PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Calling it "too little too late," David Cicilline's Republican challenger is lashing out at the freshman congressman's apology for comments he made on Providence's finances, labeling the remarks "political opportunism."
In a statement less than 24 hours after WPRI 12's exclusive interview with Congressman Cicilline – in which he expressed regret for calling Providence's finances "excellent" in 2010 – Brendan Doherty said the mea culpa was long overdue.
"David Cicilline's responsibility for the fiscal crisis in Providence and his active concealment of the crisis reach far beyond a single statement," Doherty said in the statement. "He must stand up and take full responsibility, rather than attempting to hide behind a half-hearted, campaign inspired apology."
During the interview, Cicilline said he should have addressed the situation "a very long time ago" and that he was overly optimistic about the city's financial outlook during his final year as mayor.
"I should have been much clearer the challenge the city faces," Cicilline said. "I should have been much louder in the consequences of the state cuts and to the extent anything I did contributed to the challenge the city faces, I'm sorry for that and I accept full responsibility for it."
"I understand now why people feel I misled them and I understand why people feel betrayed and it's important for me to address that," Cicilline added.
Cicilline defended his actions during his final months as mayor in an effort to hold off on a tax increase "for as long as possible."
A report by the internal auditor blasted some of those moves – like tapping into the city's rainy-day fund without city council approval – and criticized the former mayor for his lack of transparency.
"David Cicilline let the cat out of the bag with his statement about avoiding tax increases during an election year," Doherty said. "This statement exposes the Cicilline approach to fiscal management – which is just get elected."
Cicilline's spokeswoman Nicole Kayner responded in a statement, pointing a finger at former Governor Don Carcieri for his drastic cuts to cities and towns. She then tied Doherty to the prior administration.
"Mr. Doherty was Governor Carcieri's protégé," Kayner said in the statement. "His desire to defend the Republican administration is understandable if wrongheaded."
In a February WPRI 12 poll, Doherty led Cicilline by 15 points among 250 registered voters in the First Congressional District.
It is widely expected Cicilline will also face a primary challenger; businessman and 2010 congressional candidate Anthony Gemma is expected to announce his candidacy as soon as Sunday.
Copyright WPRI 12
The accident happened just after 1 a.m. near Olneyvile Square.
Providence police identified the teenager who was shot and killed in broad daylight Wednesday, and the murder suspect was arraigned on multiple charges.
The Providence College Friars (8-2) scored three points in the final 4:22 and survived a final possession to hang on against the University of Rhode Island Rams. Providence won despite shooting 37.5 percent from the floor and giving up 14 …
Rhode Island's health marketplace is dealing with bad publicity and tech problems in Washington.
Rhode Island is one of few states that do not send mental health record to a federal database; while some believe those records could keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.