Ed Brady, known around Cranston as a restaurateur and owner of the Thirsty Beaver on Atwood Avenue, was sworn in to complete the term of Ward 4 Republican Councilman Trent Colford Sr. in ceremonies Monday night.
Colford calls his decision to step down as a councilman of nearly six years a “life decision,” as he and his wife have decided to move to North Kingstown after calling Cranston their home for almost their whole lives. They raised their children here, he’s been a school committee member, a city councilman, and a coach, but he said they had an opportunity to relocate to North Kingstown and they couldn’t pass on it.
He said that the hardest part about the decision was on the “political side,” as he has a hard time leaving behind a city that he’s dedicated so many years to.
“But I’m not a politician,” he said, however. “I’m just a burger guy.”
Colford directs 31 Wendy’s restaurants in a few different states including Rhode Island, which has him working between 75 and 80 hours a week, he said, and forces him to travel around the country 30 nights a year. Between that job and being a member of city council, he said he’s spent 17 hours a day working in recent months, and although he enjoys the work of being a councilman, he will enjoy a slight break for the time being.
Colford said he became involved in city politics because he was a “frustrated taxpayer in terms of finances” and through his time on school committee and city council he thinks that the city had been doing better fiscally, with a balanced budget along with money set aside for capital procreations, and at the schools where music and sports activities have returned in the middle schools.
“I feel good about where the city is going,” he said. “Mayor [Allan] Fung and his administration have done a great job financially; we’ve been voted one of the top 50 cities to live in the country. It’s happened by a lot of people doing a lot of good things, led by Allan, and we’ve had a small part in that.”
As for what he expects out of the city council moving forward, his main focus is still on how to keep the city fiscally responsible.
“I challenge them [the city council] to be fiscally responsible,” he said. “They look at that rainy day fund as a slush fund, but they don’t realize the implications with bond rating, it makes no sense to touch that at all. Let’s be fiscally responsible about it.”
One of the major projects he wants to see move forward is the reconstruction of aging school facilities, but he said that it’s “not going to happen overnight,” and he wants to see it done in a responsible way.
As for his replacement, Ed Brady, he feels confident that it will be a good fit.
“Ed Brady is a great choice,” Colford said. “He’s a hard worker, he’s young, eager to learn and excited for the opportunity. There’s some things he’ll need to learn, but he’ll bring a great perspective and nobody will work harder than him. I feel that I’m leaving the citizens of Cranston and Ward 4 in good hands.”
Brady was chosen by the Ward 4 Republican city committee, as the replacement had to be Republican since that’s what Colford was, and presented to Council President Michael Farina, who made the ultimate selection.
Brady, 33 years-old, said he’s spent most of his time since graduating from Bryant building his businesses, which include an entertainment production company and a group of restaurants in Rhode Island. He doesn’t have prior experience in politics, other than in student government, he said.
Brady is confident that he’ll be able to learn on the fly and accomplish some of the visions he has for the city, including getting more businesses into Cranston and seeing the school system grow.
“I learn very quickly, and I look forward to learning as much as I can,” he said. “Cranston’s already a great city, I’ve lived here my whole life. The school system has done very well for me. It’s gotten me to where I am today. I look forward to working with the council, Republicans and Democrats, and do my small part.”
He also said he has a passion for non-profits especially, as giving back to the community is what makes him “happy in life,” and he said being on city council is a “good outlet” to continue that work. He’s already involved, through his business, with non-profits including the Dream Center and St. Jude’s.
Brady said councilman Ken Hopkins has been a mentor since he was in school, and he has business relationships with councilman Chris Paplauskas and Michael Farina.
He will be running for Ward 4 in this election, he said.
Mayor Allan Fung was present at the special council meeting Monday night, endorsing Brady as a good replacement for Colford.
As for Colford, he appreciates the opportunity the residents of Ward 4 gave him, and hopes that he gave them back all that he could through his time on the City Council.