Kinch decides against run for mayor's seat in 2014

Kinch decides against run for mayor's seat in 2014

But may challenge for at-large council seat

PAWTUCKET - Former City Council President Henry Kinch Jr., who unsuccessfully challenged Donald Grebien for the mayor's seat in 2010, will not try again in 2014.

Kinch, who has been much more vocal the past two years in his criticism of Grebien, and further fueled speculation last year when he said he was "strongly considering" a run, told The Breeze he thinks he would have a shot of taking down Grebien, but that "family concerns" will keep him out of the race.

"I'm convinced that the race would've been competitive," he said, reasoning that he has heard from a number of people who were supporters of Grebien in the past who have called to offer their support to him instead. Others who supported him in 2010 also urged him to run, he said.

Kinch took home 36.5 percent of the vote in the 2010 Democratic primary for mayor, or 3,235 votes, to Grebien's 63.5 percent, or 5,631 total votes, according to totals on the Board of Elections website.

According to Kinch, he has one child getting ready for college, as well as a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old who deserve his full attention. The nature of family obligations "doesn't give me the time to really run an effective campaign," he said.

"It's a monumental time in our lives, and I don't want to be absent," he said.

He knows well the toll a run for mayor takes on one's family, said Kinch, and his children still remember what was a "pretty nasty election the last time around."

Kinch said he "will be involved in the (2014 election) cycle in some way," whether helping others with their campaigns or making a run for City Council, a "less time-consuming" endeavor than a race for mayor.

The prospect of a run for City Council would present some tricky scenarios, said Kinch, as he would never run against "good friend" Terry Mercer in District 3 and he personally likes all three of the at-large council members.

Though he wouldn't be opposed to bumping Councilor Albert Vitali Jr., a man he called a "rubberstamp" vote for Grebien, and, said Kinch, he wouldn't want to risk eliminating either of the at-large council members he supports, Larry Tetreault or Tom Hodge. Only the top three vote-getters win an at-large seat.

Kinch said there are plenty of issues he plans to continue speaking up on whether he runs for council or not, as he said "you don't need to be an elected official" to care about your community. He still believes Grebien is putting people in "unnecessary jobs," like a "complete joke" second director of constituent services, and he still wants to see city credit card statements put online. He thinks the city is dirtier right now than it's ever been, said Kinch, and gun violence is "far too prevalent in the city."

Kinch did not rule out a run for mayor in 2016.

"I have no idea," he said. "I'll keep my eye on things, and my passion for the city has not lessened." He said he wants Pawtucket "to be the best city it can be" and believes there are many areas to be improved upon.