It's no secret that Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung is considering a run for governor, but this week, he took a much more serious step.
Fung announced that he has formed an exploratory committee consisting of former governors, members of the General Assembly, business and community leaders to help him explore whether or not he should run.
“I have assembled a diverse group of individuals to explore whether or not my experience and skillset can help lead Rhode Island into better times," Fung said. "Having been born and raised in Rhode Island, I am heartbroken to see so many Rhode Islanders hurting. People are telling me they are worried about paying their mortgage, putting food on the table, and having enough money to fill their tank for the next job interview. This is unacceptable."
Fung said in his travels around the state, he's met people who are looking for someone with both public and private sector experienece to get Rhode Islanders back to work and improve the economy as a whole.
“For far too long, we have been branded as the worst place to start or run a business, one of the top three states in unemployment, one of the worst states in the country in total tax burden, the second worst state in population growth, and one of the worst states for retirees. We need to change direction and we need to do it fast,” exclaimed Fung.
“I believe we need a strong leader who can not only get our great state back on track, but also put a heavy emphasis on providing the best education we can to our children from K-16," Fung said. "The next generation has to be our highest priority, because without them, our state will fail. Unfortunately, we are seeing our children leave our state in droves for lack of opportunity. We must focus on education, not only to close the skills gap that we hear so much about, but to provide our children with a better opportunity."
Some of the people on the exploratory committee include former Governors Donald Carcieri and Lincoln Almond, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, Taco CEO John Hazen White Jr. and Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce. (A complete list of names is attached to this story.)
Though he's still thinking about a run, the tone of his release sounded like someone who has already thrown his hat into the ring.
“At the end of the day, we need a leader who will shout from the top of his lungs that ‘Rhode Island is open for business.’ I will make it my priority to make Rhode Island competitive not only in New England and the Northeast, but the country as a whole," Fung said. "We have to modernize our regulatory process to let business leaders know that we want their business. We need to market our assets of air, water and rail to retain our current businesses and attract new ones."