Anthony "Tony" Affigne

Anthony D. Affigne known to many as "Tony," has been making history since his early days as a student at Brown University.

Fox Point Community Organization, and in 1978 was elected to it's board of directors. The next year, he was elected chairman of the Fox Point Steering Committee.

Below is an article which appeared in the October 30, 1986 Providence Journal, a week before the statewide elections that year.

Activist undaunted by odds in his quest to become governor | Reprinted from the Providence Journal October 1986

Anthony Affigne

Age: 31
Office sought: Governor
Education: Brown University
Family: Married, daughter, 3 1/2 , son, 11.
Occupation: Teacher
I intend to run for governor until I win the governor's office," he said. "Now millionaires or people who have a million dollars to spend apparently can do that the first time around. Maybe Tony Affigne’s going to have to do it more than once.
Tony Affigne, Independent candidate for Governor
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Providence Journal October 30, 1986 | Anthony D. Affigne sits in his campaign headquarters, a storefront in South Providence, surrounded by the remnants of all of his campaign advertising, $1,000 in wooden signs and $800 in bumper stickers and buttons.

Affigne, the Citizens Party of Rhode Island candidate for governor, leads a campaign with far less resources than the two major contenders and has few illusions about electoral realities.

But the 31-year-old teacher and social activist says his candidacy represents the unrepresented constituents like labor, the poor, women and the disabled that the major parties have forgotten, and that gives him more support than people think.

"If there were ever an election in which Rhode Island voters were being asked to choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, it's the 1986 gubernatorial election," Affigne said.

"There's no doubt in my mind that win or lose, the political experts will be very surprised by how well I do on Election Day."

Activism began early

Affigne's social activism dates from early confrontations with prejudice and his teenage years in rural Pennsylvania, when federal public works projects chased residents from the county in which he grew up.

"I was the only Puerto Rican for hundreds of miles around and, along with a lot of Italo-Americans, who were moving into rural sections from the metropolitan areas, I was frequently the target of prejudice and discrimination," he said.

He said residents eventually discovered that the real reason for a water project was not to provide drinking water but a dry-season source of cooling for a nuclear power plant.

"I think it certainly helped stimulate a sense of activism on my part to have my hometown destroyed by fiat of the federal government, and to see the people in the region become virtually powerless in their own lives and in their own community," Affigne said. "That all happened the year I came to Brown."

Family Life

Affigne has lived in Providence since his freshman year at Brown University in 1972.

Since then, his activism led him to roles with Rhode Island Workers' Association, the Coalition for Consumer Justice, People Acting through Commmunity Effort (PACE) and the Fox Point and the Fox Point Community Organization.
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Above: Affigne first ran for office in 1982 as a Ward 3 Independent Candidate for Providence City Council.
He was chairman of the Fox Point Steering Committee, vice chairman of the Mount Hope Neighborhood Association and chairman of the Providence Citizens Review Board.

Affigne and his wife, Suzanne, live in the Mount Hope section with their two children. Another child is due just after Election Day. When he talks about the things he enjoys most in life, his hobbies and his future, Affigne mentions his family.

His daughter, Carmen Celeste, who is 3 1/2 years old, was born with multiple birth defects. She has had 11 operations and been hospitalized 13 times.

"She's a very feisty, outgoing little girl," Affigne says. "She lives with herself and is very happy with herself, and that's a real encouragement to us, that if she can find the strength and desire to live every day, then so can I.

"I think I can do as good a job, a better job, than any of the people in the race right now, not because I was the mayor of a medium-size city in Rhode Island or because I was the chairman of the board of a major corporation, but because I have genuine compassion for the people, and genuine compassion for people with disabilities, people who are poor, people who are elderly."

Housing is big issue

Affigne resigned an adult education teaching position at Rhode Island College to campaign for governor. He teaches mathematics and has a great deal to do with computers.

"That's what I enjoy, computers. Find ways to get computers to take some of the drudgery out of life, and to help people learn, to ease some of the drudgery in their lives."

He says his spare time often finds him with a computer book in hand and riding bicycles or playing with his children.

New housing and economic policies are issues that Affigne stresses.

If his candidacy is not successful this time, he says, he will not consider it a loss but will work toward the future.

"I intend to run for governor until I win the governor's office," he said. "Now millionaires or people who have a million dollars to spend apparently can do that the first time around. Maybe Tony Affigne’s going to have to do it more than once.

"But I am 20 years younger than either of the major party candidates. I am going to be around for a long, long time."
"CAMPAIGN '86 Activist undaunted by odds in his quest to become governor." Providence Journal (RI), NEWS, 30 Oct. 1986, pp. A-18.
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