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Clay Pell Enters Race for Governor

The grandson of the late Sen Claiborne Pell and wife of skater Michelle Kwan will face Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo in the Democratic Primary.

Clay Pell. Credit: claypell.com
Clay Pell. Credit: claypell.com
The grandson of a legendary Rhode Island senator and the husband of a famous Olympic figure skater is looking for some fame of his own as he throws his hat in the already crowded ring for governor.

Clay Pell, grandson of longtime Sen Claiborne Pell, announced his candidacy for governor Tuesday alongside his wife, Olympic champion Michelle Kwan. Pell, a democrat, will face Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo in a Democratic Primary.

At 32, this is Pell's first personal foray into politics. He has served in the U.S. Coast Guard and worked on the White House national security staff. He also worked for the U.S. Department of Education. Pell, who lives in Providence, said his status as a political newcomer is to his advantage.

"The problems we face are urgent and they need urgent action," Pell told The Associated Press. "They need a fresh approach, and I believe I bring a distinct set of experience, values and skills to move this state forward."

Like Taveras and Raimondo, Pell supports raising the higher minimum wage and stronger gun laws. He lists education and reducing the state's unemployment rate — currently tied with Nevada for worst in the country at 9.1 percent — as key issues facing the next administration. Pell was hesitant to support the pension reform bill, saying he would have preferred more investigation. 

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