Clay Pell Enters RI Governor's Race Via Video Announcement

Jan 27, 2014

Democrat Clay Pell, who had already telegraphed his entry into the 2014 gubernatorial race, made it formal with a video emailed Monday night, focusing on the need to restore Rhode Island's economy and arguing that he's the one to do it.

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

The move came on the evening before Pell is slated to address supporters during an 11 am news conference Tuesday on the fifth level of the Rhode Island Convention Center.

After declaring his intentions in the video, Pell, 32, says there are no easy ways to fix Rhode Island's economy. He goes on to say he'll start by targeting the cronyism and insider politics "that have held back our state economy." Pell declares he won't accept contributions from political action committees (PACs) or state lobbyists. He also cites the intention of developing a detailed plan "in the months ahead" for improving Rhode Island's economy.

Pell joins the two most-popular elected officials in Rhode Island in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and state Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

Pell, the grandson of the late US Senator Claiborne Pell, uses the video announcement to reference his own resume before invoking his grandfather as a soft-spoken man who "understood you don't have to be loud to be strong" while standing for integrity and "the importance of finding common ground." Pell points to the Pell grants for which his grandfather lent his name as an example and says he hopes to carry on the tradition of restoring hope for the future.

Joined at the end of the video by his wife, former Olympic skater Michelle Kwan, Pell says Rhode Island's motto -- "Hope" -- was probably inspired by a verse from the Bible describing hope as the anchor for the soul. He closes by inviting Rhode Islanders to contact him with their thoughts,

Rhode Island hasn't elected a Democratic governor since Bruce Sundlun's last run for office, in 1992. The state's current governor, Lincoln Chafee, who became a Democrat last year, isn't seek re-election.