Cranston, Rhode Island, November 7, 2017) Democrat Dan McKee today announced he will run for reelection in 2018, stating that “the Office of Lieutenant Governor can deliver significant benefits to Rhode Islanders and I believe my first term has clearly demonstrated that”.
Speaking to a crowd of hundreds of supporters, McKee reviewed his key accomplishments over the past three years and also announced his intention to develop a proposed constitutional amendment to restructure the Office of Lieutenant Governor to allow it to better serve the interests of the taxpayer.
McKee stated “I am extremely proud of the initiatives I have launched since assuming office, each of which demonstrates how this office can make a positive difference in the lives of Rhode Islanders”. He cited the following key achievement highlights:
• Chaired the Rhode Island Small Business Advisory Council and launched the Rhode Island Small Business Tour, a listening initiative that has allowed hundreds of business owners to share their concerns and ideas about improving business friendliness in Rhode Island.
• Successfully intervened with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (RIPUC) to eliminate conversion fees charged to National Grid rate payers when they choose a different electricity provider.
• Created a consumer web site, Empower RI, that assists ratepayers in shopping for electricity rates. McKee’s office estimates that this has enabled Rhode Island homeowners and businesses to save hundreds of thousands of dollars this year alone.
• Introduced enabling legislation, now pending in the General Assembly, that would allow municipalities to create regional emergency communication districts to evaluate the feasibility of regionalizing public safety dispatch and save taxpayers hundreds of thousand dollars.
• Created the Rhode Island Alzheimer’s Disease Executive Board and tasked it with the implementation of a five-year plan designed to guide state response to the growing incidence of Alzheimer ’s disease in Rhode Island.
• Launched a public access cable TV Show, Advance RI, which through 14 episodes to date has highlighted the concerns and challenges facing small businesses in Rhode Island.
• Appointed Chairman of the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association in 2016.
Referencing the poor performance of National Grid following last week’s storm, McKee stated “A privately owned utility like National Grid must be as accountable to its ratepayers as it is to its shareholders. National Grid’s slow response in restoring service raises serious questions about its commitment to customers. I have introduced legislation, as yet not acted upon, that would compel National Grid to be more accountable for ratepayer service, as the state’s only municipal utility, in Pascoag, has been able to do.”
McKee cited the extensive amount of time he has spent listening to voices that are not in the State House. “One of the first decisions I made as Lieutenant Governor was to get out of the State House and into our communities so that I could hear from citizens and business owners” stated McKee. Each of my “39” tours has focused on specific issues including how to help our small businesses, assist our surprisingly vibrant farming sector and identifying how to assist nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in a changing health care market. “
McKee announced he will seek a constitutional amendment to better enable the Office of Lieutenant Governor to serve the interests of citizens and taxpayers. “As immediate past Chairman of the National Lieutenant Governors Association, I have had the opportunity to learn how other states have effectively structured new roles for the Lieutenant Governor…many of which I believe would be of significant help to Rhode Islanders”, stated McKee. “For example, in Louisiana, the Lieutenant Governor manages state tourism, in North Carolina the LG serves on the board of public education and in Indiana the LG directly manages several state departments”.
McKee stated that his office will evaluate which new roles for the Rhode Island’s Lieutenant Governor would have the greatest benefit to the state and incorporate them in his proposal for a constitutional amendment.
McKee also cited the critical importance of executive level experience for a Lieutenant Governor. “In the past year alone, seven state Lieutenant Governors have become Governors, a fact that reinforces the need for any Lieutenant Governor to be ready and able to assume the role of chief executive”, he stated. As a six-term Mayor of Cumberland, McKee succeeded in rescuing the town’s finances from junk bond status, achieving a total of 6 bond rating upgrades over 12 years. He managed a $ 86 million town budget, successfully negotiated police, fire and municipal employee contracts and created the state’s first Mayoral Academy public charter school, Blackstone Valley Prep.
McKee is a third generation, lifelong Rhode Island resident and has owned and operated two small businesses for the past 30 years, providing good jobs for dozens of Blackstone Valley residents. A past president of the Cumberland-Lincoln Boys and Girls Club, McKee has always understood the importance of investing in our youth, as evidence by his creation the Cumberland Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth and Learning, the only program of its kind in Rhode Island.
McKee was elected with 58% of the vote in the 2014 general election, after defeating two primary opponents. He and his wife Susan reside in Cumberland, where he served six terms as Mayor. They have two children.