With strong praise for President Donald Trump and a repudiation of the importance placed by Rhode Islanders on climate change, two-term state Rep. Robert Nardolillo of Coventry announced Monday his campaign to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
Nardolillo has represented Coventry since first winning election in 2014. He said in time he’ll lay out his approach on jobs, taxes, veterans’ affairs and national security. But Nardolillo wasted little time in establishing a sharp difference on Whitehouse’s signature focus on climate change.
"While the changing climate does concern us all, it is not a front burner issue for Rhode Islanders," Nardolillo said in front of an enthusiastic group of supporters at the Coventry VFW. "Rhode Islanders need a strong voice of the people."
Nardolillo helps to operate a famly-run funeral home. In speaking with reporters after his announcement, he said he'd rate President Trump with an A- for his job performance, adding that Trump needs to listen more to the people around him.
“I think we’re heading in the right direction when we see nationally, job growth," Nardolillo said. "I think he might have to take a pause. As a president, nationally, I think maybe has to listen more.”
Whitehouse is seeking his third term in the U.S. Senate. He first won election by defeating then-Republican Lincoln Chafee in 2006.
Former state Supreme Court justice Robert Flanders is also considering a Republican run for Senate.