Chamber of commerce holds mayoral forum - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Chamber of commerce holds mayoral forum

Chamber of commerce holds mayoral forum

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By: Melissa Randall

Business leaders came together at the Biltmore Hotel Wednesday morning to hear how the three candidates for Providence Mayor plan to attract business and create jobs.

“We're very, very interested in how the city is going to move forward– the taxes are very, very high in the city,” said Steven Pitassi, Senior Vice President for Providence business Janney Montgomery Scott.

“It's so important that we have a thriving downtown, a vibrant down town where our buildings– our office buildings are full,” said moderator Laurie White of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.

At the forum Chamber of Commerce members got an earful, but not all of it had to do with the struggling economy. Democratic candidate Jorge Elorza and Independent Vincent “Buddy” Cianci turned the conversation to campaign contributions.

There were some lighter moments, too. Like when republican candidate Dr. Dan Harrop was asked if he plans to drop out of the race. He replied, yes, and asked if he could sign something to prove his intentions.

Former Mayor Cianci's criminal history also came up. Elorza touted his vision for ethics and transparency if elected:

“For everything we want to do in the city we need honest leadership for a new direction here in Providence,” he said.

Cianci, a two time convicted felon, turned the tables about any potential investor concerns for dealing with his administration if he wins the office.

“Businesses don't want to come here and do business because we have the 4th highest commercial tax rate in America,” he said.

The Superman building and Providence waterfront were also big topics.

There is no rest for the weary. The candidates will be back at it- debating tonight at Brown University Wednesday night. That is set for 7 PM.

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