt Brown and His Own Political Future (posted Feb. 10, 2005)

Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey has challenged whether Secretary of State Matt Brown should continue to hold his seat while running for the United States Senate. Speaking at a luncheon series at the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University on February 9, Laffey raised the question of whether it was ethical for someone whose job was to oversee elections should keep that responsibility while running for the Senate. Last week, Brown announced his candidacy for the Senate through a series of emails and one-on-one interviews with leading reporters. When asked whether he intended to run for the Senate, Laffey said he had not made up his mind, but if he decided to enter the race, the announcement "would not be by himself through email, but surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of supporters."

Laffey used his 20 minute speech and 30 minute question and answer period to outline his background, history, and philosophic bent. He characterized himself more of a "populist" than a conservative. Labels such as liberal and conservative don't mean much anymore, he said. His goal was to empower people and use his office to fight on their behalf. He criticized the national Republican party for not doing more to involve minorities in the GOP. Laffey outlined his success at hiring Latinos and African-Americans into Cranston city jobs.

The Mayor also used the occasion to defend himself against criticisms that have been lodged against him. On the accusation that he was impulsive and shot from the hip, he explained that he carefully thought through issues before he took them on. Each year, he writes down his goals and then spends the rest of the year trying to accomplish those objectives. If he entered the U.S. Senate race, he said, it would be with great forethought and lots of planning.