PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan McKee will be sworn in for a full term at noon on Tuesday at the Rhode Island Convention Center, his office announced.
The governor’s office released full details outlining the plan for McKee’s Inauguration Day, saying R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha will administer the oath of office using the McKee family Bible. McKee will then deliver his inaugural speech and also plans to invite all other general officers to share remarks afterward, according to his office.
“The governor’s wife, Susan McKee, will hold the Bible,” McKee’s office said, adding that the governor’s daughter, Kara, and son, Matt, will also participate.
The decision to hold the ceremony at the Convention Center represents a change from recent tradition, when governors have typically given their inaugural speeches outside of the State House.
A McKee spokesperson earlier this month told reporters they made that decision to avoid the cold weather that’s typically associated with Inauguration Day in Rhode Island. Still, the switch raised some eyebrows because it came at the same time a homeless encampment of more than 30 tents was growing outside of the State House.
A judge later sided with McKee and allowed the tents to be removed, while the administration simultaneously turned the long-vacant Cranston Street Armory into a warming center with additional beds for homeless individuals.
In response to an inquiry from 12 News, researchers at the Rhode Island State Library said they could only find four other years in which the governor’s inauguration took place somewhere other than the State House during the last 125 years: 1999, 1993, 1963, and 1937. However, they cautioned that the list may be incomplete since some records didn’t identify any location.
Also taking the oath of office for the first time on Tuesday will be Rhode Island’s new secretary of state, Gregg Amore, and the state’s new general treasurer, James Diossa. The newly elected members of the General Assembly will take their own oaths of office later in the day. The incoming mayor of Providence, Brett Smiley, is being inaugurated on Monday.
McKee’s first swearing-in as governor took place on short notice in the State House almost immediately after his predecessor, Gina Raimondo, resigned following her confirmation as U.S. commerce secretary. He had previously been elected lieutenant governor in 2014 and 2018.
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McKee, 71, won a full term after besting multiple Democratic primary challengers in September, then beating GOP nominee Ashley Kalus with about 58% of the vote.
McKee’s office said the Pledge of Allegiance will be led on Tuesday by a group of children from the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Rhode Island. McKee’s late father started the organization in his hometown of Cumberland.
For music, the National Anthem will be sung by R.I. State Police Trooper Kim Pitts-Wiley, while Kara McKee — whose singing talents recently earned her a contestant spot on “The Voice” — will perform “America the Beautiful.” The Governor’s 88th Army Band of the R.I. National Guard will perform “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
An inaugural poem will be read by Gabriella Bautista Bolvito, vice chair of the Statewide Student Advisory Council, and National Guard Maj. Gen. Chris Callahan will present the governor with the ceremonial Gorget.
The public can attend McKee’s inauguration, however tickets are available only on a first come, first served basis. Tickets can be secured by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ted Nesi (email@example.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook