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  Providence Journal Article
This article appeared in the October 27, 2002 issue of the Providence Journal newspaper.
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Population: 176,862
Elevation: 115 feet
Land area: 18.5 square miles
Providence Journal
October 27, 2002


In his many campaigns, Talan has had one constant mission The Republican candidate, who has championed school choice, has long sought to fortify the two-party system in Rhode Island.



Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE -- The Republican candidate for mayor agrees that the city's next mayor should be a nice Jewish boy named David. David Talan, that is -- not Democrat David Cicilline.

So says the campaign literature that Talan has distributed throughout the city. Although he has run for office several times before, this is his first bid to become mayor.

A longtime political activist, Talan, 53, is not your typical candidate.

While his platform includes such issues as fighting corruption, endorsement of a school voucher program, crime prevention and alleviating the property-tax burden, Talan injects some humor into his campaign by using a cartoon caricature of himself on literature and on his orange lawn signs.

Attention-grabbing quirkyness aside, Talan is a man with an underlying mission: to return the state to a two-party system, instead of one that routinely has only Democrats running for office. With that in mind, Talan says, he recruited 12 fellow Republicans to run for City Council and General Assembly seats in Providence. And, when he couldn't find anyone willing to campaign for mayor, Talan tossed his own hat in the ring.

A lifelong city resident, Talan lives in the Reservoir section, near the Cranston line, and is a six-term president of the Reservoir Triangle Neighborhood Association.

Talan, who works as a computer systems analyst for the state, graduated from Classical High School and the University of Rhode Island. For the past 28 years, he has volunteered as a coach with the Elmwood Little League, where he served as president and began learning Spanish. He is the editor of community and political newsletters.

Talan, vice president of the state Republican Party, began his political career in earnest in 1973, after meeting then-embattled President Richard Nixon. While he has failed in about 10 attempts to gain City Council or legislative office for himself over the years, Talan was campaign manager and aide to Rep. Mary Ross, who served one term as the state's first black Republican female legislator, from 1992 to 1994.

The issue about which he is most passionate is school choice. He believes that assigning $3,000 vouchers to parents who want to send their children to private or parochial schools would reduce crowding, curtail forced busing, provide the incentive for teaching excellence, and save city taxpayers $25 million annually.

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