Buddy Cianci


One of the most important qualities of someone who holds the title and responsibilities of Mayor, is real world experience. This type of experience includes an upbringing that focuses on heritage, public and military service, and work in high-profile economic sectors. Buddy Cianci, the longest-serving mayor of Providence, Rhode Island exhibited all of these qualities.

Cianci's early life involved a common rearing in the Laurel Hill neighborhood of Cranston, Rhode Island. He was a responsible citizen of the great state of Rhode Island from his birth in 1941, to his death from colon cancer in 2016. He was the son of Italian immigrants, and learned a strong work ethic that served him very well throughout his years of public service.

For six faithful years, Cianci served in the US Army. He earned the rank of Second Lieutenant as a Military Police Corpsman. Previous to his military service, he earned a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Villanova University, and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the Southern New England School of Law.

Cianci's fortunate and meteoric rise to prominence in the political realm began in 1974 with a successful campaign against Providence, RI's incumbent mayor Joseph A. Doorley. He was the first Republican mayor elected in Providence since the Great Depression, and his immediate connection with the working class of the city was made from an insatiable desire to attend community events and gatherings. If Providence, RI could ever claim to have a mayor who was a true “man of the people,” it was Buddy Cianci. His fame as a standout East Coast Republican mayor garnered enough attention for him to be considered a frontrunner for important cabinet posts in the Gerald Ford administration.

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Another important aspect of Cinaci's mayoral career was a long streak as a radio commentator. He was a perennial beloved voice on 920 WHJJ Providence, and used this platform to bring attention to the most prevalent needs of the city. His talent for connecting people and discussing the substance in current events over the airwaves helped him launch a successful bid for re-election as mayor in 1990. Unlike many of his counterparts, Cianci was utterly transparent with an eager audience on issues of the day.

Mayor Cianci was also instrumental in bolstering the huge tourism industry that is now so important to Providence. He orchestrated a move by the Bruins hockey team from Maine to Rhode Island, helped establish the Providence Place shopping mall, and oversaw the building of the Fleet Skating Center. He was also the primary force behind the foundation of the WaterFire summer weekend festivals. Cianci's service in public office in Providence was so respected that most of his terms were won without opposition in general elections.