Nine individuals who are bullish and optimistic amid the state's current tough times
Photo by Richard McCaffrey
Brett P. Smiley
Where he's from: Glenview, Illinois
Moved to RI: 2006
Level of hope and optimism for the state's future, on a scale of 1 to 10: 7.5
Reasons to be cheerful: The emergence of a new generation of young leaders, and the opportunities made possible by the relocation of I-195.
Brett P. Smiley had been picking up and moving to get involved in different political campaigns when he came to Rhode Island to manage Charles Fogarty's gubernatorial bid three years ago. "I had no intention of staying," he says, although that changed after Smiley met his future husband, banker and civic activist Jim DeRentis.
Smiley's professional life is divided between two roles: raising campaign money for Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, and operating his own firm, Campaign Finance Officers, which offers campaign finance-rule compliance and accounting for political campaigns.
Like some others, Smiley loves the state's attributes and believes the severity of current problems will focus attention on solutions. "I think the course is correctable," he says. "It's just a matter of us doing it."
Rhode Island's quality of life, its cultural activities, and its relative lack of traffic ("You can be anywhere [in Providence] in 10 minutes," he notes) are some of the things that keep this East Side feeling hopeful. "Part of it is the notion that I don't feel this crisis is going to be wasted," Smiley says.