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Ward 9 field to succeed Luna will shape up next week

September 7, 2011

As of mid-day, no candidates had filed to run for the Providence Ward 9 City Council seat formerly held by the late Miguel Luna, who died August 18 after a heart attack. But with a filing deadline of September 16, the field will become clear late next week.

The most likely candidates, Providence sources say, are property owner Hector Jose, a two-time council candidate, and political newcomer Carmen Castillo, a Dominican native who helped organize a union at the Westin Providence. Castillo actively door-knocked for Luna’s campaigns and can boast organizational support from unions, like SEIU and UNITE HERE, with large immigrant memberships. (Note: Emmanuel Falck, executive director of the RI SEIU State Council, got in touch to note that the state council and its four locals have yet to endorse any candidate in the Ward 9 race. He says endorsements will be made through an open and democratic process.)

Lawyer Kas DeCarvalho, who lost a close race to Luna in 2006, says he remains undecided about a run, because of concerns about balancing his work and family life. He hopes to make up his mind this week.

Providence Republican activist Dave Talan says Christian Chirino, a half-Cuban, half-Colombia Florida native who settled in Providence after serving with the Navy in Newport, will represent the GOP. “He’s very enthusiastic and willing to work hard,” Talan says. [Providence Republican City Committee chair Tara Pinsky, who couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, says Chirino served with the Navy in Groton, Connecticut.]

Other possible Democratic candidates include Greg De La Cruz, a member of AFSCME’s Council 94; Rochelle Bates Lee, an African-American who serves as an executive committee member of the Providence Democratic Committee; and Onassis Martinez, whose father is longtime Dominican leader Victor Martinez.

A primary in the race is set for October 25, with the general election set to follow on November 29.

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