A Hummel Report Investigation
After three terms as mayor of Cranston, Allan Fung wants to move from City Hall to the State House. The Republican candidate for governor says his experience turning the city of Cranston around makes him best prepared to run the state of Rhode Island. Jim Hummel hits the campaign trail to see how he’s delivering that message beyond his own community.
Another packed day of campaign events across Rhode Island awaits Allan Fung, but he is starting with the hometown crowd on this Saturday morning in September.
Woman: ``Don’t forget where you came from!’’
Fung: ``I never forget where I come from!’’
The residents in Cranston have gotten a first-hand look at their mayor-turned-candidate for governor - the successes and the rough patches. Many in this crowd wish him luck, but also say they wish he’d stay as mayor.
Fung: ``We’ve done a lot of great things to turn Cranston around during the three terms I’ve been mayor of Cranston, creating a better business environment, adding over a 1000 new jobs into the city during first two terms., stabilizing the city’s finances.‘’
Fung says he first ran for a city council seat a decade ago because Cranston’s finances were in shambles, and the city’s bond rating had been reduced to junk bond status. Now he sees big challenges facing the state.
Fung: ``And when I see that our state’s economy is still, still lagging, particularly with high unemployment, one of the highest in the country, high taxes and people moving out, it motivated me to run for governor because I wanted to turn this state around.’’
Wherever he goes Fung uses Cranston as the centerpiece of his pitch - in part because places like Chapel View and Garden City are well known to most Rhode Islanders. And both are huge success stories.
Fung: ``I took a deep reflection about what I’ve done in Cranston, all the good things we’ve been able to do to turn this city around, to turn a distressed community around into what we’re doing here - the development that we’re sitting in with Chapel View, which was the home of the state properties, training school for the boys at one point in time, across the way at Garden City, where it was blighted, getting tired, when I first got into office and look at it now, it’s really popping with new national, one-of-a-kind retailers and developments going in there. And seeing all of that happening is what motivated me to really run.
What may be less visible is the economic development plan that has quietly evolved over his six years as mayor. Fung recently toured Cadence, a medical instrument manufacturer that is undergoing a $4 million expansion at its plant just of Route 295.