Secretary of State Ralph Mollis says he intends to run next year for lieutenant governor and plans to make a formal announcement this fall.
Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts has played a significant role in Rhode Island's implementation of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. While critics sometimes question the value of an office with few official responsibilities, Mollis sees the LG's post otherwise.
"I think this office, the office of lieutenant governor can be a very vital part of government," Mollis said in an interview Monday. "I think that Lieutenant Governor Roberts, along with [her predecessor] Lieutenant Governor [Charles] Fogarty, both did a very good job in making a difference in that position. I would love to take my experience, both in the private and public sector, my desire to serve in the public sector, and I'm confident that that position can make a difference both in the economy and in making Rhode Island more business-friendly."
Mollis is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. The former North Providence mayor first won the secretary of state's office in 2006, defeating Guillaume de Ramel (now running for secretary of state) in a close Democratic primary. Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee, a fellow Democrat also plans a run for lieutenant governor next year. Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian is a potential Republican candidate for LG.
Mollis says the "flexibility" of the lieutenant governor's office offers an opportunity to "make a difference in other areas" beyond the LG's official functions. He says the post "needs to be a partnership with the governor," although he declined to cite a favorite among expected Democratic candidates Lincoln Chafee, Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras.
Mollis says he has traditionally eschewed fundraising during non-election years, and has been quiet on thet front in recent years, but plans to begin ramping up his fundraising. Mollis had a campaign balance at the end of Q1 of $15,667. McKee reported a Q2 balance of $151,280.