Wadensten Unveils GOP Run For RI Lieutenant Governor

Jun 26, 2018

Credit RI Commerce Corporation

Businessman Karl Wadensten is making a run for lieutenant governor in Rhode Island.

Wadensten, 58, serves on the board of the state’s economic development agency, now known as the Commerce Corporation, where he was the only board member to oppose the deal for the 38 Studios video game company in 2010.

Wadensten, who is running as a Republican, said he sees running for public office as a logical next step after serving on state boards.

"I think it’s time to step up to a bigger role in the political arena, and the lieutenant governor seems to be a position that people underestimate in the state," he said. "It doesn’t seem to have a lot of power. Well, that’s great. Power is what you make of it, and influence is what you make of it.”

Wadensten is president of VIBCO, a company that makes industrial vibrators.

He declined to cite specific policy goals for the lieutenant governor's office, but said he hopes to use it as a way to embrace a lean approach to government while involving more people in seeking solutions to public problems.

State Republican Chairman Brandon Bell, who had flirted with a run for lieutenant governor, accompanied Wadensten to the state Board of Elections on Monday.

With Paul Pence, Wadnsten is one of at least two Republicans running for lieutenant governor. Two Democrats and two indepedents are also campaiging for the job, including current Lt. Gov. Dan McKee.