Republican David Talan announced his campaign to be mayor of Providence Wednesday night, delivering a speech at Columbus Theatre, located at 270 Broadway, that filled less than one-third of the building. Talan, a computer systems analyst, told a group of fellow Republicans he plans to run a "visible campaign."
"I want the citizens of Providence to see real Republicans in person and notice they don't have horns and curly tails behind them," Talan said.
Talan is a lifelong resident of Providence. He attended the University of Rhode Island, where he was the leader of the College Republicans, and is currently the Providence Republican City Committee Chairman.
Talan plans to campaign at Brown next fall. He said that, if elected, he will support the University in building new residence halls.
Brown students looking for off-campus housing have made it tough for residents who live in Fox Point, Talan said. Older students who move off campus raise the price of housing, which creates a problem for everyone, he added.
Talan said he is not dismayed by the lack of students identifying as Republicans at the University. "A lot more will be Republicans when they graduate and start paying taxes," he said.
Talan has run for mayor in Providence once before. In 2002, he was soundly defeated by current Mayor David Cicilline '83, who received 84 percent of the vote in that election.
"Voters did not pay attention to my last message," Talan said in his speech. "I plan to complete the job and educate the voters."
Talan addressed the main issues that will be the focus of his campaign: "Education; taxes and spending; and honesty, government and ethics."
Talan's education plan includes instituting a school voucher program under which residents who opt to send their children to private school will receive $4,000 in school vouchers from the city.
The plan "would save $25 million in costs," he said.
In his speech, Talan noted that of Providence's 36,000 school-aged children, 8,000 attend private schools. "On the East Side, 60 percent of students attend private schools," Talan added.
"Many Brown professors would like my school program because they could get some money back," Talan told The Herald after his speech, citing his belief that the majority of Brown professors send their children to private school.
The voucher program will relieve overcrowding in public schools, "end musical chairs busing" and introduce competition to the public school system, Talan said in his speech.
He also criticized the bureaucracy surrounding teacher employment, calling teacher credentials "worthless."
On the topic of taxes, Talan stated, "I have a radical idea! I propose that we cut spending rather than raise taxes."
The final portion of Talan's speech was dedicated to ethics. He told the crowd that a year ago he made a mutual promise with Cicilline to "refuse all campaign contributions from people who do business with the city or work for the city."
Even though Talan lost to Cicilline in 2002, he has a deep respect for the current mayor, stating he is a "decent, honest man" but is "misguided on some issues."
Talan stated that, if elected, he would introduce a campaign contribution code of ethics to the City Council similar to the promise Talan and Cicilline are currently upholding.