Woonsocket is one of those cities with off-year elections. They’ll have a race this coming November for the mayor’s seat as Democrat State Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt has declared that she will vie for the job. Also previously declared was Green Candidate David Fisher. Additionally, the incumbent Mayor Leo Fontaine will be seeking re-election this year as well.
Apparently, we all now know when Baldelli-Hunt will declare, as does Ted Nesi. For those who don’t remember this exchange:
NESI: Rep, how much of this is about your relationship with Mayor Fontaine?
BALDELLI-HUNT: Excuse me?
NESI: I said, how much of this is about your relationship with Leo Fontaine? He’s the mayor.
BALDELLI-HUNT: I know he’s the mayor. I’ve lived in the city for 50 years. But I don’t understand what you mean, is this about –
NESI: Well, you’re known to have a strained relationship, it’s often said how you want to run for mayor in the future, and certainly it would look pretty bad if he –
BALDELLI-HUNT: Quite frankly – are you Ted Nesi?
BALDELLI-HUNT: Quite frankly, if I want to run for mayor, I’m not intimidated by anyone, and I would run for mayor. So you implying that it’s politics? You’re totally off base. So get your facts straight before you imply anything.
NESI: So you’re not running for mayor or you might?
BALDELLI-HUNT: I said, if I ever want to run for mayor in the city of Woonsocket I would run for mayor, no matter who runs for mayor.
NESI: And are you interested in doing so?
BALDELLI-HUNT: If I’m interested in doing so, you’ll know when I declare.
NESI: While they’re in bankruptcy court? So you can be the savior?
BALDELLI-HUNT: You know what? You’re very cute.
Even nearly a year later, I’m still amazed by her final comment and how little was said about it. How large would her outrage be if she were to speak on the House floor and when she finished, the House Speaker just replied, “Rep. Baldelli-Hunt, you’re very cute.” That’s an extremely demeaning statement if taken in one context, potentially sexual harassment in a different context. One would also think that many women would also be insulted by her statement as they’ve been working for many years to eliminate this sort of language from the workplace.
Regardless of her opinion of Mr. Nesi, it looks like we’ll have an interesting six-plus months where the candidates will be able to make their case for the mayoral seat, explain what Mayor Fontaine has done well and what things they believe they would do better. Election season is on.