It’s a huge day for Providence which, among other bits of good news, announced today that Brown University will pay the city $31 million over the next 11 years. While Mayor Angel Taveras and Brown President Ruth Simmons both deserve much credit for getting the deal done. So does another local leader who rarely wins praise for his efforts: Gov. Linc Chafee.
When talks broke down between Taveras and Simmons earlier in the year, it was Chafee, a Brown alum, who brought the two back to the negotiating table.
In a statement, Taveras praised Chafee for his “statesmanship” and David Ortiz, Taveras’ press secretary called the governor’s efforts “crucial” to the deal that was announced at the State House – not at City Hall or Brown – today.
“The governor brought us together and helped me understand a little bit better how important Brown is to the city and to the state,” Taveras said after the press conference. “One of the things the governor doesn’t get much credit for is he does a lot that people don’t necessarily see and I think this was another example of it.”
Simmons agreed, saying Chafee was “a more neutral presence when the discussions were especially fraught.”
She added, “Because we were very divided we needed somebody to bring us into the room with a completely different perspective and he was able to do that to argue on behalf of the state, to argue what our joint agreement would mean to the state, and he had credibility in doing that. It was very helpful; we’re very grateful to him.”