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CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has announced he will run for re-election in November.
The Republican mayor made the announcement at his 46th birthday party fundraiser at the Cranston Country Club Thursday night.
In his announcement speech, he touted his record on pension reform in the city, talked about controlling spending and said there has only been one small tax increase in Cranston in the past four years.
“We’re going to continue to watch our finances, and continue to improve for the taxpayers,” Fung said in an interview with Eyewitness News after his announcement.
Fung’s most recent year in office was marred by scandal, when Rhode Island State Police released a scathing report, criticizing the mayor for poor oversight of the Cranston Police Department.
Last week, an audit revealed those issues cost taxpayers between $5 million and $8 million. Mayor Fung shot back, calling the audit “bogus.”
Thursday night, Fung said he believes the voters have moved past the scandal.
“We’ve all gone past that,” Fung said. “But I’m not running, I’m not hiding from what’s in it. I addressed it on numerous occasions…we fixed the problem, we turned it around.”
Fung’s only opponent so far is Michael Sepe, Chair of Cranston’s Democratic Committee. Sepe says he doesn’t believe voters have moved past the problems.
“I think there’s a lot of secrecy,” Sepe said in an interview with Eyewitness News, mentioning both the problems in the Police Department and the resignation of the City’s Senior Services Director after a strange situation where a male city employee posed as a female senior citizen for a news conference about snow shoveling.
“I think we have a bad name,” Sepe said. “Cranston is a joke. I think right now we need a new face to lead the city.”
Sepe served in the Cranston City Council for ten years in the 1980s and 90s, last holding office in 1994. He’s been active in politics in the intervening 22 years, serving as the chair of the city’s Democratic Committee while running his own accounting firm.
Sepe said the work of the Fung administration spurred him to run for public office again.
“It’s going to be an uphill race,” Sepe said, noting Fung’s popularity. “But I’m going to be raising money the same as he’s doing.”
As of December 31 campaign finance reports filed by each candidate with the state, Fung had $41,120 cash on hand, and Sepe had $47,837.
Sepe did wish Mayor Fung a happy 46th birthday, joking: “That’s the only time I’m going to wish him anything happy until November.”