Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee on Wednesday launched his Democratic run for lieutenant governor. He's expected to square off during a primary next September with Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, who is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election.
During a campaign launch at the Neutaconkanut Recreation Center in Providence, McKee vowed to make the lieutenant governor's office more meaningful. "How is that possible?" he asked. "It’s simple. I have a vision for a New Rhode Island: Better public schools, safer streets, solvent communities and more economic opportunity for all our families."
The state's current LG, Elizabeth Roberts, is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election.
McKee, who is serving his sixth term as mayor, didn't unveil any policy initiatives. Instead, he emphasized his biography, including his involvement as a coach in youth sports (see the feel-good video above), and outlined a series of broad values, as described in prepared remarks:
"As Lt. Governor, I will stand with the municipal leaders and their residents as I have as a mayor.
"As Lt. Governor, I will not be silent when budget cuts and policies are proposed that will compromise the fiscal health of our cities and towns.
"I will stand with all students, parents, teachers, administrators, municipal leaders and state leaders who are ready to transform our public schools.
"I will stand with the small business community because I understand firsthand how difficult it has been to keep our heads above water.
"As your Lt. Governor, I will stand with the workers of Rhode Island, union and non union, to fight for good jobs at a fair wage.
"I will support enforcement of trade licenses and support the trade apprenticeship programs.
"I will be an advocate for municipalities who have been severely impacted by state budget cuts.
"I will stand with every current and retired teacher who is being unfairly shortchanged by social security benefits.
"As your Lt. Governor, I will be an advocate for fair and equitable tax structures that make us competitive with our neighboring states ...."
McKee has advocated for mayoral academies as a way of improving public education in Rhode Island.