Pell kick offs campaign for RI governor
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PROVIDENCE – Offering a bold platform of new ideas focused on restoring hope and rebuilding the Rhode Island economy, Clay Pell formally launched his campaign to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination today.
“It is time for Rhode Island come together, to bring in fresh perspectives and new approaches, and to once again think big,” Pell said in remarks to a packed room at the Rhode Island Convention Center.
Pell, 32, of Providence, was introduced by his grandmother, Nuala Pell, widow of Rhode Island’s longest-serving United States senator, Claiborne Pell, who authored the legislation that led to Pell grants – allowing an untold number of Americans to pursue the dream of a college education.
“What makes Clay so special and what makes him so vital to what we need today in our state leadership is that he cares so much about people. Clay, in many way, is defined by how much he cares,” Mrs. Pell said.
Pell was also joined by him wife, Michelle Kwan, as well as Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena and Victor Capellan, the deputy superintendent for transformation at Central Falls High School. Capellan noted that he and Pell both support the PK-20 education model, which focuses on transitioning higher education students successfully into the work force.
“I believe that we have to invest in career and technical education pathways, so that we can develop the skills of our work force and link our businesses together with our secondary and higher education system,” said Pell, who most recently served as deputy assistant secretary at the US Department of Education before exploring a gubernatorial campaign.
Pell pledged, if elected, to create a $10 million fund to allow small businesses and entrepreneurs to access grants or loans anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000. “When our students graduate, we need to enable them to stay here in Rhode Island and find a job or grow a business,” Pell said.
The Harvard and Georgetown Law grad also promised to make restoring Rhode Islander’s trust and confidence in government a key part of his campaign. Pell said he will not accept contributions from PACs or state lobbyists.
“I want to send a clear signal to all Rhode Islanders that as governor, my office will be accessible to all, not just he best connected and most powerful,” he said.
“I believe we must rise to the challenge of our generation. I believe I can offer a fresh perspective and new approach to solving our problems. And I believe I have the skills, values, and experience to lead our state to a better future,” said Pell.