Guckian enters LG race, Lugo to run for District 29

Posted 6/22/22


Going into the weekend Warwick resident and Providence Police Officer Jeann Lugo was a Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor race.

On Monday Lugo announced he would instead …

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Guckian enters LG race, Lugo to run for District 29



Going into the weekend Warwick resident and Providence Police Officer Jeann Lugo was a Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor race.

On Monday Lugo announced he would instead be running for state Sen. District 29 which is currently held by Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey.

Then on Tuesday surrounded by supporters and other Republican candidates including Ashley Kalus who is running for Governor and 2nd Congressional District candidate Allan Fung,  Aaron Guckian announced for lieutenant governor.

Guckian who for the past five years has worked as a development officer for the Rhode Island Foundation previously worked as an advisor for  former Gov. Donald  Carcieri  and First Lady  Suzanne Carcieri. He also held titles as Vice President at Bank Newport, and as an officer with The Washington Trust Company.

“As a lifelong Rhode Islander, there is nothing I care more deeply about than making our state the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Guckian. “From the grocery store to the gas pump Rhode Islanders are getting crushed by soaring inflation, and I am committed to getting this state back on track. Smith Hill needs a strong, vocal leader who will serve as an advocate for people who have been previously left behind by politicians. Every Rhode Islander deserves to have their voice heard, and as Lieutenant Governor, I will ensure the government is working for the people.”

If elected, Guckian plans to primarily focus on the statutory duties of the office: small business, seniors, and emergency management. Additionally, he plans on  creating a “Help Center” within his office to assist Rhode Islanders in “navigating the complexities of state government, respond to their concerns, and connect them to programs and services,” according to a press release. 

Guckian’s first bid for public office was for Warwick City Council when he ran unsuccessfully against Bob Cushman for the Ward 1 race.

After that he was asked to serve on the Warwick Sewer Authority where he served for nine years serving as chairman for a year or two before moving for East Greenwich.

Guckian said his concern with the economic environment is the main reason why he decided to run.

“I just felt it was time to jump in and offer people a choice come November so that's what I’m doing,” said Guckian.

Guckian said that a lot of times people say they are frustrated with how the government is working but don’t always do something about it.

“I wanted to prove to my family and myself that ‘hey I’m jumping in the ring here,” said Guckian.

Guckian said that he thinks qualifications matter which he feels he has.

A East Greenwich High School graduate, Guckian has a Bachelor of Arts in music and education from Connecticut College, a Master of Arts in music from Rhode Island College, and a Master of Business Administration from Johnson and Wales University. He currently resides in East Greenwich with his wife Debbie and their three daughters.

In addition to Guckian, Paul Pence is also making a run for Lieutenant Governor as a Republican after running unsuccessfully in 2018.

“With the departure of our last governor, we clearly see that the selection of a Lt. Governor has important ramifications,” Pence said in a press release announcing his campaign in November. “We need a person in that office who not only can bring value to a role that many would eliminate completely, but we also need someone who has a positive vision for Rhode Island.”

Pence works as the Quality Management Systems and Food Safety Coordinator for Toray Plastics in North Kingstown and has published Rhode Island Roads Magazine since 2002.  He has no relation  to former Vice President Mike Pence.

McCaffrey faces challenge from left and right

Before McCaffrey has his eyes set on facing off against Lugo he first must take on Jennifer Rourke, a progressive and co-founder of the Rhode Island Political Cooperative.

Rourke first ran against McCaffrey in the 2018 Democratic Primary and then again in 2020 receiving 41.8 percent of the vote.

“The cost of food and housing is going up, but wages stay the same,” said Rourke when she announced her campaign. “We pay so much in taxes,  but our schools and roads are crumbling. Families like mine in Warwick are struggling, but we’re ignored. Our political leaders don’t care. It’s time that we elect a leader that does.”

Lugo in announcing that he would instead be running for state senate said "The Democrat-controlled Legislature have used unusual tactics to circumvent the legislation-making process because they believe they are not accountable to voters in Rhode Island. Instead of promoting sound solutions to make our state more competitive by reducing unnecessary and burdensome regulations, Democrats find creative ways to capitulate to special interests that ultimately end up hurting Rhode Islanders.”

“I cannot sit back and watch Democrats in the Senate continue to pass legislation that does not address the constituents' immediate needs in district 29,” said Lugo. “My commitment remains the same: I will be an advocate for taxpayers and push for sound fiscal solutions while championing our constitutional rights. We need transparency in the legislative process now more than ever."

Pat Cortellessa makes another run for Secretary of State

In addition to Guckian running for statewide office as a Republican is Cranston resident Pat Cortellessa.

Cortellessa the 2018 Republican nominee for Secretary of State ran unsuccessfully against Nellie Gorbea. In 2020 he ran unsuccessfully against state Sen. Hanah Gallo in the Senate District 27 race.

Cortellessa said that he was concerned with what he sees as removing voter protections through recently passed legislation called “Let RI Vote”

“I think the voter laws are being watered down so it's a concern,” said Cortellessa.

Cortellessa said through his experience in 2020 with mail ballots is that candidates weren’t given the opportunity to review signatures in the last election to see if they matched what is on voter registrations.

“I thought that was a hardship placed against candidates,” said Cortellessa.

Cortellessa said that he would also like to see civic education expanded, by putting it into the bylaws and having a little more historical perspective of Rhode Island.

No stranger to politics, Cortellessa’s experience includes running for Mayor of Providence, working on the Presidential campaign for Donald Trump and “being a vital member in athe corruption case against Mayor Vincent ‘Buddy’ Cianci.”

For the Democrats, state Rep. Greg Amore is running for the seat.

Guckian, LG race


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