Democratic gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell unveiled Wednesday his plan for improving Rhode Island’s economy, as part of the first in what he said will be a series of forthcoming policy initiatives.
In broad strokes, Pell said if elected governor he would focus on improving the state's public schools, strengthening infrastructure, and leveraging Rhode Island's assets.
The candidate's more detailed plan has a series of components, including trying to boost global trade, expanding the marine industry, and introducing a $2.5 million statewide internship program for high school students. Pell said much of his program could be accomplished without additional state spending.
"This is a question of priorities, this is a question of leadership, and that's why I got into this race for governor," he said, "because I believe our priorities need to be turned around." Pell spoke during a news conference at ShapeUpRI, in Providence's Jewelry District.
Pell proposes to use $2.5 million to fund the opportunity for every public high school to have an internship prior to graduation. He said the money would go to local school districts to facilitate the program and to support a tax credit for existing businesses.
On the marine trades, the candidate said he will expand a site readiness program, bolster training of workers and youths in the industry, and increased related apprenticeship programs.
Pell cited Andera, recently sold by founder Charlie Kroll, as an example of how the state can help to seed successful ventures. Pell vowed to invest an additional $5 million in what he called existing programs with a proven track record, including the Slater Technology Fund.
When asked about how his family Prius went missing, Pell says his ideas are more important than that flap. He repeated his vow not to accept campaign contributions from lobbyists or PACs. Pell says he plans to step up his primary fight against Democrats Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras with forthcoming proposals about education and taxes.
Pell declined to comment directly on whether he'll impose a limit on how much money he'll contribute to his campaign in his primary fight with the two fellow leading Democrats.