(The Center Square) – Incumbent Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee is facing off against four Democratic opponents in the primary election race set for Tuesday.
McKee, who assumed office in March 2021, is running against Matt Brown, Helena Foulkes, Nellie Gorbea and Luis Daniel Munoz.
McKee, who served as lieutenant governor from 2015-21, assumed Rhode Island’s top elected post when former Gov. Gina Raimondo resigned to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in President Joe Biden’s administration.
In recent months, McKee has been touting what has taken place in his time as the state’s 76th governor. His campaign website states he “delivered one of the best vaccine rollouts in America and provided steady leadership to rebuild Rhode Island’s economy.”
Brown previously served as Rhode Island’s secretary of state from 2003-07. His resume also includes work with nonprofit organizations that have addressed such issues as public education, nuclear conflict and climate policy.
“Together, we can make sure that every child gets a quality education, every worker is guaranteed a living wage, every person can afford a roof over their head and the health care they need and that we have a livable future for our state,” Brown wrote on his campaign website.
Foulkes, a former executive with Woonsocket-based pharmacy giant CVS, describes herself as “a strong Democrat,” “who knows how to get stuff done for all Rhode Islanders.”
“She will make historic investments in public education to solve COVID learning loss and make it more affordable to live in Rhode Island by lowering the costs of housing, prescription drugs and childcare,” a passage on her campaign website reads. “Helena will work every day to create great career opportunities in high-growth industries.”
Gorbea serves as Rhode Island secretary of state – a post she first assumed in 2015 and expires in 2023. She also was deputy secretary of state from 2002-06. Other previous stints included a role as executive director of HousingWorksRI.
“Nellie will focus on local economic development, including helping small businesses grow after the effects of the pandemic,” a statement on her campaign website reads. “She’ll work to improve schools and build more affordable housing so young people, families, and our workforce can stay in Rhode Island.”
Munoz, a physician, earned his doctorate from the University of Connecticut in 2014. He also has been affiliated with various nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups.
A statement on Munoz’s campaign website states, “He has served as a member of Rhode Island's Equity Council, where he has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to fight for real programmatic progress.”
The upcoming gubernatorial primary also includes two Republican candidates: Ashley Kalus and Jonathan Riccitelli.
Kalus’ resume includes work building a health-care business with her husband. Throughout the campaign, she also has discussed her upbringing in a single-parent household.
“My life has been dedicated to education and community service, and I will bring that same passion to Rhode Island,” Kalus said in a statement. “I will fight to ensure that parents can send their children to the best schools possible, I will fight to keep more money in Rhode Islander’s pockets by lowering their tax burden, I will fight for pro-job policies to spur economic growth and, most importantly, I will fight for the people of this great state.”
Riccitelli in 2018 ran unsuccessfully as lieutenant governor of Rhode Island. That campaign, Riccitelli wrote in a Sept. 1 Facebook post, marked “when I first decided to get my feet wet into politics.” He also describes himself as a “blue collar small business owner.”
“I can feel unashamed saying that I am 100% pro-life and, in addition, against any and all vaccine mandates,” Riccitelli wrote in the post. “I am not for CRT learning in public schools, I am not for the teaching of ‘sexual pleasure’ to young children in public schools. And as far as defunding the police, I don't feel that they make enough.”