The field of hopefuls for seats on the City Council in next year’s election continues to take shape.
Jay Bombardier Jr. has announced his intention to seek the Ward 3 seat as a Republican, a decision he said comes after years of civic and political involvement.
“I’ve always sat there in the background doing stuff for other candidates … I’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” he said.
He added: “I’m here for the long haul … even if I don’t get elected to the City Council, I’m here to help out for the best of the city.”
Bombardier, 42, has lived in Cranston for roughly 14 years. A graduate of Lincoln High School, he works as a data analyst for CVS. He and his wife, Amanda, have three boys and live near Hugh B. Bain Middle School.
Bombardier traces his involvement in local politics to the first campaign of Ward 5 Councilman Chris Paplauskas, who he describes as “somebody that I look up to in politics.”
“I look at it as, he’s there for Cranston. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, Republican, independent – he’s there for you, he’s doing what’s best for the city,” he said.
He subsequently became a supporter of other candidates, including Council President Michael Farina, Citywide Councilman Ken Hopkins, Mayor Allan Fung and former state Rep. Robert Lancia, who he said he consulted before deciding to pursue the council seat.
While part of the city’s GOP, Bombardier framed his outlook and campaign as focused less on partisan affiliation than on the best interest of the city. In addition to Paplauskas, he cited Ward 2 Councilman Paul McAuley, a Democrat, as a current council member whose approach he would seek to emulate.
“I think that if you did one of those charts of where you politically sit, I think I’m like directly in the middle of everything … I’m dedicated to Cranston,” he said.
He added: “I think it should be more of a bipartisan position on the City Council.”
Bombardier said John Donegan, a Democrat who is in his first term representing Ward 3, has done a “good job.” He added, however, that he believes he can bring a different perspective and added visibility to the role.
“Ward 3 has been forgotten about, kind of … I want to make Ward 3 great,” he said.
Bombardier said among his priorities as a council member would be doing more to bring Ward 3 residents together, including through various community events. Increasing the public’s awareness of various municipal programs and resources would be another priority, he said.
He also said that in a part of the city with an often-transitory population, he would focus on ways to draw new residents to the ward and keep them.
“People are leaving … we’re not retaining those people,” he said. “How can we retain people in the ward?”
Development is additionally an area of focus for Bombardier, who said he would like to see the city focus on revitalizing empty storefronts – such as those on Gansett Avenue – rather than projects involved space that is currently undeveloped.
“We’re growing too much … We need to try to fill those [empty] storefronts before we start building other places,” he said.
Bombardier called Fung a “true inspiration of how to run a city.” Regarding the race to succeed the mayor, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection in 2020, he said: “Whoever it is, they’re going to have tough shoes to fill.”
Bombardier said he believes his previous political involvement and his volunteer activities – including his family’s work shoveling snow for residents in need during the winter – have prepared him well for the campaign.
“We consider ourselves the Bombardier army, because when we get out there, we’re out there,” he said.
Bombardier is involved in the Cranston Lacrosse Club and serves as an assistant lacrosse coach at Cranston High School West. He and his wife serve on the Parent Executive Board at Cranston West.
He was previously involved in Boy Scout Troop 66 and Cub Scout Pack 40, and is an active member of Woodridge Congregational United Church of Christ. He also serves on the Cranston Arts Commission.
“We’re always doing something for somebody … We’ve helped so many different organizations out,” he said.
He added: “This Cranston community is a very helpful community, and I want to be part of it even more.”