Mayors of Cranston, North Providence, Warwick believe Governor Raimondo should resign
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Several Rhode Island mayors say they would like to see Governor Gina Raimondo step down and hand over power to Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee, as she awaits confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins, North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi, and Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi all believe Raimondo should resign.
Picozzi first spoke to the Warwick Beacon, saying, “We need leadership. She’s not paying attention right now.”
He sent the following statement Friday:
“I haven’t called for the Governor to step down as that would be disrespectful. I personally feel she should resign, as would I if I were in her current situation. Power needs to be handed over to the Lt. Governor so we can continue leadership in our state as we get through this pandemic. Governor Raimondo did a great job guiding us through this crisis to this point, but we need continuous leadership from this point on.”
When asked for comment, Steven Paiva, spokesperson for Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins, said he echoes the sentiment of Mayor Picozzi, and Hopkins is “looking forward to Lt. Governor Dan McKee’s leadership during these crucial times.”
North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi said the way things are running now is not healthy for the state government.
“I think (Raimondo) should step aside, you know, for the betterment of state government and its operations and decisions,” Lombardi said in an interview with ABC6. “In knowing Dan McKee, coming from business, being a former mayor, he hits the ground running. He can relate to the average taxpayer.”
Lombardi, a longtime friend of McKee’s, said he thinks the former Cumberland mayor will be great for the state, but “the sooner the better.” He believes McKee should have been more involved with the governor’s office earlier in the pandemic.
“Lieutenant Governor Mckee should have been part of all of the press conferences every day. That’s what you’re elected for as lieutenant governor in case, god forbid, something were to happen to the governor. And, by the way, what’s happening? She’s leaving, so it’s almost like a little bit of a catch-up,” Lombardi said. “We got a budget that he’s gonna have to administer that he had no part in drawing, being faced with approximately $500 million deficit.”
Lombardi said he’s pleased with how involved McKee has been with municipal leaders since the transition started. He said they have multiple phone calls a week, and McKee involved the health department and the commerce department in those talks.
“The last three weeks, the mayors, managers and administrators, municipal leaders, have gotten more information and have been more involved than the last three years. Municipal leaders have never had a conference call with the governor. Never. We got three, no four in two weeks.”
Raimondo’s spokesperson Audrey Lucas sent the following statement:
“Governor Raimondo is as engaged in Rhode Island’s day-to-day COVID response as she has been throughout this crisis. Governor Raimondo and her team are in daily communication with Lieutenant Governor McKee, Dr. Alexander-Scott, General Callahan, Secretary Pryor and other state officials leading Rhode Island’s pandemic response. Governor Raimondo continues to give guidance and direction to this team. During this period of transition, she and Lieutenant Governor McKee are closely coordinating on all COVID policy decisions.”
ABC6 reached out to the McKee transition team for a statement but did not hear back by air time. On Friday night, Andrea Palagi, Communications Director for McKee sent the following statement:
Incoming Governor McKee looks forward to continuing to work with municipal leaders as he and his transition prepare to lead Rhode Island’s COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout when he becomes Governor. We appreciate Governor Raimondo and her team for assisting in this process.
© WLNE-TV 2021