In a succinct statement posted to Facebook, Providence Democratic School Board Chair Nicholas Hemond announced his endorsement of Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich, writing, “John Kasich should be president of the United States.” In an email, Hemond elaborated, saying, “I just appreciate the guy’s measured tone in a race that has been such a circus.” Pointing to a policy of staying out of national races, Hemond clarified that he will not be taking any formal role in Kasich’s campaign.
Frequently portrayed as a member of the establishment wing of the Republican Party, Kasich is known for his fierce advocacy for restricting workers’ rights and defunding Planned Parenthood. Kasich finished second in the New Hampshire Republican primaries.
Hemond is a controversial figure in Providence politics. Working at the Darrow Everett law firm, Hemond has emerged as the go to lobbyist for developers looking for special deals to lower their tax rates. He recently suffered a major defeat when a tax break extension was defeated, due to pointed opposition from Council President Luís Aponte and Majority Leader Kevin Jackson, the leaders of the all-Democratic Providence City Council. While advocating for these subsidies for big developers, Hemond opposed then-Chair Keith Oliveira’s proposal to increase the school budget, instead voting for Mayor Jorge Elorza’s lower proposal. In January, Oliveira resigned in protest, blasting Mayor Jorge Elorza for his education policies and leadership approach. With Elorza’s support, Hemond replaced Oliveira as Chair.
Providence is a strongly Democratic city, backing President Obama over Mitt Romney by a seventy-point margin. Every elected official in Providence is a Democrat. Hemond is also a registered Democrat, and he is thought to harbor ambitions of running for Mayor as a Democrat.