But listen closely to the mayor, and it's clear that his passion lies elsewhere - in education.
I spoke with him for my new cover story on the push to turn around Providence's failing schools.
Rhode Island's all-Democratic Congressinal delegation has attracted a bit of attention for a fundraiser it's hosting in Washington Monday for Governor Lincoln Chafee. National political prognosticator Larry Sabato mentions it today in a post on governors races across the country.
But sources tell me it's best not to read too much into the event.
WPRI superblogger Ted Nesi delivered new Public Policy Polling figures on the nascent Rhode Island gubernatorial race this morning. And the headlines were not entirely surprising: Treasurer Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, is the early frontrunner and Governor Lincoln Chafee, an independent, faces a tough road to re-election.
My new cover story, sizing up the 2014 gubernatorial race, discusses the early jockeying for labor's support, among other topics. And my basic conclusion is this: public employee unions have no "fair-haired child" in the race, as one Chafee aide put it.
All the leading contenders have ticked off union leaders in one way or another in the last couple of years.
My new cover story, gaming out the 2014 governor's race, lands today. What struck me most, in reporting the piece, was the fluidity of the contest.
Many have already written off Governor Chafee, whose approval ratings are stuck in the 20s. But his team made a reasonably convincing case for the power of incumbency. If he can articulate a compelling economic development message and sign a gay marriage bill, his stock could rise.
The New Year will mark the de facto start of the 2014 governor's race. And while much of the nascent campaign will be about fundraising, the public policy fights waged by the would-be candidates will have no small bearing on their evolving images.
We're already getting glimpses of what the bold-faced names might pursue in the coming months.
Treasurer Gina Raimondo, a likely candidate for governor, endured some less-than-flattering press last week when the Wall Street Journal reported that John Arnold, a former Enron trader and hedge fund manager, wrote a six-figure check to EngageRI, an independent expenditure group that supported the treasurer's high-profile pension reform push.
For the sick, small tribe obsessed with Rhode Island politics, it's hard not to be preoccupied with the 2014 governor's race. The story lines are just too irresistible: Governor Chafee's uphill fight for re-election; the increasingly personal schism between the independent governor and a likely opponent, Democratic Treasurer Gina Raimondo; a possible clash of the titans in the Democratic primary, between Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras; the intriguing potential of Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, a Republican whose friendship with Taveras goes back years.
Rhode Island public employee unions filed a lawsuit today seeking to overturn last year's big pension overhaul. The outcome, of course, will have a big impact on workers' retirement and the state's long-term fiscal health. But what of the political ramifications?
Treasurer Gina Raimondo was the architect of the overhaul, of course.
As soon as news broke of financial troubles at former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling's 38 Studios video game company, observers began comparing the firm to Solyndra. Former GOP gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille made the analogy just yesterday in an interview with WPRI-TV.
On the surface, the comparison makes some sense: the Obama Administration invested in Solyndra, the solar energy firm, only to watch it go bust - prompting questions about government picking winners and losers in the private sector.
Ian Donnis over at Rhode Island Public Radio has an interesting post on Treasurer Gina Raimondo emerging as the darling of national conservatives - with praise cascading down from the Wall Street Journal and National Review, among other publications.
Donnis mentions some Brown University polling data, near the end of the post, that suggests strong support among Rhode Island Republicans (61 percent) and independents (60 percent), but not so much among Democrats (37.
Patrick Lynch, the outgoing attorney general, has been touting his $415,000 war chest and suggesting that another run at elected office may be in the offing.
The money is not inconsiderable. And Lynch has a fire in the belly that, if properly channeled, could have some appeal.
But there are considerable hurdles to a Lynch candidacy: