Former Warwick state Rep. Joe Trillo said he's continuing to seriously consider a run for governor next year.
“Riding both sides of the fence for political gain is not what Rhode Island needs," Trillo said in a statement Wednesday. "I was the only Rhode Island elected official, including Republicans, to support Donald Trump in July of 2015, when he was one of sixteen Republican candidates for President of the United States. Taxpayers deserve a governor who is willing to stand up for his beliefs and walk the talk.”
Trillo was the longest-serving GOP member of the General Assembly when he decided not to seek re-election last year.
“Since proudly serving my constituents for 16 years at the State House as a vocal advocate for taxpayers, I am uniquely poised to work with the House of Representatives and Senate to deliver high quality services correctly and efficiently to the hard-working taxpayers of Rhode Island,” he said.
Trillo, 74, said he plans a June 27 event, at 6 pm at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, to discuss Rhode Island's future.
“Partisan politics, campaigning and pandering on taxpayers’ time, while giving away our state’s dwindling resources to large, successful corporations is corporate welfare and not good government or sound management of taxpayer money," he said, in a thinly veiled reference to Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo. "Leaving our neediest to suffer, and our small businesses to struggle is unacceptable.”
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is widely expected to make another GOP run for governor in 2018. In 2014, Raimondo beat him by about four percentage points.
Other potential Republican candidates include House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan of West Warwick and businessman Giovanni Feroce. For his part, Trillo maintains his experience sets him apart.
Raimondo has indicated she's likely to seek re-election, but she has not formally announced a campaign.
“After so many years at the State House, I understand how to manage the reality of politics while serving the needs of all Rhode Islanders and small business owners," Trillo said. "During my term as State Representative I gained an understanding of the complexities and capabilities of state government including its limitations.”
Bill Lynch, a special advisor to the RI Democratic Party, used a statement to fire back at Trillo -- and Fung.
"Like Mayor Fung, this is another Trump-loving Republican who would rather give tax breaks to millionaires than level the playing field for hardworking Rhode Islanders," Lynch said. "Mayor Fung and Former State Representative Trillo will surely have a spirited primary debate about who loves President Trump's agenda more."
This post has been updated.