Saying his message to cut taxes resonated with the voters – although when the polls closed in 2016 he wasn’t the winner – Richard Corrente announced Saturday he is running as a Democrat for mayor again.
Corrente’s bid could make for another Scott Avedisian/Corrente contest.
In response to a question whether he will seek another term, Avedisian emailed, “I have made no final decision but would expect to run again.”
Speaking to a gathering of 15 including Ward 1 Councilman Richard Corley, the only elected Democrat present, Corrente said he has a reputation for delivering more than he promises and that he was making not one but two announcements. He spoke about his passion of making homeownership possible through mortgages and maintaining ownership through refinancing, noting that as of last week he had been in the business for 40 years. He said he has written $1 billion in home and commercial mortgages during his career.
There was a smattering of applause, and then Corrente said he was prepared to make his second announcement. There was little doubt as to what he was going to say as his Bankers Mortgage office in Gateway Plaza was festooned with Corrente for Mayor signs from his year-long campaign to win the city’s highest elective office that he launched in 2015.
Speaking without notes, Corrente said he won more votes than any other Democrat who has challenged incumbent Scott Avedisian and that even though he lost the election – Avedisian captured 65 percent of the vote – his message that Avedisian had raised taxes all 16 years he held the office hit home, as the all-Democrat City Council chopped the mayor’s spending plan and unanimously approved a no tax increase budget.
Corrente said he learned a lot from his run for mayor, but it hasn’t changed his belief that the city needs to cut taxes to bring in businesses and people. He doesn’t plan to make any basic changes in his campaigning. Reiterating numbers on lost businesses that Avedisian challenged in the 2016 campaign and observing that Cranston is on the verge of becoming the state’s second largest city, Corrente said he wants to reverse the exodus from Warwick. He believes lower taxes will do that.
Corrente is the first of any Warwick candidates to formally declare they are running next year. Corrente said he has heard talk of other Democrats possibly running for mayor, but to his knowledge no one has told him they’re running. Asked if he would run in a primary, Corrente said he follows the advice given him by Ward 8 Councilman Joseph Gallucci not to run against someone, but rather to base one’s campaign on what you would do if elected.
Does that mean he would run in a primary? Corrente nodded.
Corrente hasn’t exactly been the darling of the Democrats, even though he was the only one to challenge popular Republican Avedisian. City Democrats eventually endorsed him, but only a few went so far as to campaign with him. Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur was a regular at Corrente events. He was not present for Saturday’s announcement. Democratic City Committee Chairman Robert Farrell was not there either.
Jack Kirby, who ran as a Democrat and later as an independent against Avedisian, attended the announcement. Kirby ran in a four-way Democratic primary for Ward 7 in 2016.
Corley, a member of Operation Falcon that is seeking to keep John Brown Francis School from being re-purposed as an early childhood education center as part of school consolidation, was anxious to talk to Corrente about that cause.
In remarks following his announcement, Corrente said he would have become involved in seeking a resolution to the teacher contract dispute from the start, if welcomed by the parties, and not waited for more than a year as Avedisian did before participating in mediation. As for JBF School, Corrente suggested a luncheon meeting between him, Corley and School Committee member Eugene Nadeau. Also in conversation with those attending, Corrente said if elected he would repeal the memorandum of agreement with the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, as he believes the city has given away too much to the airport.
If the 2016 campaign is an indication, Corrente signs should start popping up across the city. Corrente said he has hundreds of them from the last run. Corrente hasn’t remained silent since his defeat. He frequently attends council meetings, writes letters to the editor and is a regular commentator to Beacon stories posted on its online site, which he often signs as “the taxpayers’ mayor.”
Opening his comments, Corrente talked about his love for Warwick. He is a longtime Warwick resident, a graduate of Bryant College, where he earned a degree in business management. He has owned several businesses and, under the title of “business training and promotions,” has trained business owners in numerous states. In the 1970s he owned and managed Realty Center Inc. He is the president of Bankers Mortgage Corporation.