McKee team finishes first round of interviews for new RI lieutenant gov.

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan McKee is one step closer to picking Rhode Island’s new No. 2 statewide officeholder.

McKee’s office confirmed Tuesday that his team of vetters has finished their first round of interviews with some of the dozens of Rhode Islanders who have applied to take McKee’s old position as lieutenant governor now that he has succeeded Gina Raimondo.

State House insiders believe the top contenders include Providence City Council President Sabina Matos, former Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, R.I. Democratic Party Treasurer Liz Beretta-Perik and state Sen. Lou DiPalma. But people close to McKee have cautioned that the situation is fluid.

McKee spokesperson Andrea Palagi declined to say how many of the initial interviewees will move on to the next round of the selection process, though the governor has indicated he expects to make a decision within the next month.

“As we mentioned, all applicants were offered an initial interview,” Palagi said, adding, “Individuals have not yet been notified about next steps.”

On Monday, McKee told 12 News he plans to interview “a couple” finalists himself. But he also suggested there is value to talking with everyone who applied.

“We don’t know who we’re going to find there,” he said. “We may find people who maybe aren’t going to be the person that’s selected as lieutenant governor, but we may find people who are willing to serve on boards. We may find people that you might want to employ. We don’t know.”

McKee’s nominee will need to be confirmed by the Senate. If approved, the new lieutenant governor will serve out the remainder of McKee’s unfinished term, which expires at the end of 2022.

The governor’s office said the following 60 individuals were given an initial interview:

  1. Robert Albanese
  2. Dana Amore
  3. Mark Aubrey
  4. Ray Berberick 
  5. Liz Beretta-Perik
  6. Ed Brady
  7. Maria Bucci
  8. John Bushee
  9. Adam Carbone
  10. John Carlevale, Sr.
  11. Dylan Conley
  12. Marco Cross
  13. Michelle David
  14. William Delaney
  15. Andrew Demosthenous
  16. Michael DeRobbio
  17. Rep. Grace Diaz
  18. Mayor James Diossa
  19. Sen. Louis DiPalma
  20. TJ Del Santo
  21. Brandon Fernandes
  22. Shirley Francis-Fraser
  23. Joanne Giannini
  24. Tommy Goggin
  25. Jared Xavier Goodwin
  26. Bryan Gordon
  27. Alan Gustafson
  28. Bill Guthrie
  29. Bob Hamel
  30. Jordan Horowitz
  31. Jeffrey Hutton
  32. David Iwuc
  33. Paul Kluk
  34. Bob LaFleur
  35. Tracy Loignon
  36. Michael Mancuso
  37. Matthew Mannix
  38. Ray Mathieu
  39. Councilwoman Sabina Matos
  40. Rachael McIntosh
  41. Michael Nolette
  42. Keith Olivera
  43. John Partridge
  44. Mike Payette
  45. Lisa Pelosi
  46. Rep. Robert Phillips
  47. Michael Pisaturo
  48. Riley Rancourt
  49. Sav Rebecchi
  50. Aaron Regunberg
  51. Spencer Rickert
  52. Bill Rives
  53. Paul Rochford
  54. Christopher Rock
  55. Kayla Rogers
  56. Matt Santos
  57. Tom Shields
  58. Stuart Spitalnic
  59. Chris Stanley
  60. Rep. Anastasia Williams

Last week, McKee’s office confirmed that the interviews are not being conducted at the State House, but rather at the private offices of CFO Compliance. The Providence campaign-finance consulting company was co-founded by former R.I. Department of Administration Director Brett Smiley.

McKee’s aides said the interviews are being conducted on behalf of the governor by the following individuals: Tony Afonso, Channavy Chhay, Dr. Catarina DaSilva, Brad Dean, Rosa DeCastillo, Erin Donovan Boyle, Brendan Doherty, Craig Dwyer, Chris Farrell, Paulette Hamilton, Bill Murray, Jennifer Ortiz, Joe Polisena, Armand Sabitoni and Kristin Urbach.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.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, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

Kim Kalunian contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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