Democratic state representative and lieutenant gubernatorial candidate J. Aaron Regunberg has recently snatched up a string of local Democratic town committee endorsements including Narragansett, North Kingstown, East Greenwich and Charlestown. In total, Regunberg has received the endorsements of 15 Democratic town committees across the state. He will challenge Democratic incumbent Daniel McKee for the position in the September primary. Republican candidate Paul E. Pence is also running.
In a statement, Regunberg said he was honored to have received the endorsements and championed town committees for their political work.
“I am very grateful to have earned the support of 15 democratic town committees,” he said. “These Democratic activists do the often under-appreciated work of building support for our party at the local level, and they want to feel confident their statewide elected leaders are putting in that same work by standing up and fighting for our shared Democratic values in the Statehouse.”
“I am so excited to continue organizing and working with the Narragansett, East Greenwich and North Kingstown Democratic Town Committees to make sure that our Democratic movement reaches from the top to the bottom of the ticket,” added Regunberg.
First elected as a state representative in House District 4 (Providence) in 2014, the 28-year-old Regunberg is a member of the House Committee on Labor and the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Regunberg possesses strong Democratic values and has a political record fighting for affordable wages and workplace conditions, as well as expanding renewable energy throughout the state.
“Representative Aaron Regunberg is a strong representation of the Democratic values that we hold in Charlestown,” said Charlestown Democratic Town Committee Chair Cathy Collette. “He has been a tireless advocate for working families, for women’s rights, for the environment and for accountable government. We are excited to announce our endorsement today, because we know Rep. Aaron Regunberg will continue to lead and deliver progress for families in our state.”
In McKee, Regunberg faces an opponent that has held the office since 2015. Prior to that, McKee was mayor of Cumberland. During his tenure as lieutenant governor, McKee took a hard stand against National Grid and utility price-gouging, setting up a website, Empower RI, that seeks to connect Rhode Islanders with alternative energy suppliers. McKee’s position took on increased publicity last fall, when a string of storms caused extended power outages for many Rhode Islanders. Recently, Regunberg has attacked McKee’s advocacy for alternative energy suppliers, citing a report that indicated those suppliers overcharged Rhode Islanders at a rate worse than National Grid. He has also called out funds donated to the McKee campaign from Purdue Pharma exec Jonathan Sackler. McKee later said he would donate the contributions.
When asked how he believes he better represents the Democratic agenda, Regunberg had much to say.
“I’m running for lieutenant governor to fight for a state that works for the many, rather than one that’s rigged for the few,” he began. “I’m proud to have led fights to win basic standards for working families, like earned sick time for 100,000 Rhode Islanders who never before had that security, and the first pay raise for tipped workers in 20 years. My opponent, Dan McKee, joined corporate lobbyists trying to block these measures. Every year I’ve been in elected office, I’ve fought to protect a woman’s right to choose. As recently as a few months ago, Dan McKee said Roe v. Wade was under no threat and dismissed our Reproductive Health Care Act as just a ‘gesture.’ I organized the first major meeting in Rhode Island to plan our resistance to the Trump agenda, and am proud to have helped lead this work at the state level. Dan McKee was called a champion of Trump’s education agenda by his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.”
Regunberg also said his values can be seen in the sources of his campaign contributions.
“My campaign is not taking a dime from corporate PACs, Wall Street, oil and gas companies, or drug manufacturers,” he said. “Dan McKee received hundreds of thousands from the Walmart family, the makers of OxyContin, National Grid lobbyists, and Republican mega-donors. Just this week, Wall Street investor Tony Davis dropped $50,000 into a Super PAC to prop up Dan McKee’s campaign.”
Regunberg is endorsed by Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women, Sierra Club and Clean Water Action, the Coalition Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action (as a candidate of distinction), Democracy For America and Justice Democrats, and over a dozen unions representing tens of thousands of teachers, nurses, carpenters, firefighters, truck drivers, professors, hotel workers, bus drivers, and other Rhode Islanders.
“We need state leaders who are willing to stand up for our families and our Democratic values,” he concluded. “That’s what this race is all about.”
The primary election takes place Sept. 12.