[From a press release]
Aaron Regunberg, a former Providence state representative and 2018 Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, has announced he is exploring a second run for Lieutenant Governor in 2022.
In an email and video shared with supporters today, Regunberg discussed his 2018 campaign and explained why he hopes to run again.
“Two years ago, we launched a campaign to transform the under-utilized role of the Lieutenant Governor into a public advocate. The margin in that race showed that Rhode Islanders are ready for change — change we need now more than ever. That’s why we’re beginning the work, today, to explore another run for Lieutenant Governor in 2022. Because I still believe that we can turn that office into something our state actually needs — a tool to help our communities hold state government accountable, and a home for issues that matter to all of us: workers’ rights, climate justice, healthcare, and government reform. We almost got there two years ago, with thousands of volunteers and grassroots donors all across our state. And I know that this time around, together, we can get the job done.”
Regunberg, who has been an active voice for progressive change in Rhode Island for the past decade, began his career as the founder of the Providence Student Union, an education justice organization that supports young people fighting for better public schools. In 2014 he was elected to the General Assembly, where during two terms he led successful fights to pass paid sick days legislation, raise the state’s tipped minimum wage, and enact new renewable energy and community solar programs. He also emerged as a leading voice in the General Assembly’s growing progressive caucus, organizing collective policy initiatives like the 2017 and 2018 Fair Shot Agenda.
In 2018, despite the uphill nature of a challenge to a statewide incumbent, Regunberg beat expectations when he won 49% of the vote in the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, building an impressive coalition with support from local labor, environmental groups, reproductive justice organizations, 15 Democratic city and town committees, and leading national progressive institutions like Justice Democrats, Democracy For America, and Senator Bernie Sanders.
Now, Regunberg says the issues he campaigned on in 2018 are more critical than ever. “So many of us are hurting right now. Lost loved ones. Lost income. Our kids are struggling. Healthcare and housing costs are going up, and countless Rhode Islanders — who’ve always been essential — are underpaid and unprotected. And our government still isn’t doing enough to help our families make it through. We need bold action to overcome this crisis, and to build something better on the other side. We can raise wages for our essential workers. We can create thousands of good-paying jobs fighting climate change here in Rhode Island. We can prioritize education and healthcare and housing over corporate giveaways and tax cuts for the rich. And we can rewrite the State House rules so that all of us have a fair shot.”
Regunberg’s announcement was greeted with excitement by stakeholders and leaders across Rhode Island. Leonela Felix, State Representative-elect for House District 61 in Pawtucket, said, “Aaron Regunberg has worked tirelessly to support campaigns like mine and others who seek to change the way business gets done at the State House. He has a proven record on the issues that matter in my community — raising wages, supporting working class families, investing in affordable housing — and I think he’s exactly who we need in the Lieutenant Governor’s office!”
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Matt Taibi, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 251, said, “We were proud to support Aaron in 2018, based on his strong record of standing up for working people and championing the labor movement in our state. We need fighters like him in state government, and I’m very excited that he’s exploring another run.”
South Kingstown State Representative Kathy Fogarty added, “Working with Aaron in the General Assembly, I saw how effective he is at bringing people together, and how relentless he is in pushing for positive change. I think he’s got an exciting vision for how to put the Lieutenant Governor’s office to work in ways that could actually make a difference for my constituents, so many of whom voted for him in 2018, when he came so close — less than 2,500 votes from beating an entrenched incumbent! So I’m just thrilled he’s taking this first step towards another campaign.”
Following his 2018 campaign for Lieutenant Governor, Regunberg worked as a policy advisor for the City of Providence before enrolling at Harvard Law School. While earning his law degree, he has worked with the Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program supporting national climate litigation and the RI Center For Justice on utility justice issues, and he founded a national campaign to hold top law firms accountable for helping protect the fossil fuel industry. He has stayed active in the Rhode Island community, supporting fights for immigrant rights, advocating for ambitious climate action for our state, and working to elect progressive candidates in the last election. Aaron lives in Providence with his wife Katie — a public defender — along with their rescue dog, Dottie, and their rescue cats, Langston and Myles. They are expecting their first child in March of 2021.