Paul Roselli, president of the Burrillville Land Trust and opponent of a proposed natural gas power plant in the same town, has officially announced his run for governor of Rhode Island. The Democrat made the announcement via email on Tuesday.
Roselli will challenge Democratic incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo next year in a September primary race.
"There is a general feeling in the state that we need to move more progressively faster, whether it’s economic reform, whether its campaign financing, those issues have been on the books for a very long time and it’s now time to deal with them," Roselli said.
Roselli has been advocating against the Burrillville power plant for the past two years. He said the plant will continue to be a part of his campaign, but he plans to focus on more than just environmental issues.
Roselli said he's concerned about the way Rhode Island officials treat hard-working citizens.
He pointed to the large retailer Benny’s as an example. The company recently announced it will be closing all of its stores by the end of this year, and Roselli said 700 people are expected to lose their jobs.
"There's been nothing of any substance coming from the state of how to help those workers, absolutely nothing," Roselli said. "Instead, focus has been on high-rollers, billion-dollar net worth individuals who want to build ball stadiums and gas infrastructure power plants."
Roselli pledged his support for labor unions and said he opposes a proposed new PawSox stadium in Pawtucket.
In September, Roselli unofficially announced his bid for governor in a Facebook group called "Paul A. Roselli - Democrat & Candidate for Governor of Rhode Island" and discussed his campaign in an interview with online news site GoLocal Prov later the same month.
Roselli plans to announce his candidacy more publicly with an event at the Statehouse later this month.
This post has been updated.