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Reed to fundraise in contested legislative primary

August 16, 2010

The guessing game about whether Jack Reed will become secretary of defense has started anew, thanks to the resignation of Robert Gates. Meanwhile, a letter sent by Michael A. Tarro, one of three Democrats seeking to succeed state Representative Steven M. Costantino, indicates Reed’s participation in a fundraiser set for tomorrow evening:

Dear Friend:

You are cordially invited to attend a reception that United States Senator Jack Reed is hosting in my honor on Tuesday, August 17, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Cuban Revolution Restaurant & Bar, 60 Valley Street, Providence.

Tarro is the endorsed candidate in this race, but Reed’s involvement in a contested three-way Democratic primary strikes some observers as rather unusual. The other Democrats in the House race are Nathan Barchus and Anthony Scarcella.

Reed spokesman Chip Unruh says the senator and Tarro go back a long way. Unruh was unable to provide specifics on another instance in which Reed helped fundraise in a contested intra-party state legislative race, but he offered this statement, attributable to himself.

“Throughout his career in public office, Senator Reed has sponsored numerous fundraisers and personally campaigned for local, state, and federal candidates who have been endorsed by the Democratic party.  He has also appeared in numerous photos, commercials, and campaign brochures to help candidates who share his working-class values and are committed to moving Rhode Island forward.”

Tarro couldn’t be reached for comment earlier this afternoon. His letter (dated August 4) promoting Reed’s appearance includes this:

My father, Richard Tarro, and my grandfather, Anthony Tarro, both served as Representatives in this district. I hope to continue this family commitment to honorable public service, and I feel I have the education and business experience that is needed to fulfill these duties. 

The ProJo had this background when Tarro announced his campaign:

Michael A. Tarro, an assistant city solicitor whose family owns a partially torn down former elementary school at the center of a dispute with the city, says he’ll run for the District 8 State Representative seat to be vacated by Steven Costantino, who running for mayor.

Tarro, 47, runs the law firm of Michael A Tarro Law Associates and manages his family’s funeral home, A. Tarro & Sons Funeral Home, both on Broadway on Federal Hill.

He has been an assistant city solicitor since 1999 and specializes in juvenile prosecution.

Tarro ran unsuccessfully for state representative for District 8, which includes Federal Hill and parts of Olneyville and downtown, in 1994 and 1996.

For what its worth, this isn’t the first time the Olneyville Cuban Revolution has made for a noteworthy fundraiser. Conservative icon Grover Norquist appeared there back in 2007.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. JJF permalink
    August 17, 2010 8:42 pm

    That minor comment about the partially torn down elementary school should be gone into in further depth. The Grove Street School, located behind the Tarro’s Broadway funeral home, was sold to them with the express understanding that the property was to be redeveloped with the builing being preserved because of it’s historic property designation. The Tarro’s want to tear the building down to add parking to their precious funeral home business in spite of the plethora of parking lots already present and blighting the Federal Hill/Broadway district. Their attempt to tear the school down on a Saturday when they assumed no one would notice or do anything about it prompted police intervention. Since then, the partially demolished building has stood as an eyesore in the neighborhood while litigation drags on and time and the weather on the exposed building do the work that the Tarro’s tried to expedite with a demolition crew. Until Tarro settles this problem by restoring what he tried to destroy and honour the originla purchase agreement witht he city, he should be denied any public office, including that which he holds with the city attorney. His family’s past work in state and local politics cannot and should not mean they are above the law.


  1. Jack Reed endorses Costantino for mayor « On Politics
  2. Lombardi weighing run for seat held by Representative Tarro « On Politics

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