Buddy Cianci

By JOE VILENO  |  September 24, 2007

Do you think of running for political office again?
No, I do not think about running at all, [I] got too much to make up for. But you know, it is ironic that I can register and vote, which I will soon, and I can run for president, I can run for Congress, but I can’t run for mayor. [A Rhode Island constitutional amendment, passed in 1986 and informally called “the Buddy amendment,” prohibits a convicted felon from running for public office until three years have passed following the completion of an entire sentence.] You know, I am proud that the people of Providence elected me six times to be their mayor — I never lost a Providence election. I may also do some real estate development. I still own a few buildings from which I derive income. [Cianci’s family held real estate and he owns some commercial property outside the city.]
I will maintain my interest in ensuring that the Cianci Scholarship Fund still goes on. We have now helped 130 kids from the city, mostly minority kids, go on to college — all that with proceeds from the Mayor’s Own Marinara Sauce, [which] still sells in the markets. There is $565,000 in endowment assets in the scholarship fund. Maybe I will market other products for the scholarship funds, such as a salad dressing or a Bloody Mary mix. No olive oil — everybody does olive oil now. People have told me recently as I am in negotiating contracts for radio, TV, and for a film of my career with the national filmmakers, that my name “Buddy” and all that it implies is actually a brand. Imagine that!

Some people, including some in the media, like to make a comparison between you and the current mayor as to who should get credit for the “renaissance” of Providence. What do you say to that?
It’s not an equal comparison — he has been mayor just five years, I was mayor for 22 years and had more time to do things. Let the people decide who gets credit for this or that.

Based on your experiences, do you have any insight or advice for anyone who achieves celebrity status and for those who would run for or hold public office?
Well, I don’t know if anyone wants my advice, after what I have been through. But I think individuals handle their status differently. What I would say, what I have learned, is to value your family and your good friends, always look to the future when things are going tough, it keeps your mind on the goal. Remember even in the toughest times that life goes on, the best is yet to come. In order to appreciate and achieve the peaks you have to have been in the valleys. And . . . don’t read your own press clippings!  

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