Attleboro Mayor Kai Shang

FOR ATTLEBORO CENTENNIAL PUBLICATION Attleboro Mayor Kai Shang. 15th mayor.1986-92.

Kai Shang, the son of Chinese immigrants, orchestrated one of the most stunning upsets in the city's political history by defeating the city's first woman mayor, Brenda Reed, in her re-election bid in 1985.

It was the two-term city councilor's second attempt to capture the mayor's office. He lost the first in a preliminary election in 1983.

But he beat Reed, a heavy favorite, with 55 percent of the vote in 1985, after jumping into the race just days before nominations closed.

Shang was considered "down to earth" and "a man of the people." He was well known for his oft repeated phrase "every day is a good day" and was often characterized as "kind and honest."

Shang served three terms in the corner office.

He was defeated in a bid to capture a fourth term by city council President Judith H. Robbins, making him the only mayor in the city's history to beat a woman and to lose to a woman in seeking the corner office.

He later ran for state representative, but lost to John Lepper.

The Attleboro native might never have run for office if the city had not decided to take his property by eminent domain for an urban renewal project.

He was unhappy with the way the matter was handled by the city, and rose to prominence when he fought the city.

Shang was elected to an at-large city council seat in 1981, garnering the second-highest vote total among the five elected at-large candidates.

He grew up on the city's East Side, and was a star athlete at Attleboro High School in the 1940s, helping the school's basketball team win the state championship.

After high school, Shang served in the Navy during World War II, then came home to work in the family's laundry business on Park Street.

The former Post Office building next to City Hall was named in his honor.

Recommended for you