By John Krinjak


Twitter: @johnkrinjakABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- It was a busy Monday night at Aaron Regunberg's campaign headquarters in Providence. The 28-year-old state rep and relative political newcomer argues he'll root out corruption on Smith Hill.

"It seems wherever we go across Rhode Island people are energized for some change," said Regunberg. 

But Dan McKee, the 67-year-old Lieutenant Governor and former Cumberland mayor, says his experience speaks for itself.

"When you talk about who could be governor, i think the voters are going to clearly see the distinction," said McKee. 
"You've got the candidate that's been part of the machine for a fairly lengthy time, and you've got the candidate, challenging the establishment," said Kay Israel, associate professor emeritus at Rhode Island College. "Suddenly the change that we've been talking about within the Democratic Party is now being tested. Is the progressive movement going to make a difference?"

The leader of that movement, Senator Bernie Sanders, endorsed Regunberg over the weekend.

"Bernie has inspired so many of us to think big, to imagine a system of government that works for everyone//and that's what this campaign is about," said Regunberg. 

McKee downplayed that news, while touting his own endorsements. 

"It's not new news, but to have Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Langevin, they know Rhode Island well, better than Senator Sanders would," said McKee. 

One of the central issues of this campaign has been healthcare, with Regunberg pushing for a single-payer system in Rhode Island. McKee says it's just not realistic.

"Vermont has said no to that because it was going to be too expensive and it was going to raise taxes by a great deal," said McKee. "You're selling something that quite frankly shouldn't be buying."

"When Dan talks about healthcare, I don't know what reality he's living in, because it's not the one that i see every day when I talk to Rhode Islanders who are being crushed by the cost of healthcare."

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