WARWICK, R.I. — Lt. Gov. Dan McKee kicked off a run for a second term in the office on Tuesday, highlighting his experience as he faces a primary challenge from a fellow Democrat.
McKee, who served six terms as mayor of Cumberland, has focused his work since his 2014 election on helping small businesses and helping homeowners and businesses save on electricity costs. The 66-year-old told a crowd that it was important for anyone in the role to have executive-level experience.
“In the past year alone, seven state lieutenant governors have become governors, a fact that reinforces the need for any lieutenant governor to be ready and able to assume the role of chief executive,” he said.
McKee’s Democratic challenger, state Rep. Aaron Regunberg, of Providence, said in a statement that he “looks forward to a spirited and respectful debate on the issues and the need for reform.”
Regunberg, a 27-year-old first elected in 2014, is best known statewide for leading the push for legislation mandating paid time off for workers who call in sick.
McKee also announced that he’ll push for a constitutional amendment to expand the powers of the position, which is elected separately from the governor and which has few official duties other than to step in if the governor cannot perform her duties.
He pointed to other states where lieutenant governors oversee departments or serve on state boards, and said he planned to make a proposal that would better serve the interests of citizens and taxpayers.